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Liberal Segment In India Has Been Pushed To The Corner By Electoral Results

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Indian election was a battle between Mahatma Gandhi’s followers and the ideology that killed him. And the latter won. PM Imran Khan must understand the base line that BJP government for next 5 years on our eastern borders means trouble for Pakistan and a definite tough road ahead, writes Brig Mahmood Sadiq.

World’s biggest democratic exercise 2019 witnessed historic ballot turnout of over 600 million in India spread over one and a half month. Despite farmer’s grieves, banking sector failure, corruption scandals and Narendra Modi’s failure to tackle rising unemployment, the people of India have overwhelmingly voted for BJP. An estimated 7 billion US dollars were spent during the electoral exercise which is more than IMF’s recent loan to Pakistan for 3 years.

An amount of one billion US dollars was fed to media alone by corporate sector of India projecting revival of ideology and faith linked to BJP’s victory. Economy and national security remained a key electoral debate in India. Over 10 million saffron or ‘chowkidars’ carried development and security slogan all over India to motivate voters. It was a battle between Mahatma Gandhi’s followers and those who killed him.

Unchallenged reality clearly reflects domestic Indian popularity in which secular Indian face stands washed by Hindu nationalism. World shall witness a radicals’ elite and blatant social dominance of upper caste of Hindu society with culture of conservatism, pro corporate economic growth and use of state instrument for the next 5 years.

We, as Pakistanis, may not like it but Narendra Modi, a right leaning populist leader, does have a domestic image of being a strong man. He takes decisions, is personally honest and importantly a ‘practicing Hindu’ by caste, breed and deeds who has demonstrated assertive attitude, aggressive approach and assured action against Pakistan.

In fact India is passing through a nationalists tide. Even today on Indian media, electoral results are being propagated as victory of the ideology and faith which is distressingly turning 195 million Muslims as second class citizens while Christians and Dalit are also confused and panicky.

Liberal educated segment of Indian society termed as ‘urban naxal’ has been pushed to the corner by the electoral results.  From Pakistan’s perspective, ‘two nation theory’ has been validated by people of India after 72 years. In the political domain, it is stunning upset for Gandhi’s political dynasty in India where Congress could not win a single seat in 13 out of 29 states in India. It has set an alarming signal for Bhutto and Sharif dynasties in Pakistan also.

Gracefully accepting the defeat, Rahul Gandhi has clearly stated this to be a victory of a different mindset, divergent thought process and dissimilar vision.  Pakistan needs to understand this reality uttered by Rahul Ghandi and translate its relevance and implications for Pakistan.

It has more applicability for political leadership and establishment in Pakistan since the poor masses are already busy battling against economic mismanagement spread over a decade. Indian elections had hyper nationalistic atmosphere and being tough against Pakistan was an electoral slogan as well as promise.

PM Imran Khan must understand the base line that BJP government for next 5 years on our eastern borders means trouble for Pakistan and a definite tough road ahead.

Indo-Pak relations reflect mutual hostility spread over 72 years with scattering conflicts and transitory openings. Pakistan test fired its ballistic missile with range of 1500 km and ability to carry nuclear warhead concurrent with Indian election results. It was neither meaning less nor ceremonial but a strategic message based on reality of prevailing mindset on our eastern borders.

With Modi back to the driving seat, war against Pakistan in the 5th generation domain shall intensify beyond doubt.  Vital issue is the possibility of any kinetic adventure against Pakistan with its probability, nature, duration and intensity.

Sixth sense predicts positively but mind and heart both indicate a degree of unpredictability especially in the prevailing regional milieu of US-Iran tension coupled with domestic economic and political environment. Unfortunately, there are multiple stake holders.

Conceptually, people on both side of the fence are the major stake holders. However, ideological and political realities of Kashmir make leadership, religious elite and establishment as an important stake holder in Pakistan. In new India, radical’s elite led by Modi are major stake holders now who are bent to bring constitutional changes on the status of Kashmir within India.

Realistically, current atmosphere within India will take at least 6 months to settle down. Even if Pakistan takes any initiative beyond tweet by the PM, India may reject such call of dialogue and is not likely to be interested in anything straight away.

PM Imran Khan needs to be realistic, persistent and firm at home and abroad on Indo-Pak relations and its relevance to Kashmir.

A lot of homework is required by the government if it is seriously interested in creating opportunities of peace with India. The nation expects PM Imran Khan to show out of box gesture which should bring both countries at the negotiating table but at the right time. The government needs to think through for next 4 years and while absorbing cross-border Kinetic exchanges and allegations of backing separatists in Kashmir, we have to make India respond positively. Dealing with the political reality of Pakistan will be one of the major challenges for Indian PM after economy in the next 5 years and a similar situation persists on our side of the fence.

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