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Imran ‘Taliban’ Khan as ‘hero’ was only the next logical step for Indian ‘liberals’

What does it mean when one side refuses to even talk and the other side offers peace and an unconditional release? Forget peace, PM Modi spoke about “scaling up” from the “pilot project”.

You have two options. You can either choose to believe the following sequence of events

(1) Pakistan PM Imran genuinely wants peace (as peddled after he announced the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Vartaman)

(2) Imran has gone and spoken to the Pakistan Army for “peace” with India.

(3) Pakistan Army has been convinced by Imran’s argument and has yielded control of the country to elected PM for the first time in 50 years.

(4) Pakistan Army now wants peace with India.

(5) All these steps (1)-(4) happened in a space of less than 24 hours.

Or you could choose to believe the following:

(1) Pakistan is totally bankrupt and has no money for war (well-documented fact).

(2) Pakistan is sure to lose a conventional war with India (well-documented fact).

(3) Pakistan believed India was about to go to war (Pakistan is under continuous blackout/lockdown for last 48 hours)

(4) Pakistan believed India was about to do a missile strike (Official statement from Pak PM in Senate yesterday)

(5) Pakistan succumbed to the pressure and released our pilot within 24 hours (Well known fact).

Well, if you are somebody who is afflicted with a bad case of Modi derangement syndrome, you will, of course, choose to believe the sequence of foolish and fantastic conjectures and reject the obvious conclusion from well-documented facts.

What does it mean when one side refuses to even talk and the other side offers peace and an unconditional release? Forget peace, PM Modi spoke about “scaling up” from the “pilot project”.

Well, if you are a journalist, like the ones who were badgering our 3 Service Chiefs last evening, you beg them to thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Indian Service Chiefs didn’t even acknowledge Imran ‘Taliban’ Khan.

You see India’s “liberals” had an entire anti-Modi narrative scripted and ready around the unfortunate capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Vartaman. They just assumed that India would be as powerless as it had always been, especially under Manmohan Singh. That India would beg with Pakistan, do “kadi ninda” and get nothing. And that they would taunt Modi for being ‘powerless’.

They were hoping for a Kandahar moment.

They were not prepared for Pakistan capitulating and returning our man within 24 hours. Absolutely unconditionally.

That is why they made so much noise about PM Modi going about his pre-planned schedule: launching the khelo India app, addressing booth workers, etc etc.

They were desperate to see PM Modi rub his nose into the ground and beg with Pakistan. When PM Modi didn’t do that, they tried to paint him as insensitive.

What they didn’t realize is that India has moved beyond projecting “power” through candle marches and Aman ki Asha videos.

Never did it occur to them that PM Modi acting “normal” was the whole message itself. When Imran Khan called, our PM didn’t even pick up the phone. Because he was “busy” launching the Khelo India app.

Way to show Pakistan its place.

The power meanwhile was projected behind the scenes. The Govt issued a single two-minute press briefing on Wednesday demanding that Abhinandan Vartaman is returned. And it worked.

Truth be told, I was stunned too. We have been playing Pakistan with a weak hand for decades. The history was weighing on my mind. I thought this would be an extended negotiation at the very best. I feared the absolute worst for our pilot Abhinandan Vartaman.

I never imagined that Pakistan would fold so soon. Not even full 24 hours between Pakistan announcing the capture and announcing the release.

The new normal is now this: we will bomb terror targets in Pakistan when we want. Not just in PoK, but in actual Pakistan. If Pakistani F-16s come to retaliate, we will shoot them down. Like in any battle, there are chances of accidents happening. If an Indian pilot shoots down a Pakistani plane and then has to eject and land on the other side of the LoC, we don’t need to worry that much. Because Pakistan will hand them back within 24 hours.

India’s hands are now so long that they can reach inside Pakistan and bring back our soldier, Abhinandan Vartaman in a day.

This revelation stunned liberals yesterday who had no option but to line up and become Imran Khan fans.

This brings to a logical conclusion the comedy show of Indian liberalism over the last five years and their desperate hopes to find an alternative hero for the Indian public to look up to.

After Delhi 2015, it was Arvind Kejriwal. After Bihar in Nov 2015, it was Nitish Kumar. After the JNU incident, it was Kanhaiyya Kumar in early 2016. By the Gujarat election, it was “youth leaders” Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani. Then, Rahul Gandhi had a good run as “challenger in chief” until he himself did a hit wicket and ceded the space to Priyanka. Then came Mamata Banerjee.

The spiral had to end somewhere. How fitting that it should end up at the doorstep of Imran Khan, who may or may not be the PM candidate of the Mahagathbandhan now.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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