Just like the Indian prime minister, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also addressed the citizens of his nation on the Independence Day. However, there was a striking difference between the speeches delivered by both PMs, which was hard to miss.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his Independence Day address on August 15 at Red Fort in Delhi as the nation celebrated its 73rd year of freedom from British rule. The dramatic exit of the British colonisers from India saw a bloody partition birthing a new nation – Pakistan. Since then, Pakistan has been celebrating Independence Day 24 hours before India on August 14.
Khan’s address to Pakistan from the state assembly of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), revolved largely around India, Kashmir, and PM Modi, on the other hand, began his speech on a futuristic note – discussing environment, development, population, and much more. Never did he mention Pakistan, its people or Khan even for once.
PM Modi’s second-longest speech panning 92 minutes was focused mostly around “citizens”, with the word being mentioned 47 times in the address. He spoke of ending water woes, banning single-use plastic, the importance of population control, making India a $5 trillion economy, Article 370 and 35A. He even greeted Afghanistan as the country will be celebrating its 100th Independence Day on August 19. He spoke at length about how he planned to make potable water accessible to all through Jal Jeevan mission, which would see an expense of around Rs 3.5 lakh crore. To promote tourism in India, the PM asked all the citizens to visit at least 15 inland tourist places by 2020.
Terror attacks in neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also mentioned while discussing how terrorism has been plaguing India and the bordering countries. However, once again, Pakistan was left out from this narrative.
Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan, on the other hand, used his Independence Day speech to vent out his resentment against the abrogation of Article 370 in India, which resulted in Jammu and Kashmir losing its special status. He repeatedly spoke of PM Modi and the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh, which is the ideological wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Incidentally, the most frequently-used word in Khan’s speech was “ideology”, which featured 23 times in his speech, mostly while drawing a parallel between the Nazis and the RSS. Instead of talking about the people of Pakistan, Khan only kept talking about the people of Kashmir and their plight and how his nation stands in solidarity with the lost cause of the Kashmiri people.
He even went on to say that India might try to attack PoK next, referring to the two surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army on terror bases in Pakistan.