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

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs