It was nonetheless a WTF moment.
The moment India’s Air Force One announced its change of flight plan, twitter, Facebook, and every other social media platforms found business. The haters criticized the spontaneous landing, the romantics welcomed it.
While Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan, was celebrating his 66th birthday on the Christmas day, India’s leader Narendra Modi was cutting through the clouds to reach home from Afghanistan. The out-of-the- blue decision to land at Lahore to wish him aligned perfectly well with his ideology to make peace with India’s arch-rival. At least he’s trying, and being ground-breaking.
The two men hugged after Modi arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport on Friday, before making their way to Sharif’s nearby estate.
The Twitter hashtags about the Prime Minister’s impromptu visit to Pakistan started immediately after he declared on social media that he was going to wish Sharif after a visit to Kabul. One of the trending ones was #Xmasmiracle.
Modi’s gesture has found differing points of view. The Congress party, which made no attempt to thaw the relationship during its decade-long rule, says it’s ridiculous, while optimists call it a good move. I say it’s stealth diplomacy, and it’s the modern-day norm.
Modi defied the hardline security hawks. He landed at Lahore, not political hub Islamabad. He diverted from his schedule to wish Sharif, not discuss Kashmir and terrorism. If you look at it from cricketing perspective, it was a ‘reverse pull’ landing over the ropes. The media hoopla could be for lack of better news.
Freethinking and tolerant Pakistanis were glad to see the BJP come to power in Delhi. They believe what Congress failed to do, the Bharatiya Janata Party can accomplish. Narendra Modi is India’s strongest leader since Indira Gandhi. If Narendra Modi can’t dissolve hatred and dislike for each other, who can?
Incidentally, 25th December also happened to be birth days of former Prime Minister Vajpayee, and Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.