Prime minister has struck all the right notes in his address to the nation which was in fact aimed at the Indian government. It however was an intelligent move to cater to the home constituency at the same time.
He said: One, he is hearing of all the frenzy being whipped up by the Indian media to retaliate and teach Pakistan a lesson for its alleged involvement in the Pulwama attack. Two there is no actionable intelligence so far that India has shared. If there is any, he is willing to act. Three as India has always been insisting to talk on terrorism before Kashmir. He showed his willingness to do so. And four if India takes shows any belligerence, Pakistan will be left with no option but to retaliate.
At the end he hoped “better sense will prevail.”
Elaborating further he said common logic says that Pakistan could not take any advantage out of the sabotage act just when it was preparing for a high profile visit by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. That cannot be argued with because all the war mongering came as KSA crown prince visit was underway. And the intention clearly was to disrupt and/or divert the attention – Pakistan as well as world’s – away from the investment conference.
Now when the crown prince is in India, it will be interesting to see how Prime minister’s well- timed/crafted message dampens the euphoria over reported $100b investments in New Delhi?
The PM touched upon the Indian elections that are due in a month or so. Elections in any country are a moment for celebration as people get yet another chance to shape their future. More so in the world’s largest democracy. Just yesterday we are reminded by Jawed Naqvi in his weekly column in a national daily that Vajpayee had an upper hand in Kargil war but lost the elections soon after. Whereas Manmohan Singh whipped up no such thing as his first term ended and won a second one. So BJP would be better advised to win back New Delhi if it has to on the strength of its performance during its tenure rather than Pakistan-bashing which people of the two countries have now grown sick of.
The PM has dealt a deft diplomatic blow which the Modi government can ignore at its own peril.
Our foreign minister too has requested the United Nations to intervene and help de-escalate. Qureshi in his letter raised concerns over the “negative tactics” used by India ahead of the elections in India.
Earlier our indefatigable foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua held back-to-back meetings with the guest diplomats in Islamabad and made them aware of Pakistan’s stance on the issue.
So all in all Pakistan has acted well and it is hoped that better sense will prevail on the east of our border. And this war of words will abate which is almost always a precursor to the real war.