New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his 67th birthday, even though India and Pakistan have been witnessing a severe chill in their relations because of repeated terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir emanating from Pakistan.
In a tweet Modi said: “Birthday wishes to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. I pray for his long and healthy life: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Birthday wishes to Pakistan PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif. I pray for his long and healthy life.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 25, 2016
Following years of frozen relations due to the bitter Kashmir dispute, ties between the two neighbours turned a new leaf after Modi had made a huge gesture by travelling to Lahore on an unscheduled visit to wish Sharif personally and attend the marriage ceremony of his kin on December 25, 2015.
However, the warmth in the bilateral ties witnessed at that time evaporated after terror attack on the airbase in Pathankot on January 1, 2016. Since then the relations have just been sliding as tensions escalated.
PM Narendra Modi faced severe criticism in the country over the unscheduled and untimely visit to Pakistan. Opposition leaders, including RJD boss Lalu Prasad Yadav, asked the Modi to clarify his ‘mysterious association’ with Nawaz Sharif.
The matter further escalated after Sharif delivered a rant on Kashmir in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. In his brief 20-minute speech, more than half of which was a sermon to the world about the ‘sins’ of the Indian state in Kashmir over the last 80 days, Sharif went into great detail about the deaths, pellet injuries, even demanding a UN backed independent inquiry commission. Much of this speech was verbatim a repetition of what he said at the UNGA last year. The only new addition was the reference to Burhan Wani.
Sharif even called Wani “the young leader” whose killing led to ”a second Kashmiri intifada’. While one should not discount or belittle the grave nature of recent problems in Kashmir and the utter inability of both the Central and State governments in handling the situation, by eulogising Burhan Wani, and that too from the podium of the UNGA, Sharif has taken things too far. What next? Praising Masood Azhar or Hafiz Saeed in his next UNGA speech? No wonder there were few takers in the General Assembly hall for Sharif’s Kashmir spiel.
As expected the Pakistan Prime Minister did not even utter a word on the recent Uri terrorist attack. On the issue of terror, Pakistan behaves as much like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand as India does on the political nature of the problem in Kashmir. But let us try to make sense of what Pakistan has been trying to achieve in the last two months.
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– With inputs from PTI