The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent a congratulatory message to Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf, on his party’s success in the elections. He expressed the hope that under Imran Khan’s leadership Pakistan’s relations with India would improve and both the leaders will use the resources of their countries on improvement of the lives of millions of people toiling under grinding poverty and deprivation.
Imran Khan has endorsed the views expressed by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi and assured him that he would do his level best to improve the political and economic relations between the two countries. Imran Khan, as every knows, is very popular in India especially among the youth and educated people. Even his old friends in cricket think that under Imran’s leadership India and Pakistan would enjoy good neighborly relations and would resolve the nagging issues polluting the relations between the two countries.
The past government of Nawaz Sharif was also interested to improve Pakistan’s relations with India, but he was more interested to do business with Indian businessmen on a personal basis. His sons, it is alleged, have been doing business in London earning huge profits but without promoting the interests of Pakistan. Both of them say they are not Pakistanis but British citizens and as such the Pakistani laws do not apply to them. Their statement undoubtedly shows that they are traitors and have been working against the interests of the country. Behaviour of their father, the Ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been disqualified on corruption charges, also amounts to open rebellion against the state institutions including judiciary.
Some well informed persons say that Nawaz Sharif adopted the course of confrontation at the behest of India as all his narrative during his protest march on GT Road was full of venom against the army and the judiciary; that’s why he was given undue publicity in the Indian newspapers and electronic media.
However, the political scene in Pakistan has changed; Imran Khan is not a businessman like Nawaz Sharif. He would try to foster good relations with India on pragmatic basis emphasizing upon solving the problems especially that of Kashmir, a legacy of the partition of the subcontinent and a bone of contention between the two countries for the last seventy years.
To my mind Mr. Modi also wants the Kashmir problem to be solved on a basis which should be acceptable to both the countries including the people of occupied Kashmir who have been fighting the Indian occupation since last many decades and bearing the atrocities committed by the Indian army. However, the road to peace with India is bumpy; there are many non- state actors both in Pakistan and India who would try to erect barrier on the way to improve relations between the two countries on the basis of live and let live.
Besides the Kashmir conflict, the most pressing, rather menacing, issue is that of poverty which is common to both the countries; millions have been living under extreme poverty with no sign of improvement in their lives. The poverty and deprivation is forcing them to join the rank and file of terrorist groups threatening the peace and development in both the countries.
The chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has already conveyed to the Indian prime minister that while engaging him for developing peaceful conditions in South Asia he would join hands to fight and eliminate poverty from this region as also avoid war which provides no solution in solving the problems; rather pushes the people further in dire poverty. Therefore to my mind Imran Khan who knows Mr. Modi very well and has met him in India in the past would cultivate good political and economic relations with India in the larger interests of the people of South Asia.