How Pakistan views Indian elections By Qamar Cheema

There are two traditional assumptions about Indian elections and there is one non traditional approach to Indian elections. First traditional approach is that in case Congress Party wins this election there are chances comprehensive dialogue may start between both states. Comprehensive Dialogue was started by BJP when Foreign Minister Susma Siraj visited Pakistan in Nawaz Sharif’s tenure. Congress is progressive but weak party even if they get legitimacy from public and wins elections. BJP targets Congress for being soft and for holding talks with Pakistan on all outstanding issues including Kashmir.
Second traditional approach is that BJP should win although it is powerful right wing hyper nationalist party. But it has capacity to engage in dialogue with Pakistan which congress can not do but only BJP can kick start as it will have fresh mandate. It has been year almost Imran khan,s government is waiting that a fresh mandate which in shape of BJP if comes it can start dialogue with Pakistan. Some quarters considered it surprise that why Imran khan is interested PM Modi to get re-elected because he believes BJP will be empowered to take decisions which Congress may not be.
Third Non Traditional approach is that if BJP wins Pakistan can exploit this opportunity and can expose illiberal and majoritarian India under Modi if peace process does not start although chances for which are very limited. Hawks in India have shrinked space for coexistence and BJP is willing to change secular constitution of India by changing laws in Indian Occupied Kashmir ( IOK). Congress and Kashmiris in IOK has shown concerns that article 370 and 35 which determine autonyms status of Kashmir and allow Jammu and Kashmir state legislature to define permanent resident in Indian constitution if it is altered it can break social contract of India and Kashmiris are also very concerned about that. Chances for talks will be minimum so domestic fault lines should be exposed in India for international and domestic audience. Fault lines like marginalization of minorities , lynching of Muslims by cow vigilantes which is an instrument of political mobilization by BJP of its voters and supporters.

In 2014 when PM Modi came to power corridors he had to listen to rightwing RSS as he remained part of it and because of being former ultra right wing member of that he decided not to initiate peace process with Pakistan to keep RSS and right wing elements happy. Now he himself has securitized regional environment that people forgot what is his performance in last five years but they are in his trap of “CHOKIDAR”. This is his campaign slogan which means ” People’s Watchman ” which he is using to contest elections. After Pulwama incident he dared to order surgical strike in Pakistan which turned out to be embarrassment and regional and international level for India when their two planes were downed and pilot was captured by Pakistan.

Muslims in India are facing inflammatory rhetoric who are 15% of 1.3 billion population. Amit Shah, President of BJP was vocal and hard on Muslims when he said if they got re-elected they will remove infiltrators form country except Christians Sikhs and Buddh as
There are chances he will continue his policy of jingoism and will keep using its policy of law fare. Possible actions in this policy could be trying Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, using terrorism as weapon of tool in destabilizing Pakistan and sending people like Commander Kulbhushan Jhadv and increasing armed oppression against Kashmiris. Pakistan needs to exploit this chance and make case that India is no more secular country and law abiding country and its violating UN Charter. What congress leader Shahsi Tharoor said that 2019 election is a “battle for soul of India”. Even Indians are calling that idea of India is under challenge which means the values India projected are under threat because if idea of India changes it can shake the constitution.
But with rising rightwing tendencies globally and emergence of maximum leader in world how come it is possible world will buy this theory of Pakistan. Answer to this is that for more global awareness continuous and maximum efforts should not stop. Napoleon Bonaparte said never interrupt your enemy when he is making mistake. India is making mistake of tarnishing its values which will tear apart its very fabric which it wove seven decades ago. Modi and BJP are making mistake just for their petty goals and squeezing space for marginalized sections. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections only 22 Muslims were member of parliament in house of 545. A country with 900 million voters only voted for 22 Muslim parliamentarians is something to ponder upon for Muslims.

Muslims in India are facing inflammatory rhetoric who are 15% of 1.3 billion population. Amit Shah ,President of BJP was vocal and hard on Muslims when he said if they got re-elected they will remove infiltrators form country except Christians Sikhs and Buddhas . Hindu nationalist constructed Muslims as other group so that their own “in group” could be established. For two reasons they did this, one was for asserting essential religious cultural elements of Hindus because Indian Muslims did not share with them and second was to blame Muslims for distortion and pollution of religious-cultural traditions

Modi,s “Chokidar” is selling point and top issue where as rhetoric of Congress was on poor performance of Modi . Indian media which is conservative and provocative has been helpful to Modi and his party in selling his Chokidar campaign. This is such a powerful slogan that it has forced even progressive congress to follow the bandwagon. Debate has started that who did surgical strike first either Modi or Congress. If u will listen military Generals in India they are saying we all have done surgical strikes in past but first time at PM level it has been politicized and using it for domestic political discourse and emerged as vote winning slogan.
Pakistan wants peace to come in South Asia and for this India needs to change this attitude that is how these elections will be productive for region and minorities in India.

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