New Delhi: India and Pakistan commemorate their independence on August 15 and 14, respectively. As a custom, prime ministers of both nations address their countrymen on the occasion and this year was no different with Narendra Modi and Imran Khan gave speeches to mark the day. The speeches by Khan and Modi, however, came with notable differences.
Oddly, most of Khan's close-to 40-minute address on Pakistan's Independence Day was "devoted" to attacking the BJP and the RSS, while Modi did not even mention Pakistan in his speech. The Indian Prime Minister mostly talked of development and of goals of fulfilling aspirations of citizens.
Continuing its rant over Kashmir, Pakistan had observed its Independence Day as “Kashmir Solidarity Day”, expressing unity and harmony with the people of Kashmir and retaliating against what Khan called “illegal aggression by India” in the wake New Delhi's historic move pertaining to the region.
Rattled by India’s recent decision of revoking Article 370 that accorded Jammu and Kashmir with special status, Khan, during his speech in Muzaffarabad, continued to chastise India and said that New Delhi was planning an even bigger operation in occupied-Kashmir.
In the fit of his outburst, the prime minister also indirectly admitted that the Balakot - India's air strike to avenge Pulwama attack - was a major operation that had rattled Pakistan.
Instead of addressing issues such as Pakistan's empty coffers and terrorism on its soil, Khan took out time to attack the BJP and RSS on his country's independence day.
Khan said that the "hateful ideology" of the BJP and the RSS would not remain limited to Kashmir, but eventually spill towards Pakistan, following which they would take such action.
Modi, on the other hand asserted that his second tenure as prime minister will be focused on fulfilling aspirations of every India.
During his 92-minute address, Prime Minister also made a major allocation of Rs 3.5 lakh crore to his government's Jal Jeevan Mission, aimed at providing potable water to every household.
Khan said that the goons of the RSS are lynching people, threatening judges, intellectuals, and deeming anyone who speaks against them as anti-nationals, which is "exactly what the Nazis did.
India is heading towards disaster with extremist ideology". While Khan's own citizens accuse him of jailing opposition leaders and not fulfilling his promise of a 'Naya Pakistan' - the poll plank he used to win elections.
Modi's speech had various touch points, all related to India's development and targeted at realising a 'New India'. He focused on the dream of achieving a five trillion dollar economy, pushed for digital payments and called on people to shun single-use plastic.
Commenting on his government's landmark decision of abrogating Article 370, Modi stressed that "the old arrangement" in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh encouraged corruption, nepotism and there was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities.
The new developments would now bring in a lot of growth and investment in the region, Modi affirmed.
He also urged all countries to come together and support in the fight against terrorism and expose the countries who harbours and export terrorism.