Pakistani parliamentarians have cut across party lines to criticise what they said were “hostile” statements made by Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the wake of a cross-border raid by Indian troops against militants in Myanmar.
The criticism by the lawmakers and strongly-worded resolutions adopted on Thursday by the National Assembly and Senate, accusing Indian leaders of trying to destabilise Pakistan at a time when it is fighting a war against terrorism, were prominently covered by the Pakistani media on Friday.
“Unanimous statement: Lawmakers slam Indian vitriol”, said a headline on the front page of The Express Tribune while the report in the influential Dawn newspaper was headlined “Parliament denounces India’s hostile overtures”.
“Pakistani lawmakers passed unanimous resolutions on Thursday against the vitriolic outbursts of Indian politicians over the past week amidst warnings that the recriminations could cast a long shadow on regional peace prospects,” The Express Tribune reported.
The report said politicians in both countries had been “hurling a flurry of allegations back and forth ever since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of spreading terrorism in the neighbouring country”.
The resolution adopted by the Senate or upper house of parliament asked the world community to “take note of the situation, cautioning against any fallout on regional peace prospects, sovereignty and stability”.
The Senate reolution stated: “This house condemns the recent disturbing pattern of provocative and hostile statements from Indian leaders, including threatening strikes against Pakistani territory. Such crude attempts by India at trying to browbeat Pakistan are unacceptable and Pakistan rejects this hegemonic mindset.”
It added, “The Pakistan Armed Forces are fully capable of giving a befitting response to any incursion, and the Pakistani people stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their armed forces.”
The resolution in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament said it “vehemently condemns the irresponsible and hostile statements against Pakistan from the Indian ruling leadership”, adding that such utterances “called into question India’s desire to establish good neighbourly relations with Pakistan”.
The parliamentary response followed strong condemnation of comments by Indian leaders from the military leadership and some key ministers.
The National Assembly claimed Modi’s statements in Bangladesh were “aimed at stoking hatred against Pakistan” there and said, “Indian attempts to sow seeds of discord between the peoples of Pakistan and Bangladesh will not succeed.”
Members of the senators said Pakistan should focus on “dignified moves at the diplomatic level” to expose India and “warned that if India mounted an aggression, it would be eliminated from the world map”, The News daily reported.
In an editorial titled “Spitting venom”, The News said the Indian Army’s cross-border operation into Myanmar to target militants had “contributed to widening the diplomatic fissure between Pakistan and India”.
“Following the operation, a lesser known BJP minister provoked Pakistan by claiming that India would conduct such operations against perceived threats whenever and wherever it deemed fit. The statement went against the fact that the Myanmar government had approved the raid and that India is way behind the US in terms of its ability to conduct war on an international or even regional scale,” the editorial said.
It noted that Modi had “reopened old wounds by boasting about India’s role in the breakup of Pakistan”.
“The reason for escalating the rhetoric on Pakistan is that the right-wing nationalist BJP government is failing to live up to any of its promises with separatist movements in India still beyond the control of the government. Bad mouthing Pakistan is a sure way of remaining in power by drawing on their mistaken nationalism,” the editorial contended.
“The days when the two countries were negotiating relaxed visa regimes and most favoured nation status are over. Things look like they will get worse before they get better. Sanity must prevail,” it said.