On 25-th December when many were busy in Christmas and others were observing Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Birthday here in Pakistan “a few” were celebrating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday on his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa’s wedding. On the same day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi paid a surprise visit to his Pakistani counterpart. He flew from Kabul and landed at Lahore with his 120 personals team, stayed for a while and flew away. Modi’s visit brought a smile on many faces, but it also disturbed a number of people and parties. Jammat-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen staged protests wherever they managed on short notice and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted, I mean they tweeted a lot on #Modi.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (right) talks to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his visit to Lahore.
Right after his departure, strong jolts of the earthquake were felt throughout the region from Afghanistan to Dehli, and many has related them with Modi’s “evil” nature. Notably, Dr. Moed Pirzada a Pakistani anchor at Dunya TV who tweeted “Narendra Modi let whole of Pakistan dance into a ‘Simple Harmonic Motion’ leading to worst Earthquake; God, this was literally hell!” upon which he was called a moron and an idiot, by some two hundred people out of 445 retweets. Anyways that was not something I wanted to talk about.
I want to talk about, why Modi has visited Pakistan “after threating Pakistan to holding hands with Nawaz” as Dawn calls it. A lot of people are talking about the reasons which compelled Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi to visit Pakistan and many believe he has visited Pakistan because of his deteriorating reputation in India and to give a message to multinational corporations; interested in investing in India or already have invested, that he is not a failure on diplomatic front and India is as safe for investment as any other developed democratic country in the world.
I agree to this, but this is not the only thing for which he has visited Pakistan after threating Pakistan in 2011, and taking a real hard line against it. He has visited because of some more serious issues, which involve the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and Syria in a way. Before reaching Kabul, on Thursday, he was in Russia as Indian Express has reported that, “As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commences a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for the annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, New Delhi is expected to focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.” Terrorism, defence and trade are points of agreement between India and Russia and fields where they are cooperating and will enhance their cooperation in the future. On the other hand cooperation and expected cooperation between Russia and China in combating terrorism in Syria and Trade, has also seen. China has also invested in India and going to invest more. And same is the case with Pakistan. So the trade is common between Russia, China, India and Pakistan.
China is going to invest more than $46 billion In Pakistan according to different media reports. This mega venture involves Kashmir in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and China’s worry isn’t something easily fixable. Pakistan and India has a dispute over Kashmir and Kashmir includes Gilgit-Baltistan, the region which connects Pakistan with China. Despite the demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan could not incorporate it as a province and has granted a semi-provincial level, which is ‘okay’ for administrative purpose but didn’t fix China’s reservations. China’s worry is real and genuine and contestation on Kashmir could cause her serious damages in the future. So to be on the safe side, China wants Pakistan to declare Gilgit Baltistan’s status which is not possible until Pakistan and India reach some consensus.
Here comes the assumption part as we don’t know what is really happening behind the scene. So it is possible that China could have talk to Russia to talk to India or it could have directly talked to India to reach an understanding with Pakistan, as it (China) has talked to Pakistan. Pakistan’s green signal can be seen from two statements of past couple of days, first, “Pakistan Joins Russia, Condemns Any Attempts to Topple Assad in Syria, Pakistan opposes any efforts to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistan’s foreign secretary said on Wednesday.” Second, “Issues are resolved with talks, not war: Pervaiz Rashid, He told China had suggested the same solution for Kashmir dispute which it used for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.”
So Indian Prime Minister Narendra Lal Modi’s Pakistan visit was not just to eat Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s birthday cake or to greet Mehrun Nisa or even rebuild his damaged reputation in his country but it was “supposedly’ also about a step towards some game-changing phenomena. It could also be towards solving or further complicating Kashmir Issue. What it was really about, let’s wait and see.
The writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal