LS Polls: Opportunity for Pakistan to prove responsible neighbor

It’s time for it to display maturity and understand once and for all that it cannot impose its narrative or actions on the people of Kashmir.

Lok Sabha elections in India offer a grand opportunity to Pakistan to demonstrate that it is a responsible neighbor, and if it does so it can re-open a door for dialogue with India on trade, commerce besides upgrading diplomatic relations. This, in essence, is Pakistan’s responsibility to itself by way of which it can show itself in a reformed state of affairs having the desire and will to foster good neighborly relations.

The real test will be in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s time for it to display maturity and understand once and for all that it cannot impose its narrative or actions on the people of Kashmir. After August 5, 2019, the day Article 370 was done away with ending special status of the erstwhile state and its residents, the geo-political landscape has changed. This should be accepted by both the political and army establishment in the neighboring country, which is in habit of diverting attention of its people from the pressing domestic issues by talking about Kashmir and adverse and abusive language against India and its government. These tricks may not work, but it continues to make attempts to do so, as it believes that talk about Kashmir is its lifeline, and something that it can repeat time and again at the international fora.

Why should Pakistan have its responsibility to fulfil, particularly in reference to the polls in Jammu and Kashmir? This question may sound weird., as question may be asked how does Pakistan figure in the Indian elections, and that too with a particular reference to Jammu and Kashmir which only contributes five out of 543 seats to Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.

MS Education Academy

Let’s go back to the Chief Election Commissioner’s March 16 press conference in Delhi wherein he reasoned out why Assembly elections in J&K cannot be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha schedule. While the state assemblies of Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim will have the simultaneous dates for their respective elections, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls could not be clubbed in the same time frame because of the high security concerns. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar did not mince words while stating the singular reason for not holding simultaneous polls in J&K : “ the  administration in once voice told us that they cannot hold the polls because they don’t have adequate security to hold the polls.” That was it and the J&K polls were deferred yet again.

The Indian security apparatus is quite competent to thwart all threats to Jammu and Kashmir whether during elections or after that. The Indian forces have brought down the level of terrorism in Kashmir by 72 percent. Today’s Kashmir is free of physical violence, terrorists cannot impose any restriction on life of the people, nor impact their voting pattern. No one can dare from any quarter to give a call for poll boycott. That era is over. The new realities are very clear that no one can interfere with the normal life and desire of the people.

Pakistan, however, remains a factor. It can, and it is doing also, to start its own narratives on social media and through raising Kashmir issue within its own nation and the international forums. The social media is rogue and it is exploiting some of the most irresponsible speeches of the politicians, targeting India to secure few claps and cheers. The world knows what Pakistan is, and what it does. Its recent elections have come under international scrutiny. There are loud voices from Pakistan-Tehree-e-Insaaf and other parties about the largescale rigging in the February 8 polls. The international community has censured it and the whole election process and the final results.

It is important for Pakistan to roll back all anti-India narrative on social media and stop attempts to intrude into the election process in Jammu and Kashmir through covert or overt means. It is known that it cannot do anything on the physical plane but its appearance in the cyber world is equally dangerous. It should disappear from there for its appearance on the dialogue and friendly ties with India.

Back to top button