News / Asia

    Pakistan Congratulates India's New Leadership

    FILE - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he arrives in Downing Street in London, April 2014.
    FILE - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he arrives in Downing Street in London, April 2014.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan has greeted with optimism news of the sweeping election victory in India by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Political leaders and analysts hope that the new BJP government will respond positively to Islamabad’s peace overtures.
     
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said Friday that he telephoned Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his Bharatiya Janata Party’s “impressive victory” in the election and offer “good wishes.”   
     
    Pakistani Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch said his country will wait for Modi to take office before it can offer any analysis of the Indian prime minister's policy toward Islamabad.  
     
    "Pakistan believes in a peaceful relationship with its neighbors, including India. And we are for peace. We are not for war. We want to settle every dispute with India through peaceful means. That is what our line is. And what would be the line of BJP under Mr. Modi? That is to be seen,” said Baloch.

    Cautious optimism

    Political leaders and analysts here are cautiously optimistic about Modi's rise to power, in part because they see him as unpredictable. Pakistanis recall Atal Behari Vajpayee of the BJP, India's leader from 1999 to 2004, who undertook a historic bus journey to Pakistan in an effort to normalize bilateral ties.
     
    Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the defense committee of the upper house of parliament, said there is no serious apprehension in Pakistani political circles about Modi becoming prime minister of India. He noted that economic development is at the top of Modi’s agenda, and that will require better relations with neighboring countries.

    "He will be driven by an economic vision, and he will be inspired by the vision of his predecessors, like Mr. Vajpayee, who reached out to Pakistan in a big way," said Hussain. "So we feel that the region is moving in a manner which is compatible with better relations between Pakistan and India, particularly in the field of politics, in the field of security [and] in the field of economy. And I think the ball is now in the court of the Indian side. There is no constituency in Pakistan which seeks confrontation with India.”
     
    Hussain said close cooperation between India and Pakistan is essential to prevent their rivalry from igniting a proxy war for influence in neighboring Afghanistan as foreign troops prepare to withdraw from that war-torn country later this year.

    Salman Bashir until recently was Pakistan’s ambassador to India. "I believe it is in our mutual interest - the interest of Pakistan and the interest of India - to come to some sort of modus vivendi where we could fruitfully engage with each other. The engagement process must be resumed. So, I would expect that the next government in India will take a rational line towards Pakistan and not be sort of carried away by the jingoistic attitude reflected in the pre-election phase,” he said.
     
    Ruling party lawmaker Owais Leghari heads the foreign affairs committee of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. Taking a more cautious approach, he said he sees only an uncertain hope for improved relations between the two countries:  
     
    “I think the Indian political leadership should be mature enough to understand how important it is to keep the stability of this region in place. But so far, we have not heard of policies by the BJP leadership responsible enough for this bilateral relation to actually flourish and improve. So we can just hope for betterment in our relations but it does not look quite doable at the moment,” said Leghari.
     
    Lingering concerns

    Former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman, speaking at a seminar in Islamabad about Indian politics, said she does not expect smooth sailing for her country’s relations with India under a Modi government.
     
    “In the event of a crisis certainly there will be behavioral change, is my view. There may not be in terms of broad articulations. There may be a year of grandstanding toward Pakistan, because that is what the BJP does, but post-Mumbai the 'strategic indifference' - and it is a very contrived one that we say through the Congress years - will escalate to more than indifference, surely,” said Rehman.
     
    A wide-ranging bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan to improve ties and seek solutions to outstanding territorial disputes, including Kashmir, remains suspended. The breakdown occurred early last year when Indian officials accused Pakistani soldiers of crossing the disputed Kashmir border and beheading several Indian troops - charges that Islamabad has denied.
     
    Moreover, New Delhi wants Islamabad to conclude the trial of several suspected Islamic militants accused of planing the terror attacks on Mumbai in 2008. During the recent campaign in India, BJP leaders said they would take tough action to prevent cross-border raids by militants operating in Pakistan.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora