Presumed Innocent

How the Indian media sees Nawaz Sharif

01 December 2016
Over the years, the Indian media has tended to focus more on Sharif’s conciliatory statements, and less on his role in the midst of several institutions tussling for power.
reuters
Over the years, the Indian media has tended to focus more on Sharif’s conciliatory statements, and less on his role in the midst of several institutions tussling for power.
reuters

When Nawaz Sharif was elected the prime minister of Pakistan in June 2013, Indian media outlets were largely optimistic about the development, particularly after reports emerged that he had invited the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to his swearing-in. The Hindu said Sharif “had vowed to revive the peace process which was interrupted by the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.” The Indian Express said Sharif “has reached out to India,” while the Hindustan Times said “India has genuine reason to be pleased” by the election’s results.

The perception of camaraderie between the two countries was further boosted after Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, and Sharif accepted Modi’s invitation to attend his swearing-in. NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, who conducted an off-camera interview with Sharif, reported that he said he was keen on removing “fears, misgivings and mistrust.” He insisted that the decisive mandates that both leaders had won freed them “to turn a new page in the history of India and Pakistan.”

Other coverage of Sharif during this time, too, largely struck a favourable note. He was, for instance, reported to have attended Modi’s inauguration at the risk of inviting political attacks. A Frontline report said, “The Pakistani Premier took a couple of days to formally accept the invitation extended by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. There was speculation that he was reportedly under pressure from the country’s powerful security establishment to politely decline the invitation.”

Sonia Trikha Shukla is a strategic affairs analyst and an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi

Keywords: Pakistan media Narendra Modi news Nawaz Sharif Indian media
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