Why Pak envoy Abdul Basit's remark on Pak voters is significant
Pakistan High Commissioner to India Basit Ali recently said in a programme in Kolkata that voters of his country are no more influenced by anti-India sentiments. The politician's anti-India rhetorics do not determine elections in Pakistan any more. The common voters have understood that the key to Pakistan's success now resides with a good relation between the neighbours, not enmity.
Ali's remark is significant.
The Pakistani high commissioner has pointed at an evolving civil society in his country. The people-to-people contact between the two countries have given birth to new possibilities of hope in an otherwise battered political relation between the neighbours. The change has been seen in fields like sport as well. The Pakistani media has been heard praising the Indian cricket team over their unbeaten form in the ongoing cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been hailed and former Pakistani cricketers have been seen bashing their own country's poor performance from India's soil.
In terms of growth and development also, Pakistani journalists have been seen praising India's rapid advancement and their own country's ordinary pace.
During the 2013 parliamentary election in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif had not fuelled jingoism vis-a-vis India before the polls, something which was a routine once.
Narendra Modi, BJP's prime ministerial candidate too had spoken in favour of a good relation with Pakistan and the two country's joint fight against common enemy like poverty during the pre-poll speeches.
Yes, the nationalist forces in both countries are active (right-wing camp in India and the army and extremist forces in Pakistan) but still the common people of both nations have a faith in peaceful neighbourly relation. This is by no means a small development.
The Pakistani envoy's stress on the youth's viewing the relation between India and Pakistan through lens of peace and normalcy needs to be appreciated as well. The youngsters of both nations are not burdened by the tragic experience of Partition and they appreciate each other's soft powers. While Indian films have a big following in Pakistan, its rich legacy of music is also followed by several in India.
The Partition that had taken place almost 68 years ago was a historic disaster but yet this disaster and the fight over Jammu and Kashmir that had continued since then has not been able to permanently divide the sub-continental psyche. That's where all the hope lies.