The remarkable success of right-wing Indian leader Narendra Modi’s emotionally-charged and overtly-religious election campaign has delighted the common people and the military establishment of Pakistan. After years of tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian archrivals, Islamabad and New Delhi have something to agree on. Politicians, strategists, clerics, journalists and civil society representatives in Pakistan are celebrating the victory of the ultraconservatives in India, and see it as a rare positive development in otherwise worrying conditions.

Religious parties in Pakistan are especially ecstatic. “We are glad there is someone at the helm in India who understands that stoking hatred and fear with fiery speeches and vowing to destroy the enemy while brandishing weapons, and burning flags, effigies and occasionally the homes and shops of religious minorities, is the right approach to dealing with this issue,” a cleric from Lahore said during a press conference last week.

He brushed aside fears that Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart a day after he was sworn in might lead to a resumption of dialogue, which in a worst-case scenario could resolve some problems between the two neighbors. “I agree with my Indian brothers and sisters on that,” he said to a question. “It will have no impact. And even if it does, I assure my Indian friends that we stand united with them to ensure there will no lasting peace.”

“Peace is a Western agenda being imposed on us,” said a university professor with an interest in post-colonial theory and a keen eye on politics in the subcontinent. “We were always united like this before the Europeans colonized us. We were one great culturally-diverse nation that was dealing with religious, linguistic and cultural differences by dividing ourselves into a number of kingdoms and princely states, using our rich resources to resolve mutual issues by fighting and massacring each other as appropriate. This new political development gives us a rare opportunity to go back to our golden past.”

“For decades, the West has been trying to force their idea of peace on us, trying to stop us from our real goal,” a defense analyst explained, “which is, fighting India.” He said war was better than peace because in peace nobody could win. “If we had to live in peace with India, what was the whole point of making this new country? We can’t be a great nation if we do not win, and we cannot win if there is no war.”

But a retired military official and geostrategic analyst said peace had a number of economic benefits for Pakistan. The money spent on an arms race in India, he said, could be diverted to the more noble cause of funding militant groups in Afghanistan, China and central Asia. “If you calculate all the money our country spends on its missile program, its nuclear program, and keeping such a large army, it is huge! Billions of dollars! Why do we need such a large standing army? We can divert some of that money for the welfare the various militant groups that could fight for us in central Asia and Afghanistan, even perhaps in Kashmir eventually. The economic benefits are huge! We can have larger military impact with the same amount of spending.”

And the number of victims of peace in Pakistan is growing. “They keep talking about the benefits of peace, but the media never pays any attention to us who are being made to pay for that peace,” said a woman from south Punjab, whose brother was laid off from a militant group after they were declined funding for new projects in the north. “He is educated, can make small bombs, and has his own weapons, but in this economy, even that doesn’t get you a job.”

Sources in the government say there is hope for this household and many others like it. “Nawaz Sharif wants peace,” an insider said, adding that some of his aides had been pushing him to try to resume peace talks with Delhi. “But you cannot have peace talks until there is a threat of war. And there is no threat of war until there is another terrorist attack in India.”

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

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