India-Pakistan tensions turns into publicity stunt for Imran Khan

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As the world keeps analysing and investigating if there is any proxy war being sparked off after the Pulwana suicide attack as Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has earned himself a brownie point by saying ‘no’ to the call of Nobel peace prize for him.

The air force strike at ground zero does not seem to have benefitted either India, Pakistan or Jammu and Kashmir. Hence, the needle started to point at Indian Prime Mister, Narendra Damodardas Modi. The turning down for the proposal for Nobel Peace Prize by Imran Khan after his ‘peace gesture’ by sending back the Prisoner of War (PoW) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan on February 27 after his MiG-21 crashed inside Pakistani territory, has earned him accolades from around the world.

According to Pakistan Prime Minister, countries were ruined because of miscalculation and alleged that there was a ‘war hysteria’ in India, hence calling it a “peace gesture”. Khan told a joint session of the Pakistan National Assembly that the India-Pakistan situation should not “get out of hand” or otherwise Islamabad “will have to retaliate”.

Now that the Wing Commander is back home, Khan while addressing calls by his countrymen on social media and in his government to award him a Nobel Peace Prize for “de-escalating” tensions with India said that he is not worthy of the honour. He even named that any person worthy of this would be the one who solves the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people and paves the way for peace and human development in the subcontinent.

It may be mentioned that, soon after the Indian pilot was handed over to the Indian authorities, the hashtag “#NobelPeacePrizeForImranKhan” started trending in Pakistan on Twitter. Until March 3, 2019, over 300,000 people had signed online petitions seeking the Nobel for Khan.

A resolution was also submitted in the country’s National Assembly Secretariat last week for the same. The motion stated that Khan played a: sagacious role in reducing tension between Pakistan and India which was created due to warmongering attitude of the Indian leadership.

Of course, such noble gesture of Khan is commendable, the appreciations he earned this time is much better than the one in 1992, when Khan led a sinking Pakistan side to a spectacular victory in the Cricket World Cup. And this year, 2019, he led his country to victory in the perception of war and won moral high ground internationally from the rock bottom for his goodwill gesture of peace and deciding to release Abhinandan Varthaman.

Imran Khan’s message to the world is clear- he does not need a war, nor does the Pakistan people want a war, and he is smart enough to appeal for dialogue and peace instead of war. Such true sportsman spirit of a great player, which he was, is indeed an extraordinary statesmanship, which is rare as World Leader.

The point to ponder is that, to win a war one need not use the arms and ammunition. At times, such peace gesture, which has more to do with maintaining the protocols Geneva conventions of 12 August 1949, displayed by Imran Khan, did not only de-escalate tension at the most crucial hours between India and Pakistan, but he received the best publicity stunt worldwide.