IN Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the BJP has found an unlikely — and unwanted — ‘star campaigner’. Not long ago, when Imran said that talks with India were possible only after the new government took charge, he was obviously not foreseeing a second term for the saffron party. Now, he is singing a different tune. He apparently believes that there may be a better chance of peace and settlement of the Kashmir issue if the ruling party wins the General Election — as if the Pulwama and Balakot incidents never happened. His left-handed compliment has given fresh fodder to the Congress and other Opposition parties to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After all, the PM has been saying that Pakistan (and militants) does not want the BJP to win.
The timing of Imran’s remarks is of vital importance. Coming ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, his words reek of mischief. In the guise of extending the olive branch, he is out to blunt the BJP’s anti-Pakistan rant and cause confusion in the minds of Indian voters. Clearly, it is none of Pakistan PM’s business to do crystal-gazing when it comes to the neighbouring country’s elections.
In any case, Imran’s recent statements and moves do not inspire confidence. He has repeatedly failed to convince the Indian government and the public at large that the Kartarpur corridor will not be misused for the radicalisation of devotees or for other nefarious designs. He has been talking about peace and communal harmony on the one hand and showing a soft spot for Khalistan sympathisers on the other. The purported crackdown on militant outfits after the Pulwama terror attack has also come a cropper, even as the perfunctory probe has not managed to nail the usual suspects. Rising above affiliations, our political parties and voters should see through Imran’s disruptive tactics and not let him provoke us, especially at this critical juncture when the country is deciding who will be its ruler for the next five years.