Advani resignation sparks intense debate in Pak media

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, June 9:

Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani’s resignation as party president has sparked off a guessing game in the Pakistan media over his motives, with some saying that it was meant to widen his support base. Most Pakistani newspapers today carried editorials trying to decode Advani’s laudatory comments on Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his weeklong visit to the country and his subsequent resignation. In an editorial headlined “Advani’s new clothes”, The News said: “His remarks have certainly given him a new look among the Pakistani people, who otherwise would reject him as a hardcore radical with nothing good to contribute to peace.” It interpreted Advani’s statement calling the Pakistan founder “secular” as part of his drive to create new constituencies to serve his prime ministerial ambitions. “Advani, shrewd and astute as he is, appears to be more responsive to the emerging environment in the region and also to the public mood in India that is supportive of peace and coexistence with Pakistan.”

The Daily Times, in its editorial entitled “Mr Advani’s masterful hand”, saw in Advani’s remarks his desire to acquire an Atal Behari Vajpayee-like liberal appeal as a potential prime minister-in-waiting. “It now appears from Advani’s statements in Pakistan that he is trying to acquire the same image and stature as Vajpayee. So he has started by placating Pakistanis on some of the more emotive issues,” it said. Calling it a “masterstroke”, the editorial posed the all-important question: “Will the BJP wag its Parivar tail or will the tail, the Parivar that is, wag the BJP?” In an editorial, The Dawn saw in Advani’s remarks a provocation for a radical reappraisal of religion-based politics in the subcontinent. The controversy “managed to bring into sharp focus the dilemma of religio-political parties in today’s rapidly globalising, and inevitably secularising, world.”