Analysts and political observers in Pakistan have expressed shock at Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the BJP.
The sacking, said some commentators, was an example of “rising intolerance within India” over the issue of Pakistan and its founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
“We have seen the same kind of reaction when Mr Advani commented on Mr Jinnah and now we see it with Mr Singh. It seems that the BJP does not want to hear reason,” said Malik Tariq Ali, a Lahore-based political commentator.
Another analyst, Shamimur Rehman of the respected Daily Dawn newspaper, told HT that this line of thinking of the BJP was worrisome because the party was becoming even more intolerant “even when it comes from one of its own founding members”.
Rehman said he was saddened how Singh was treated and asked if it was a message to others to desist from expressing pro-Pakistan or pro-Jinnah views. He said since the BJP was a stakeholder in the Indian political mainstream, “we in Pakistan cannot write this incident off as the work of a fringe party”.
The media were all praise for the manner in which Singh handled the whole affair. TV channels showed clips of his interview and said he had “acted with grace and with honour”.
Newspapers, too, joined in.
The Daily Times said Jinnah — India, Partition, Independence had given India a positive portrait of Pakistan's founder.
An editorial in The News Daily said “Jinnah has re-emerged in a new light” in Singh’s book. “This is particularly ironic given that Singh's own party... have for the past six or so decades painted Jinnah as India's greatest villain,” it said.
With PTI inputs