Narendra Modi in Pakistan

Whether  scheduled or impromptu, and irrespective of what the critics are saying, I heartily congratulate and appreciate our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi’s goodwill gesture of visiting Pakistan  to wish his counterpart on the latter’s birthday. Future developments can neither be foreseen, nor predicted, but it is a momentous step to normalise relations between the two neighbours, throwing into oblivion the  acrimony of the past.  I view the growing bonhomie between our two countries as a good sign, especially for Indian Muslims. It is particularly so as even if there is a small cluster of Muslim houses, it is termed as a “mini Pakistan”, during every  election. Vote is solicited against a Muslim candidate on the slogan that  “ if the  Muslim candidate wins, he would convert the area into Pakistan. Visit like the PM’s would nullify such mischievous narrative.

However, it is evident that this camaraderie can never be digested by extremist elements, that always see Pakistan as the final destination for Indian Muslims. The fate of  Mr. L.K. Advani is not concealed from the nation. He was sidene fears they will try to discred the PM in the same fashion.

Already, Vishwa Hindu Parishad is gathering carved stones for  a  Ram temple at Ayodhya. I do not subscribe to the popular perception that it is the BJP game plan to polarise voters before the UP assembly election. I have my own point to dismiss such speculations. The BJP  is well aware that in caste-ridden UP  it is impossible to derive electoral advantage from a communal flare-up alone. On the contrary, I think,  the Hindutva outfits like VHP, Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena, which are feeling let down by the  arrogance of BJP, and could not achieve what they had expected, are desperate to ensure a repeat of  Delhi and Bihar for  BJP.

Mr. Modi’s  visit Pakistan has another angle which cannot be ignored. Only yesterday it was in the news that Russia was trying to seek the help of   Taliban in its ongoing fight against  Islamic State, and Afghanistan, too, is trying to come closer to Pakistan as the Taliban have recently gained sudden victories in some key  areas. From Putin to Afghan president, and from Afghan president to Pakistan prime minister may be having some long story behind it, and it will unfold, as the time passes and the curtain lifts gradually.

Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2016 on page no. 2

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