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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid