Political temperatures have been running high between India and Pakistan after Indian parliament had decided to abrogate Article 370 in August. Failing to hold his house together, Pakistani PM Imran Khan has also been in a state of melt down since the historical legislative development and has been on an all-out spree to malign Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India. From non-statesman like conduct on international forums to calling Indian leaders names, Imran Khan has evidently been on this desperate rampage, which opposed to benefitting the Pakistani foreign policy efforts has on the contrary again exposed the fractured and extremist nature of Pakistani leadership.
PM Modi on the other hand has let his actions do all the talking; nonetheless he too has been using his wit to pay back Imran Khan in his own coin while maintaining the decorum of high office he holds. Taking a subtle jibe at Pakistani PM Imran Khan, PM Modi during his address at the inauguration of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in Punjab referred to Pakistani PM as ‘Imran Khan Niazi’, certainly irking sensibilities across the border in Pakistan.
PM Modi said, “I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan Niazi, for respecting the sentiments of India. The opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devi Ji has brought us immense happiness,” .
I thank prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan Niazi, for respecting Indian sentiments on Kartarpur Corridor: Indian PM Modi. pic.twitter.com/74oQKNjh3b
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) November 9, 2019
It is important to note that Pakistani PM has kept his last name ‘Niazi’ away from the spotlight, while it is common for political leaders to modify their names, in this case certainly the reasons have to do with Imran Khan’s meek attempts to underplay or dissociate himself with the embarrassing surrender of Pakistani forces after their defeat in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war which led to the disintegration of the country and paved way for the creation of Bangladesh.
Niazi is a hated surname in Pakistan as it reminds the rouge country of its humiliating defeat in the 1971 war at the hands of Indian forces. Lieutenant General Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, who was the then commanding officer of the Pakistan Army, had surrendered his .38 caliber revolver to the then Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora on December 16, 1971.
India took AAK Niazi as prisoner of war and repatriated him to Pakistan in 1975. Upon return, Niazi was demoted to Major-General. He was eventually dismissed from service in July 1975. Prime Minister Imran Khan hails from the same Pashtun tribe as Niazi, however he rarely uses his full name.
However, this is not the first time when India has referred to the Pakistani Prime Minister as ‘Imran Khan Niazi’. Earlier when India had exercised its right to reply after the vacuous speech of Pakistani PM at the UNGA earlier this year, Vidisha Maitra, First Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, had called him ‘Imran Khan Niazi’, ultimately exposing his links with the Niazi sect.
She had said, “Pogroms, Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi, are not a phenomenon of today’s vibrant democracies. We would request you to refresh your rather sketchy understanding of history. Do not forget the gruesome genocide perpetrated by Pakistan against its own people in 1971 and the role played by Lt. Gen A A K Niazi. A sordid fact that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh reminded this Assembly about earlier this afternoon.”
Even in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), Imran Khan has had to face embarrassment recently when he was welcomed with ‘Go Niazi, Go Back’ slogans during a visit to Muzaffarabad in PoK in a bid to gather steam for support on Kashmir after India abrogated Article 370.