Qureshi was answering questions put to him by a prominent Pakistani TV channel. Pakistan, ever since Pulwama, has been on overdrive, starting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, to present Pakistan as rooting for peace and India on a warmongering spree. The capture and “unconditional release” of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman took that narrative forward, culminating with a motion submitted in the Pakistan Parliament Friday, asking for the Nobel Peace Prize for Imran Khan!

There is no such clamour for the Nobel for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India. On the contrary, if such a proposal is even mooted, there will be close to a civil war-like situation erupting in television studios in New Delhi and Mumbai not to speak of in Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, Kolkata. The contrast can been seen in the fact that all of Pakistan will demand that Imran Khan getting the Nobel Peace Prize, but India will stand divided seeking the same for Narendra Modi. In fact, Indians opposing such a honour coming Modi’s way may actually vote for the Nobel for Imran Khan!

Among them, of course, will be Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose friendship for Imran Khan is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the ocean. Imran Khan’s “goodwill peace gesture” has only thickened Sidhu’s friendship with Imran. Among other Congress leaders who have expressed admiration for Imran Khan and Sidhu is former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. “#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan – Thanks to genuine efforts of @sherryontop and the goodwill gesture from @ImranKhan PTI. Yes, courage is contagious and I hope peace will ensue on both sides of the border” Chandy tweeted.

Pakistanis are having a field day picking up such tweets and retweeting them to stress home the point that Pakistan is all for de-escalation and peace while India is painting itself into a corner by not giving any signs of de-escalation. Psephologist and Swaraj Party leader Yogendra Yadav telling the India Today Conclave Friday that general elections is not a “horse race” but about the “very future of this country” is reverberating across Pakistan. Yadav says if the “elections are fought on fundamentals, BJP will lose almost 100 seats.” The former AAP leader said that this was one of the most “brazen attempts to use war, use national security to win an election.”

That was probably what Shah Mehmood Qureshi was alluding to when he said that India will not come to the negotiating table for the next “40 days” at least even if the Russian and the Chinese offer mediation and a platform to hold talks. Politics is playing out on both sides of the border and Pakistan, left with very few friends, is hoping against hope that driving the narrative that Prime Minister Imran Khan is all for peace will not only win it friends but also Imran Khan the Nobel Peace Prize.

If Modi is aiming to win a domestic electoral victory, Imran Khan is looking for acceptance on the global stage. Both have their own compulsions. Leo Tolstoy, if he were to write War and Peace all over again, in the subcontinent’s context at these "interesting times", would probably go round in circles, not sure from where to begin and where to end. And romance wouldn’t even find a chapter, not with no love lost, or to be found, between India and Pakistan. And if he had to fall on Bollywood to find content – plot and drama – he would most likely end making a blockbuster ‘Tiger Abhi Zinda Hai.’ War and peace is the subcontinent’s lot and no Nobel Peace Prize is going to bring peace to this neck of the planet, not for a long, long time. (IPA Service)