There is little doubt that PM Imran Khan’s unexpected but timely announcement regarding the release of the captured Indian air force pilot was instrumental in deescalating the latest, full-blown and nerve-wracking standoff between the sub-continental neighbours. Left to their own ‘devices’, particularly of the mushroom cloud-creating variation, the two are quite capable of blowing each other to Kingdom Come, but world diplomats, better aware of the terrifying global consequences of nuclear confrontation, always need to step in and prevent the lasting environmental catastrophe, new ice age, crop failures and worldwide starvation begotten by crazy use of well stocked nuclear arsenals. The immediate danger of full scale war had barely subsided when much relieved social media voices online (reportedly over three hundred thousand at last count), probably releasing unbearable tension of the jittery standoff, began clamouring for a Nobel Peace Prize for the PM, a suggestion that appeared far-fetched and preposterous even at first sight. On the ‘ground’, a strident campaign was spearheaded by federal information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, and a resolution to this effect duly deposited with the Secretariat of the adjourned National Assembly.
Meantime, the PM has sensibly himself tweeted of his unworthiness for the coveted award emphasising that the honour should fall in the lap of one who resolves the Kashmir dispute according to the inhabitant’s wishes and promotes peace and human development in the sub-continent. This would no doubt deflate even the most dedicated ‘yes-men’ and ‘nodders’, but the whole episode has again highlighted unsavoury aspects of our political culture, those of unthinking, outlandish ‘Big Mouth’ statements having no connection with reality, and of trying to out-do each other in servility to the party leader. The information minister’s portfolio was recently in jeopardy over the new MD, PTV’s appointment, and this might be his true catalyst and motive. But despite including undeserving recipients, such as Kofi Annan (2001) and Barack Obama (2009), the Peace Prize was actually intended for those who ‘have done the most or best for fraternity between nations, for abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for holding and promotion of peace congresses’. Without slighting Imran Khan’s opportune intervention in defusing recent tensions, that is rather a tall order.