Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has consistently made the case for friendship and dialogue with India, and that attitude has not changed after Narendra Modi’s re-election. On Friday, Prime Minister Khan made yet again another offer of dialogue with India to resolve contentious issues. In a letter to Indian Prime Minister Modi, Imran Khan congratulated him for his victory in the Indian elections, and offered a pathway for negotiation and dialogue on the issues of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, terrorism, to restore peace in the region and to address the problems confronting the people of the two countries. Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed that the Prime Minister had sent a fresh letter to Mr Modi and stated that Islamabad was ready to hold fresh round of talks with New Delhi, if India complied so.

This approach of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s, that of peace and conciliation with India, has been clear even as Pakistan suffered the most hostile relations it ever had with our giant neighbours. Khan’s steadfastness towards peace and negotiation must be admired and credited as a huge factor towards de-escalating the tensions that arose after the Pulwama attack. To remain calm in the face of constant hate-mongering on the part of the Indian establishment and media, and then to emerge victorious out of it on the international stage, is no easy feat and our government’s foreign policy during the incident, and its commitment to peace afterwards, is commend worthy.

Yet this does not mean we should lose practical oversight and misjudge the ground realities that exist. There is a notion that now that the Indian elections are over, Modi will soften his anti-Pakistan rhetoric and take the offer of dialogue that we are extending. Yet evidence and history shows that to hold those expectations would be foolish. Modi’s government has shown time and time again that they are more than willing to snub any peace talks. Just now, in response to Dr Muhammad Faisal stating that India and Pakistan might hold negotiations over Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting, the External Affairs Ministry of India firmly dispelled the notion by announcing that there was no bilateral meeting planned between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India during the summit.

Thus, while ambitions of peace and friendship are noble, in international relations, realism must prevail. While we should always leave the door open for peace, we should not leave our house completely unguarded either.