Years of democracy brought dividends to India: Pakistani media

May 18th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Islamabad, May 18 (IANS) Years of democracy have brought dividends to India, something Pakistan too can learn from, an editorial in a leading English daily said Wednesday on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) decisive victory in the Indian general elections.
The editorial, as also a leader in another English daily, sounded upbeat on improved India-Pakistan ties in the wake of the election results.

“There are lessons to be drawn too from the conduct of the polls, which took place with minimal violence, and from the graciousness with which bitter rivals acknowledged victory and defeat,” The News said in an editorial headlined “A decisive vote”.

“The years of democracy have brought dividends to India. This too is something that we can learn from as Pakistan moves into what we hope will be a long era of democratic rule,” the editorial added.

According to The News: “The maturity that comes with uninterrupted democracy has triumphed and there has been no fallback on the politics of dynasty which are so much a feature of South Asian politics.”

Noting that India’s 714 million electorate “has spoken, and with rather unexpected decisiveness”, the editorial added: “Caste-based and regional parties have had no successes.”

As for India-Pakistan relations, The News said that “free of the stresses and demands that election brings”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “will no doubt return to the matter with new energy” after the sub-continental peace process was derailed by the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

At the same time, Pakistan needed “to get its priorities clear”, noting that though President Asif Ali Zardari has spoken of a desire for closer ties with India, he “must realize that good intentions need to be coupled with careful ground laying and discussion, both at home and with the leadership in New Delhi”.

According to Daily Times, the electoral verdict had “set to rest” the rhetoric against the tactic of appointing a “non-political” prime minister.

Manmohan Singh had proved that “manipulating the economic levers of the country wisely too can affect the attitude of the voters, most of whom are poor”.

“For the poor, who form the majority among those who feel moved to go out and vote, foreign policy and global strategic issues don’t really matter. Nor do the problems of national security and terrorism.

“They respond to subsidy and remission of taxes. Mr Singh as the economist has won because he has quietly given relief worth at least Rs.700 billion to the poor at a time when the Indian economy, wrenched out of the Nehruvian model by him in 1991, could afford it,” Daily Times maintained.

It also noted that Manmohan Singh had “taken a moderate tone” on Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai mayhem, while being “tough” on the question of punishing its perpetrators.

“While post-election India will be in a better mood to pay heed to the international efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan - to begin with, lessen Indian military presence on the border - Pakistan may find itself challenged by Mr. Singh’s insistence that Pakistan punish the Mumbai attack culprits.”

“India will probably be willing to sign trade deals, but anything that Pakistan wants from India will be put on the back burner till Pakistan delivers on the jihadis, in addition to the Taliban,” Daily Times maintained.

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