Former Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had poured his heart out to praise Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. While calling her the tigress of West Bengal, Basit in an article published in Arab News extended his support to her in the upcoming West Bengal elections.
Basit met Banerjee twice during his tenure
As Pakistan high commissioner to India from March’14 to August’17, Basit visited West Bengal twice. During the first visit, he met Banerjee. Basit said that he was impressed by her ‘modesty’, ‘political sharpness’ and ‘acumen’. He even endorsed Banerjee as a ‘true patriot and stateperson’ for not criticising Prime Minister Modi in front a Pakistani national and diplomat.
Basit believes that Banerjee is possibly the only politician left in India who can put real opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party. He alleged that the Indian Congress party had lost its ground, and it does not seem like the party will ever be able to recover. He said,” prospects for the party [Congress] as whole look rather bleak as it appears to continue facing serious leadership crisis at all levels.”
‘Banerjee conducted herself like a true patriot’ – Basit
During his meeting with Banerjee, Basit tried to have a conversation with her about India-Pakistan relations and how Prime Minister Narendra Modi acted against him for meeting leaders in Jammu and Kashmir. Basit, while hiding his frustration in the article, praised her and said though PM Modi and Banerjee are political rivals, she did not utter a word against him. She also refused to engage with him in discussing India-Pakistan relations. “In short, she conducted herself like a true patriot and statesperson,” Basit added.
Biryani that ‘deeply touched’ Basit
Basit once again praised Banerjee for her warmth. He said he was ‘deeply touched’ by CM Banerjee’s gesture when she sent him Kolkata’s famous mutton biryani to his hotel for dinner. “The biryani was no doubt an unforgettable treat,” he claimed. Towards the end, Basit said he has a bias towards Banerjee for the upcoming elections and ‘hoped’ the people of West Bengal make the ‘right choice’.
Former Pak envoy Abdul Basit
Basit is known for his controversial statements and goof-ups. In the last few years, Basit has made several controversial statements and once, he even confused a porn star with a Kashmiri youth.
One of the most bizarre things Basit had done was confusing a porn star with Kashmiri youth. In September 2019, in haste to peddle anti-India narrative, Basit took to Twitter to re-tweet an image of the adult movie star Johnny Sins claiming he is Yousuf from Anantnag, who has been blinded by a pellet. He was extensively trolled for his actions.
The Kashmir issue, which has been created and nurtured by Pakistan for decades, went out of the hands of Pakistan in August 2019 when Home Minister Amit Shah announce the abrogation of Article 370. At that time, the step taken by the Indian government shook Basit so much that he started to build up a theory that India may ask then US President Trump to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
Then Basit was also caught admitting he has used influential Indian writers to propagate Pakistan’s agenda. In an interview with Pakistani blogger Farhan Virk, Basit claimed that he had used Indian authors who were anti-establishment to propagate Pakistan’s Kashmir stand. Claiming he influenced Shobha De to write an article on Kashmir, he said, “One of the challenges I had faced was how to find a journalist who we can convince to write a good article on behalf of us, advocating a referendum in Kashmir. Then I found a lady, Shobha De…”
Notably, Shobha De had written an op-ed for Times of India titled “Burhan Wani is dead, but he’ll live on till we find out what Kashmir really wants”. She wrote, “Let’s see if the present government has the guts to go ahead with a referendum to resolve the Kashmir crisis once and for all. Let’s end the lingering pain in the region and allow Kashmiris to live in peace, with the dignity and harmony they are entitled to.”