In a bold step to embark on a policy of regional engagement, India will invite the leaders of Pakistan and other neighbours to Modi’s swearing in ceremony as a Prime Minister of India. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff will be on the guest list of leaders from the eight-member South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) invited to attend Modi’s swearing in on Monday. Modi has reportedly invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff and other world leaders for his oath-taking ceremony. There is no recent precedent for inviting foreign heads of state when an Indian prime minister has been sworn in. SAARC nations include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and the invitation would send out a strong signal of a neighbour-friendly new government. The BJP has indicated that Modi will work to a re-crafted foreign policy. About 3000 people would be invited for Modi’s oath-taking, which will be held in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace. Only two other prime ministers – Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee – have been sworn in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s forecourt. Others have taken oath in the historic Durbar Hall of the palace, which can only accommodate 500 people.
People of Pakistan and India are not different in their biological and mental signatures; In fact the only difference being the former loves India as much as we are crafted to hate Pakistan. Common public in Pakistan still have so much love towards Indians. Unfortunately, India is projected as a pernicious substance to the people of Pakistan. I hope this will change soon. The modern Pakistan, characterised by the rock bands, the smartly turned out crowds in a cricket match, in coffee houses in Karachi – we could be talking about Indians in Bangalore. However, there is also the reality of Taliban and their ilk, the medievalism that they drive, and the networks that they have built with ISI, an organisation which has covertly supported terrorism in India and Afghanistan. Religious minorities are far from thriving in Pakistan. The equivalents of Tata, Aamir Khan, Jesudas, or Manmohan Singh are completely absent from public life. The people of Pakistan are no different from those of India, but the Government and the media there have molded the people into believing that Indians are monsters and India as a country is their enemy. With the government and the media lines changing, the next generation of Pakistan might change over a period of time; otherwise the status quo will continue which is not beneficial for both the countries.
Of course, India can take initiative in rebuilding ties with Pakistan and improve the ground realities and India’s initiative can perhaps find favour among the Pakistan’s establishment and the people. Entire Afghanistan and Pakistan were at one point in history predominantly Hindu (with Buddhist, Jain and Sikh faiths as well) which is to be forgotten and relegated to the dustbin if one has to be seen as a liberal secular humanist. Pakistan is constantly pressurised by right wing politicians and mullahs for sharia based rule of law but common citizens want democracy on the line of India. Our country also is being pushed by the Right Wing conservative political parties and cultural organisations like RSS, BJP, SS, Bajrang Dal, Sri Ram Sene and VHP etc but common Indian want liberal democratic India. Though, India and Pakistan parted ways 6 decades ago, but common mentality and thinking of Indian sub-continent people seems to be the same, same mentality of apathy towards poor by upper and middle class.
Overall, both the countries have gross inequality between poor and rich, life and condition of women determined by men’s preferences in the both countries. In both countries, considerable number of children are engaged in child labour without education. In spite of so many similarities, there are two most extreme sides too, 65000 Pakistanis have died in the last 10 years due to terrorism by extreme right wing Islamist jihadists within Pakistan. In addition, thousands of Indians and Afghans have died due to cross border terrorism mounted by the same forces with the connivance of all sections of the Pakistan’s establishment during the same period. In fact, Pakistan has been conducting jihad against us and Kabul ever since 1947. Today, there are nearly four dozen violent jihadist terrorist tanzeems with significant membership operating within Pakistan with impunity. These tanzeems are deeply embedded within government, military and the society. There is no world leader who has not condemned Pakistan for its perfidy and the ‘running with the hares and hunting with the hounds’ approach in tackling terror. The Army has the motto ‘Jihad fi sabilillah’. Children are being arrested under blasphemy law. The constitution has to comply with Shariat. India has extreme Hindu and Pakistan has extreme Talibanis. Both the countries are frequently under terror attack.
Anyways, Modi inviting Pakistan for his swearing in ceremony was good move. If Nawaz Shariff refuses to come then its their look out and we can say it is much great thing. During election speeches, Modi’s agendas were to teach a lesson to Pakistan. Pakistan and other Muslim countries never wanted Modi to come to power, because they consider him threat to their country and religion. In such circumstances, if Nawaz obliges Modi then he would face heat in his country and if he comes then BJP have to face the heat of its allay Shiv Sena.
Let’s see how this entire drama takes shape with time….