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‘I am not worthy of Nobel Peace’: Imran Khan gives yet another diplomatic master stroke


New Delhi, March 4: Aggression always comes up with another side to the story in hand and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is making full use of the opportunity that the escalation on the borders in February created.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

The leader recently decided to release the Indian fighter jet pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who was caught by the Pakistani forces after his aircraft crashed on the other side of the Line of Control during an air engagement between the two neighbours.

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It was seen to be a diplomatic master stroke as it cooled down the tampers and there was a cry in the wake of the pilot's release to honour PM Khan with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Soon after Varthaman's release on Friday, March 1, the hashtag "#NobelPeacePrizeForImranKhan" started trending on Twitter and by Sunday, March 3, over 3 lakh people had signed online petitions calling for awarding Khan with the global honour.

A shrewd Khan brought Kashmir to central focus when taking about Nobel

For Khan, this was another opportunity to make the most of it. On Monday, March 4, he took to Twitter to show his modest face saying he is "not worthy" of the Nobel and the person "worthy of this would be the one who solves the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people".

The 66-year-old leader simply played another master-stroke by bringing the Kashmir issue back into the central focus without any aggressive tone but from a softer angle featuring a self-determining right for the state's people.

For the Indian side, this would seem indigestible. New Delhi has used all platforms, bilateral or global, to corner Islamabad on the question of cross-border terrorism. The current administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been more stern in its stand vis-à-vis Pakistan. But yet, there are calls to give Khan the Nobel Peace Prize.

Call for Nobel Peace for the leader of a country which is known for backing border intrusion and terror

Whether the cricketer-turned-politician gets the Nobel is for time to tell but that there is already an uproar to confer him the award doesn't make it assuring for India which is now trying to make its Kashmir policy more aggressive and intolerant.

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If Khan wrests this opportunity by means of playing to the gallery to show his pro-peace face even after Pakistan's audacious moves in Kargil in 1999 and Mumbai in 2008, India will have all the reason to feel disappointed.

Afterall, it's the Indian leadership which has played a soft role on the question of Kashmir politically and militarily all these years and observed restraint even when provocations from the Pakistani side have reached high levels.

The call for Nobel for Khan also helps him overcome domestic challenges like economic vulnerability and the political opposition. By expressing his 'lack of worth' for the Nobel prize, Khan shrewdly diverts attention to his favour and the statesmanship he is busy showing on Kashmir in response to India's angry moves.

Khan's project of image-building has been highly benefited from the recent developments and he and his party will continue to make hay as long as the mood of nationalism lasts.

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