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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

"Ebola in Town" has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid