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In the years I used to travel frequently to Pakistan to report, one of its illustrious high commissioners to New Delhi asked me in jest — and some exasperation —as I made yet another visa application: Why are you so interested in my country’s affairs?

Because, Excellency, I replied with usual journalistic chutzpah, Pakistan’s politics is India’s internal affair.

Little could we have imagined that the tables would turn and India’s politics would become Pakistan’s internal affair instead. That is precisely how we should read its Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement earlier this week that a second term for Narendra Modi and his BJP will be good for Pakistan, and hold out better prospects of a settlement on Kashmir.

It is hard to recall a serving Pakistani chief executive take such a clear position on his (or her) preferred outcome of an Indian election. His citizens do not vote in India. Indian voters won’t listen to him. We cannot, therefore, accuse him of endorsing a candidate here.

Nor can the Election Commission of India send him a notice. Its Model Code of Conduct doesn’t apply there, and it is having a hard-enough time enforcing it where it actually does. But note the absence of comment, forget condemnation, even from our Ministry of External Affairs. What does its silence tell us?

It could possibly be that, in the current situation where the entire ‘system’ responds to one Supreme Leader (not my description for Narendra Modi, but BJP spokesman Sambit Patra’s), no one would risk condemning something that looks like an endorsement for him, never mind who it comes from. But then, nobody would dare welcome it, or thank him either. Why? Because he is saying Narendra Modi’s re-election will be good for Pakistan, as it will be positive for lasting peace with India.

This is contrary to this government’s KRAs in this campaign. It has taken months shifting the discourse from economy, jobs and vikas to Pakistan, terrorism and Muslims. It is seeking a second term on the promise of teaching Pakistan a lesson, an aar-paar ki ladayi (decisive war) no matter what and how long it takes. It isn’t seeking a vote for making peace with Pakistan. To that extent, it can see Imran’s kind words as a trap.

It is reasonable to conclude at this stage that for the first time in our political history, Pakistan has become the centre-stage of the incumbent’s campaign.

Weigh the facts and see who it is that walked into a trap, and who laid it. It is the BJP that resorted to exploiting a strategic policy issue in a poll as nobody had yet. The only example I could find sort of close, but really marginal, was Indira Gandhi claiming in her 1980 campaign that Morarji Desai’s Janata government had been so weak that even tiny neighbouring countries had begun to walk all over India (“chhote deshon ne bhi aankhein dikhani shuru kar dee hain”).

From the Pakistani side, the one significant statement of preference on Indian politics had come from Benazir Bhutto in the early 1990s, although not at election time. She was then “exasperated” with P.V. Narasimha Rao’s cool as Kashmir burned, and said she didn’t know “who to talk to in India now” and that it was different from when “people of a certain class, like the Gandhis, were in power”.

Rao was furious and had then told some of us editors over a conversation that India would make a “horrible example of her” for this arrogance. He destroyed that first phase of insurgency in Kashmir — the worst so far — and in Punjab, but made no mention of it in the 1996 campaign. He was too wise to give Pakistan such importance in domestic politics. He had too much strategic wisdom to not appreciate that such cynical politics would gift Pakistan the one power it never had: Influence on Indian elections.

This is just what the BJP/Modi government has presented to Pakistan now. It’s a trap it laid for itself. It is as if India’s politics has now become Pakistan’s internal affair. Now it doesn’t know how to respond to Imran’s open interference in our domestic politics.

The bigger problem is, the rest of the world is watching this contradiction: India’s incumbent is running an ultra-nationalist election campaign with Pakistan as the enemy. Pakistan, on the other hand, wants the same government re-elected. You can find your own description for it. This happens only in (nutty) South Asia. Or, more like the line lyricist Jaideep Sahni wrote for Khosla Ka Ghosla: Yeh duniya oot-patanga (the world has gone upside-down/inside-out etc).

Very funny it sounds, no? But think again. It is far from funny for us in India. Our politics has walked itself into a pretty bad predicament.


Also read: Kitney aadmi thhey? The most juvenile question to arise from the 90-hour India-Pakistan war


From Kautilya and Machiavelli to Henry Kissinger, you can pick whose wisdom you would prefer. All of them agree on three central points:

· One, never make yourself predictable.

· Two, never allow an adversary to become a factor dividing your public opinion at any point. Always stay united.

· And three, we can extrapolate, though none would have said it explicitly: Never, never give a nearly-failed ideological state — one with 15 per cent of your population, 11 per cent of your economy and 2.5 per cent of your foreign exchange reserves — the ability to influence who would rule you for the next five years.

With the Muller probe in the US expanding and the arrest of Julian Assange, we now have fresh context. Here was a case of a much poorer, dictatorial, nuclear-armed power, a perennial nuisance to its neighbours, exploiting the world’s greatest power’s democratic system to influence its elections and ensure its preferred outcome.

The object of the exercise was three-fold: Build a liberal revulsion against the system that hid so many dirty secrets, destroy the credibility of democratic institutions and character-assassinate established politicians. Read the mea culpa commentary in the American liberal media now on how Assange and Edward Snowden were once liberal icons and are now hate figures because of how they subverted American politics.

Aren’t we seeing too much in this, we might reasonably ask? Can we really compare little Pakistan with giant Russia? Here is a reminder: The Russian economy is today just a little over half of India’s, and a tiny fraction of America’s.

You don’t have to be a genius. Think like the average Pakistani three-star general sitting in the ISI or one of its directorates, with his brains not in his skull but lower down in his anatomy as usual, and you can see the opportunity. If Imran is really telling the world that his country would prefer to get Modi/BJP re-elected, all some general sahib has to do is to tell his assets to light up or blow up some part of Kashmir and brace for a “surgical” response. He doesn’t even have to find any Snowden or Assange in India.

Will Pakistan do this? I don’t know, and I hope not. But we will be hiding from an awful reality if we do not see the strategic blunder we have just made: Of making an adversary a factor of domestic polarisation, and giving it space in our internal affairs.


Also read: Pakistan’s 50-year self-destruction in blood-feud with India & how Imran Khan can halt it


Check out My543, our comprehensive report card of all Lok Sabha MPs.


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41 Comments Share Your Views

41 COMMENTS

  1. I heard during school days that Masterji would select the most naughty student as monitor. Imran’s comment shows desperation that nobody would be strong enough as Prime Minister of India in case Namo is in opposition. He has not supported Namo. I believe safety of the nation is an important point to be on election manifesto as it is dear to voters. Political parties should not shy away from opening cards as that does not amount to giving neighbour chance to define agenda for election.

  2. I think you are right when saying India has been trapped in it’s own trap. But you go wrong when blaming only Modi for it. I think opposition is equally responsible for making this trap, when more homage and respect to terrorist than Indian Army.

    Next, Imran has played smart move. He supported front runner in India and also tried to dis credit the same. In such condition, if Modi wins, Imran will say his favorite has been elected. Even if Modi loses, which is also not possible, INC and all of you would say Imran played important role in defeating BJP.

    BTW… you all are same bunch of people, who wished to give Noble Peace Prize to Imran some days back.

  3. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist, Barnala (Punjab)

    Time spares none !

    NaMo and his BJP are no exceptions in this regard !

    Sahir Ludhianvi , a celebrated poet’s couplet in mid nineteen sixties film ” WAQT ”
    is worth recalling here :
    ” Aadmi Ko Chahiye Waqt Se Darr Kar Rahe Kaun Jaane Kis Gharhi Waqt Ka Badle Mizaz ”

    Overlooking the vagaries , twists and turns of TIME NaMo and BJP must be living in the
    world of imagination and fools’ paradise that all will be well all the time .

    But at present NaMo and BJP might be non-plussed and baffled thinking at what odd as well as
    inauspicious time it struck both to build a very strong anti-Pakistan narrative beguiling and
    befooling masses to just to garner votes to be in power . It was all very rosy and fine on NaMo
    and BJP then to drag and blame Congress Party and its leadership for having soft corner for
    Pakistan rhetoric to exploit for electoral gains !

    Now not publically but in hindsight, NaMo and BJP might be feeling in their heart of hearts what to
    do next caught in two minds in light of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement in public
    favouring NaMo’s re-election avenues !

    Howsoever NaMo, BJP and his army of blind followers may view this development but it is infact
    mindboggling for them to react either way .

    Sans any doubt, this development at the time of polls is bound to recoil on NaMo and his BJP !
    NaMo and BJP may find themselves caught in their own clever but sinister trap !

    To my mind, it can be a mischief and brain child of Mr.Navjot Singh Sidhu- a very dear and intimate
    friend of 1992 World Cricket Cup winning Captain Imran Khan !

    “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Both Navjot and Imran are acting upon this phrase in the letter
    and spirit ! Both remarkable and smart in their farsightedness !

    Poor NaMo is leaving no stone unturned to be in the hot seat for the second time by hook or crook !
    NaMo is very crazily grappling to repeat the feat of 2014 . He is forgetting that 2014 and 2019 cannot
    be the same ! Can these be ?

    The more NaMo hankers after power, the more it is certain to allude him -is a foregone conclusion !

    Prof PK Sharma ,Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  4. Imran Khan may be influnced by NM’s foreign policy, he also might be interested in How world especially USA, Russia & China respond to it.At the same to please America.Moreover he also tried to interfere our internal affairs.Our parties both NM & RG wanted to get benefit of it. So no one condemned it. The most saddest part.

    • Pradeep : USA interferes internal affairs of everybody, it’s why even their oldest ally (France) don’t trust them! You can’t imagine how many times they back-stabbed the French despite they wouldn’t even exist without LaFayette, same for the UK that France also helped to create in 1066AD, at a point French nickname UK as “the Perfidious Albion” (Albion from “alba” = white : the cliffs of Dower are white)…. Seems a common set of mind with the Anglos

  5. I do see that Mr Gupta has a point. Do we really need Pakistan to become part of our conversation when we elect our next government? Is that the most important issue? Mr Gupta has just mentioned that Modi and Co. have achieved this, by bringing national security into public sphere. We need to remember that neither Modi or his type go to war nor the internet warriors (premise is that the people who fight wars or fight the enemy don’t have energy to waste on internet and they know that the energy thus saved is best spent to figuring out the enemy moves). Is it not? It is an empty vessel or a good for nothing politician who resorts to jingoism where you are try buying votes in the name of religion, national security through gossip mongering, downright lies or fear-mongering. As we all know, we have seen all of this. You have the fake actors (I don’t see them any more than that) in TV studios or shouting brigade at political rallies and great pen/keyboard warriors in the print and digital media. Not to be outdone, we have some of our retired service officers shouting their lungs out in the studio. Does it really lead to peace or winning a war or the welfare of our people who die an unnatural death in rathole mines, cleaning sewers, demonetisation lines, of hunger because they don’t have work or the aadhar card, drink pesticide because they don’t have enough money to pay their debt or feed their family? What do we really want to discuss and work towards? Do we really need to discuss Pakistan and give Imran Khan an opportunity to poke his nose into India’s elections? Mr Gupta has nailed this one well. Let us trying understanding what he is saying rather than whether Modi has responded to it or not. Modi can not respond, as he is trapped. He is only trying to fool us by diverting attention. He has done that successfully for years – first in Gujarat and now for the last 6 odd years at the national level. I see Modi to be no more than a self-obsessed man – a man needs to be in power under all circumstances. Once people have seen through the game, he is becoming shriller and abusing more often.

  6. Some of the readers have rightly commented why do much importance to Imran’s comments. The same applies to Modi as well when he claims opposition is anti national and getting headlines in Pakistani media. Modi and their leaders bring Pakistan to consolidate majority votes as other wise such small country is of no importance in our election. Why Modiji is quite on other enemy China in our elections.

  7. While the writer is not as rabidly anti Modi and anti BJP as the NDTV and its former super star Barkha Dutt, his own bias against them does creep out now and then. Imran is also believed to have said that the reason Modi will be a better PM for the Indo Pakistan dialogue to make headway, is that Congress will be too scared of public opinion turning against it if it engages in such moves. The essential point lost in this article is that: 1. Pakistan and its leaders are fully aware of the double game and the forked tongue that are well known traits of the Congress. 2. That Modi is a fearless leader who will not hesitate to do the right thing, regardless of the shackles that leaders like Rahul Gandhi are desperately trying (and failing) to put in his path.

  8. If you look at history , Imran is right. The closest ever the two countries came to a peace deal was during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure.

  9. 1950 से पत्रकारिता के बदलते स्वरूप को देख रहे हैं और समझने का प्रयास कर रहे हैं कि वर्तमान पत्रकारों का स्तर इतना गिर गया है कि, जन-मानस ने उन्हें ,,,, बिकाऊ,,,, उपनाम से सम्मानित कर दिया है।दुख इस बात का है,सारी मछलियां तालाब गंदा नहीं करती।

    लोकप्रियता,या सस्ती लोकप्रियता दोनों अलग है,एक में जन-मानस को जगाया जाता है सामाजिक न्याय के लिए,और दूसरे में रजवाड़ों के समय की चारण या भाट गिरी का भौडा प्रदर्शन किया जाता है ।इनके लिए एक गाने का मुखड़ा सटिक रहेगा,******रुपयों के चन्द टुकड़ों के लिए ईमान को बेचा जाता है,***
    इस लेख के लेखक के लिए समझे तो इशारा काफी।
    इधर का उधर का , कोई ताल मेल नहीं ,आप जैसे मीडिया घरानों के पियादे,इन कहानियों को हवा में बनाते हैं और उन्हें जमीन की धूल उड़ा कर असलियत बताने का खोखलापन ,,,,भेडीया आया ,की तर्ज पर चारों तरफ फैलाते हैं। भारत का विभाजन भी इन्हीं अफवाहों ने कराया, अंग्रेजी शासकों, कांग्रेस मुस्लिम लीग, हिन्दू महासभा, को निशाने पर लिया , तमाम वामपंथी पत्रकारों और इतिहासकारों ने।1857से टटोल लिजीये,ये सारी आग लगाने वाले कम्यूनिस्ट विचारधारा के लोग ही पर्दे और उसके पीछे के खेल में शामिल रहे। सारी कहानी दुनिया को दो सुपरपावरो के पाले में ढकेलने के अलावा कुछ नहीं थी। वर्तमान राजनैतिक सिथती भारत के भविष्य के लिए बहुत सुंदर है। जैसे बारिश के मौसम में नालों की कीचड़ सड़कों पर आ जाती है,यही हाल चुनावी माहौल में होता है। मख्खी, मच्छर, डेंगू की तरह कुछ राजनैतिक बिमारी से देश को दो चार होना पड़ेगा।

    जन-मानस एक चीज को अब अच्छी तरह समझ गया है कि, देश से बढ़ कर कुछ नहीं।

  10. The author should be ashamed to write an article implying guilt by association. Imran is supporting the front runner (nothing he has not done – in sport and now in politics)

  11. Perhaps Imran Khan is cowed by Modi’s rhetorics. May be Imran can talk to Modi only about the Kashmir issue and no other Indian Prime Minister. One needs to think critically what Imran is playing at.

  12. Indians are not fools. Pakistan is a shit scared of Modis comeback. They are trying hard to discredit him in the Indian public eyes. But Modi is smart. Pulwama turned out a blessing to Modi as Balakot happened. Now Pakistan is now with a different game, since they know Modi is sure to come back and so this sweet talk. But Indians know their desperation and foul games. Hence we are very clear to elect Modi again. Modi is going to pay them with the same coin. Make no mistake, Modi will be back.

  13. Modi’s Pakistan rhetoric is not only prosaic but also evidence that he is now constantly living in his echo chamber. Modi fails to realise that the bigger challenge for him (if he returns as PM) will be his coalition partners because he is unlikely to get a majority in 2019. The heat in parliament will be far greater than what he experienced when heading a majority government, and the space to perform meaningfully (if at all he intends to) will shrink.

    • Except that a Rahul only focusing on a clean aircraft procurement contract applying the Goebbels principles of the “Big Lie” and “Accusing others of your own crimes” when he obviously has nothing else to propose than hammering always the same crapaganda, well, seen from the distance, Rahul doesn’t stands a chance, especially since he’s jeopardising the country security while the total lack of decisionship under AK Antony now makes 2 thirds of IAF simply geriatric! If ever you read Koran, you’ll learn that it orders to regularly probe the infidels and if they seem having weakened, to attack!
      They only attack if they feel you are weak and IAF is weakened!
      It’s not 36 Rafales that are needed! It’s 252-285 for IAF and 57 for INAF, moreover, Tejas NEEDS Rafale’s technology to be made efficient : Tejas needs the RBE2/AESA radar, the M88-Kaveri K9+ with 98kN thrust as it’s the only thing allowing to stuff enough fuel in, thanks to the small size, without taking many more years of redesign and testing, it needs Rafale’s active stealth, the already proposed Dassault structural mods (both to fit more fuel and to reinforce the airframe while losing weight), and it needs Rafal’s OSF-IT “quantum EO/IRST” (QWIP) to deal with J-20/J-31 in far beyond visual range. (custom quadruple racks for Meteor would be needed for both)
      It’s 294-330 “Rafalized” Tejas that are necessary for IAF and 76 for INAF.
      Let’s be clear : Pak already has 500+ fighter jets, they just started to produce JF-17 block3 at a rate of 26 units a year when HAL produces a still not finished Tejas at 8/units a year. Pak is also in talks to buy 30-40x J-31 from China.
      Now look at PLAAF : more than 2000 combat aircraft!
      It takes 2 years to build an assembly line the 2 more to start deliveries. One for Tejas builds 8 units/year, one for Rafale builds up to 18 units/year.
      No less than 4 Tejas and 2 Rafale assembly lines are needed and ASAP. Price tag may end looking enormous but it’s to be spent over 10 years and 3.5-3.9B a year for fighter jets procurement on a $60B budget, especially since no orders were taken since 2001 except the pitiful batch of 36 Rafales is not excessive, especially since the factory building is in the offset.

      Moreover, UPA did terrible choices for procurement, very likely linked to kickbacks since US and Brit aircraft makers (note : BAe is co-builder for Gripen, Typhoon, F-35 and builds Hawk) are well know for paying serious bribes : Brazil ends paying €9.1B for 28 Gripen-E/F (that still is a prototype) with only 20-25% offset and no weapons, no integration of custom gear/weapons, etc. Former prez Lula Da Silva is even in jail due to the contract! All Gripen exports are tainted, same for Typhoon, and these are imaginary scandals like what Rahul is doing.

      How can someone doing accusations with zero proofs can be trusted to lead a country of 1.3 billions?

  14. Who knows Modi in his next elect rally would say “deko maine Pakistan kay Pradhan Mantri ko kudnay tekhvadiya”. Congress walay kar sakay kya “

  15. Why so much importance to Imran statement? Who took it seriously at all at any leval , national or international or within Pak itself? Even pak military did not take it seriously. His statment is even not mentioned by modi opposer even in election campaigns. Failed to understand what is compelling reasons to write whole article on it?

      • In fact, opposition only relies on attacks ad nominem since they have nothing to propose to improve the life of Indians.
        Well, maybe this could work in the USA or UK, opt for such a strategy in adult nations of western Europe, I can tell you you’re 100% sure to lose the elections and your party will not push you as leader into any major campaign again!

  16. Well written article, I don’t think Shekar is trying to campaign for one party /other. Nor are the voters going to decide based on his words. This article is targeted at a different community and they would understand how to deal with Pakistan if it tries any more adventure.

  17. Whichever government is in power in Delhi, any territorial solution to Kashmir is not possible. One of the first things Dr Singh told Gen Musharraf was, I don’t have the mandate to change my country’s map. The fairly substantial dialogue the two countries had respected this precondition. Recall how much effort it took India and Bangladesh to finalise the exchange / swap of enclaves. So PM Imran Khan is being unrealistic if he believes a hard right government can make any concessions on Kashmir. 2. A more reasonable expectation SAARC members can have from the next government – whether the incumbent is returned to power, or otherwise – is that it will redo its foreign policy for the region. The last five years have not been productive, viewed from their interests or ours. 3. Mixing up Pakistan – also Kashmir – with our domestic politics does not serve the national interest. This will have to be unwound.

  18. What a weird thought that, if some enemy of yours supports you out of the blue, it is your fault and folly!!!!!
    Mr Gupta, are you losing your mind?

  19. Imran Khan is a bullshit b*****d and you don’t get trapped into his gullible tactics.
    Oh !! You guys have similar mindset…. biased kind.
    Anyways Indians are smart enough to select & elect their leader.
    By the way do some good things at least at this age of dusk.

    • Do you think Indians are having brains? Indians specially Hindu Kafirs are Idol Worshippers and they don’t spare even consuming urine of cow and sexual organs that’s The Reason they elected an illiterate chaprasi modi who destroyed Indian economy due to Demonetazation and GST Taxation.Indians are fools.

      • Dikhsa : Kuffar Uh-Akhbar! Kuffar Uh-Akhbar! The West proves it every day!
        BTW, whatabout your “razul” (pi$$ be upon him) shagging 9y old Aicha? Or the dead body of his late aunt? Or saying zoophilia is OK as long as the animal is sacrificed later? And also saying that drinking camel urine heals all sickness? (well, it didn’t healed his schizophrenia…) … Oh, BTW, your “religious” book orders YOU to kill all “infidels” unless they convert. I call it a death-cult! Neverthemless, read WELL wha your own so-called “razul” prophetised :

        “It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar) that the Messenger of Allah (Pi$$ be upon him) observed: Verily Islam started as something strange and it would again revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started, and it would recede between the two mosques just as the serpent crawls back into its hole.”
        – Sahih Muslim Book 1 Hadith 271

        Now you know your place! Even your “prophet” says your place is to go back to your snake’s hole!
        #FrreeZoroastrianPersia, #FreeBuddhistAfghanistan, #FreeHinduPakistan, #FreeCopticEgypt, #FreeGreekAnatolia, #FreeJewishMedinaHejazKhayber,#FreeConstantinople #FreeThrace #FreeCyprus #FreeGaza #FreeJudeaSamaria #FreeBerberMaghreb #FreeAramaicAssyrianSyria #FreeBabylonianIraq #FreeKurdistan #FreePhoenicianLebanon #FreeSudan, #FreeBuddhistIndonesia, #FreeBuddhistMalaysia, #FreeYourMindAndYourAssWillFollow.
        Na’al ‘dine Muhammad

    • Now Indians should bring back Congress young and educated parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi as our New PM of India from 23rd May 2019 as modi chaiwala as a chaprasi has destroyed Indian Economy due to Demonetazation and GST high Taxation.

      • Dikhsa : you don’t seem to get that in terms of GDP/PPP, India has the 3rd biggest economy (or 4th if you consider the EU as a single country). Now due to the huge population, the GDP/PPP per capita is medium (110-120th rank) but… China is only ranked 82th and economy really kickstarted decades before India, nevertheless, since 2014, Indian GDP/PPP grew by 50% from $6.5T to $10.5-11T…
        If, into 5 years, one of our politicians grows the economy by 50%, I can tell you that we wouldn’t change our prez every 5 years like in the 2 last decades! If he wanted to go, we’d blockade him at the Elysée palace!

    • You need to maintain better composure and control over your emotions. Such desperate outburst are not suitable for India’s optics.

  20. Mr Imran Khan is known as a U turn politician so I am not sure his words count. I also am not sure if Indian voters will vote based on our relationship with Pakistan. I am just surprised that someone like you could be writing inane conspiracy theories. You were never as openly anti Modi as you have been in the run up to the Lok Sabha Elections

  21. Thank you for your point of view, Shekhar. With due respect, I read this differently.

    In fact, Imran by saying what he did, is endorsing Modi’s strategy of talking to Pakistan in the only language it understands. His statement means that if you strike back at Pak, it will negotiate with you for peace and see you as a worthy counter party. Khan’s statement also reveals Pak’s impression of the INC’s Pak-approach to as pussillanimous – which is Modi’s case anyways.

    You berate Modi’s predictability repeatedly but reacting passively to past attacks (26/11, as e.g.) was also equally predictable. In fact, if taken at face value (taking Pak at face value – hahahaha!!!! But let’s try) Imran is banking on Modi’s ability to change the Indian Govt’s course from being offensive to being reasonable ….and bringing about peace (the same way in which Modi did change the Govt’s erstwhile passive ways to offensive). In your article, you don’t seem to extend the same compliment to our PM.

    Internationally, Imran is struggling for relevance. FATF is squeezing their degrees of freedom economically. CPEC has suspect popular support. Baloch issues, terror attacks continue. I am sure the country has grave law and order issues (even most games of the Pak-T20-league are played in UAE). Moreover, it is surrounded by Indophile Islamic states (heck even UAE is giving highest award to Modi). A statement like Imran’s – knowing that it would invite domestic fury for him and yet he said this – means he has lost it. (By reading articles of luminaries such as yours, I have learnt that — Going by past history, if you have a choice of attributing either statecraft or blunder to anything that Pak does, prefer the latter. —I am not saying – take your adversary lightly, but being a reader of your columns, and knowing you are a student of history, I am sure you agree, Shekhar ji).

    You see something Machiavellian in Imran’s utterances. I read a desparate attempt for TRP. Even Imran’s own loudmouth FM (who is expecting an Indian attack soon, and who -to his own embarassment- revealed the identity of the F16 pilot) disowned his boss’s statement in their Parliament stating equivalent of quoted-out-of-context.

  22. Ignorant UP bhaiya logic. Probably understood only in UP. Gupta as usual marching into his sunset years with as twisted a mind as ever. Will be counted on the wrong side of history. Im-the-dim’s statement reflects BJP’s strength any way you slice it – truth or lie.

  23. Mr Gupta people have decided whom to vote for. Who so ever wants to vote for Modi he/she would do so and who so ever doesnt, will not. Imran Khan and his views have no bearing on voting preference of Indians. I hope you too consider yourself an Indian..

  24. Shekhar Gupta has exposed his pathological hatred for Modi by penning such a stupid article. Pakistan and more importantly Imran Khan are to small to evoke any kind of response. You need not waste so much time and energy trying to explain Imran’s strategy. While we people that can read and understand such articles dont care a row of beans for Modi or for that matter RAGA Shekhar Gupta appears rattled by a meaningless comment made by a miniscule person. SG have a glass of water and calm down.

  25. Will Indian voters be influenced by what Imran Khan says? I doubt it very much. Imran Khan seems have a change of heart. He had previously opined that change of government in Delhi is necessary for recommencement of talks between India and Pakistan. Return of Modi as PM is a distinct possibility, as indicated by many opinion polls. This seems to be the main reason for the change in his mindset. It matters very little. The affairs in Pakistan are controlled not by its civil government but by its army. I agree that the Pakistan-centric campaign theme is a great gambit. How far it succeeds can be seen only on 23rd May. However, I don’t see as a trap. Electoral success is all that matters for both BJP and Congress. Modi has projected his image as a no-nonsense, hard-hitting leader who is not afraid of taking big, risky decisions. However, it doesn’t mean that doors for talks with Pakistan cannot be opened after he gets re-elected as PM.

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