The comment was made by the Dawn in an editorial titled "A long way to go", regarding a scheduled meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Manmohan Singh in New York later this month.

"What the future holds defies a guess. Nawaz Sharif has just begun his third term as Prime Minister, while Manmohan Singh is in the twilight of his career," the daily said.

"There is, thus, little the Indian prime minister can promise to his Pakistani counterpart, except good wishes. More important, India goes to the polls next year."

The daily said optimism could be ruled out as the 2008 serial terror attack in Mumbai "continues to haunt the two sides". The recent killings along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir also halted "whatever little bit of movement there was on the peace front" between the two countries, it said.

At the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek Friday, India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Pakistan Prime Minister's foreign affairs and security adviser Sartaj Aziz "had the good sense to clinch a deal", indicating that the two PMs will hopefully meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

The daily, however, said previous such meetings "produced nothing"."Former (Pakistani) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh met half a dozen times on the sidelines of this or that meeting - Thimphu, Mohali, Addu, Seoul, Sharm al-Sheikh and Tehran - but the outcome in each case was little to write home about," the Dawn said.

As India goes to the polls next year, and "until the new government is in the saddle" in New Delhi, the Indian External Affairs Ministry will "handle the bilateral relationship gingerly" and the peace process will be on hold, the daily said.


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