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Pakistani fundamentalists thrilled at BJP debacle

May 13, 2004 19:56 IST
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It is not only Indian voters who bundled out the National Democratic Front government who are celebrating the shockwave results of the 14th Lok Sabha elections.

In Pakistan, Muslim groups are reportedly ecstatic over the Bharatiya Janata Party's surprise defeat and have been quick to link the party's debacle to the attacks on Muslims in Gujarat.

"It's a reaction to what the BJP did with Muslims in Gujarat," federal MP Hafiz Hussain Ahmed of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a hardline group, told agencies in Karachi.

"Indian Muslims can now feel more comfortable with [the] Congress in power," Ahmed was quoted as saying. "We hope that Sonia Gandhi, being a woman and head of Congress, will not allow genocide of Muslims in general and Kashmiris in particular."

Ahmed salvaged respect for outgoing prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, describing him as a "hostage to hardline Indian leaders", despite his efforts to initiate peace between India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the head of Pakistan's largest and oldest Muslim party Jamaat-i-Islami, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, appeared to be unshaken by the surprise result. He commented that there was little difference between the BJP and its rival Congress.

"The latter were equally responsible for the killings of thousands of Kashmiris," he said, alluding to the Congress party.

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