Imran’s rise to top post rekindles hope for peace

  • Javaid Malik
  • Publish Date: Aug 12 2018 10:02PM
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  • Updated Date: Aug 12 2018 10:02PM
Imran’s rise to top post rekindles hope for peace

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf led by international cricket star-turned politician Imran Khan winning the general elections in Pakistan has rekindled hopes of renewed efforts towards achieving peace in the sub-continent, writes Javaid Malik

People of Kashmir watched the Pakistan elections keenly. Every Kashmiri knows it very well that whenever relations between India and Pakistan have improved, people of J&K have heaved a sigh of relief. During the past few years ties between the two countries have hit an all-time low and these have had a direct impact on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Soon after Imran won the elections, Kashmiri leaders cutting across the party lines congratulated him. Everyone exuded hope that Imran assuming the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan would prove to be a game-changer.

Though New Delhi-based TV channels described Imran Khan as a “stooge of Pakistan army,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi silenced them by making a phone call to Imran and congratulating him on his victory, speaking about improving relations between the two countries.

Ministry of External Affairs while welcoming the Pakistan elections said: “We hope that the new Government of Pakistan will work constructively to build a safe, stable, secure and developed south Asia free of violence.” 

Soon after Prime Minister Modi called Imran Khan, IAS topper from Kashmir Shah Faesal took the New Delhi-based media head-on for ridiculing elections in Pakistan. “This is India’s real policy, no buk..buk on ………news,” Shah Faesal wrote on twitter.

People of Jammu and Kashmir are waiting for Imran to assume the office so that he can announce his policy towards India. In his victory speech he minced no words and said that “Kashmir is a core issue” between India and Pakistan. New Delhi did not react as it looks like that it’s waiting for Imran to take the charge officially.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Kavinder Gupta, while talking to the Kashmir Ink said that India has always extended the hand of friendship towards Pakistan “but our desire for peace has always been considered as our weakness.” “Imran Khan getting elected as Prime Minister could help both the countries to foster good relations as he is a sportsman and he should show his sportsman spirit to end the hostilities between the two countries,” Gupta said.

He said that history stands testimony to the fact that whosoever has come to power in Pakistan has “toed the Army’s line.” “It would be difficult for Imran to break the shackles but we hope that situation will change for good in Pakistan,” said Gupta. He was of the opinion that people of Pakistan by rejecting the “fanatic groups” have proved that they want better ties with India and they are not interested in war.

Referring to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vapayee’s assertion Gupta said that “friends can be changed but not neighbours.”

Soon after Imran Khan’s PTI emerged as the single largest party in Pakistan, New Delhi based media tried to create a notion that Imran’s victory was a “fixed match” between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Army. 

“Let’s not jump the gun. We have to wait and see how Imran performs,” Kavinder Gupta says.

Imran’s victory seems to have even turned the hardliners optimistic about the future of Indo-Pak ties. But still one cannot say whether everything would be fine or not and things cannot be taken for granted.    

Chief spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party Rafi Mir is of the opinion that Imran Khan wants to resolve Kashmir. “We have to see whether India responds or not,” he said. “We hope that something will happen. He is not a traditional politician and may like to contribute in one or the other way to restore peace,” Mir added.

The PDP leader said that people should not get carried away by Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling Imran Khan. “When PM Modi took oath, Nawaz Sharif also attended the oath taking ceremony in New Delhi but things didn’t move beyond a point,” he added.

Mir while rubbishing the propaganda about Pakistan Army playing a pivotal role to elevate Imran Khan, said that if any Prime Minister of Pakistan takes Army on board to solve Kashmir then no one should have any objection to it.  

Vice-president of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Ghulam Nabi Monga said that positive outcome of this election is that people of Pakistan have rejected the “fanatic elements.” “People of India should learn a lesson from Pakistan as far their voting pattern is concerned. Here BJP and RSS have polarized the environment. People of Pakistan have given mandate to Imran Khan to run the country and it seems that democracy has started taking roots in Pakistan. India should act like a big brother and allow democracy to grow in Pakistan,” said Monga.    

He said that Imran Khan has not been elected by the Army. “He has been elected by the people of Pakistan and we should respect their mandate,” the Congress leader said. “Imran Khan has said that led India take one step he will take two steps.  We should avail this opportunity and prove it to the world that we stand for peace and want to share cordial relationship with our neighbours.”   

Imran’s election to the top post has generated enthusiasm among the mainstream politicians in Kashmir and they are hoping that ice would break and situation would start improving. Even the Jammu based politicians are keenly watching the developments as the skirmishes near the Line of Control and international border have put them in a tight spot. When BJP was not in power it always used to say that they won’t allow Pakistan to violate the ceasefire and would “snatch” Pakistan  administered Kashmir from Pakistan. “During the past four years borders and LoC have remained hot and the border dwellers have been asking the BJP what it has done for them,” said an analyst.

He said that politicians in Jammu too have realized that “war is no solution,” and relation between India and Pakistan have to improve to allow people to live in peace. “We cannot just keep on fighting with Pakistan. We hope Imran Khan comes up with new peace initiatives and addresses our concerns vis-à-vis peace,” BJP general secretary Ashok Koul told the Kashmir Ink.     

Provincial president of National Conference Nasir Aslam Wani says that Kashmiris have been waiting for the past 70 years for relations between India and Pakistan to improve. “NC has always maintained that dialogue is the only way out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to talk about achey din but those achey din never came. Let’s hope that the promised good times come before PM Modi’s tenure ends,” Wani said.