Islamabad, May 19:
There were kudos aplenty in Pakistan Wednesday for Indiaâ€™s Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her decision not to become prime minister with papers leading with the story and experts comparing her to Mahatma Gandhi. Most commentators eulogised Gandhiâ€™s decision saying it would go a long way in strengthening the political system in India. â€œBy doing so she has attained the status of Mother India and has strengthened the political system,â€ said Hamid Rafiq, a political science professor. He said after BJPâ€™s statement that they would boycott her oath-taking ceremony, there were suspicions that the former ruling party may create hurdles in the smooth functioning of the government because of Gandhiâ€™s foreign origin. â€œShe needs a big salute from the Indian people in particular and the world in general that she has done a great job towards democracy,â€ said Rafiq.
Political commentator Islam Ansari said her decision had made her a stateswoman. â€œI believe she has reached the status of Mahatma Gandhi by doing so,â€ said Ansari, adding that after this no one could stop her son Rahul Gandhi from becoming a prime minister in the next elections after five years. When asked if the decision would affect the ongoing peace process with Pakistan, foreign office spokesman Masood Khan briefly said: â€œLetâ€™s not hope so.â€ He, however, refused to comment on the situation saying it was Indianâ€™s internal matter.The Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt in its top story said Gandhiâ€™s decision was in the right direction and history would remember her for her service to the people of India.
â€œHer decision comes as a surprise just as her partyâ€™s win was a surprise,â€ said the paper.
The largest Urdu daily, Jang, said Gandhiâ€™s decision had not only supported the democratic system but also dented the system of dynastic rule that prevailed in South Asian countries.
â€œThis is not the first time that she has taken such a decision... Her role in politics need to commended,â€ said the paper. â€œSoniaâ€™s decline to accept the prime ministership puts India in crisis,â€ Jangâ€™s top story read. It said Gandhiâ€™s decision would mean that the next Indian government would be weak and may not survive for long. English language newspapers also gave the story top play. â€œSonia shocks Indiaâ€, read The Nationâ€™s lead headline. The Dawn gave the story in seven columns along with Soniaâ€™s picture, quite unusual for the paper that normally follows a traditional layout. The News also carried pictures of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, who are likely to be the Congress choice to head the coalition government.