Mian Nawaz Sharif is all set to be the prime minister of Pakistan and can be termed as the cliché` history repeats itself. Almost 14 years ago he was elected in the same light and with a vision to change the demographic fabric of Pakistan but destiny seems otherwise for the steel magnate turned politician. He was severely betrayed by his own Army General Pervez Musharraf whom he relied heart and soul and was selected in person by Nawaz Sharif amongst other rank and file of the Army commandment.
The Kargil fiasco under his leadership (till date he vehemently denies his hand in Kargil conflict and tells us “Honestly” that he was kept in dark by his closest confidant General Pervez Musharraf.) turned out to be a nail in the coffin for his government and he was overthrown mercilessly and had to take exile in Saudi Arabia through a mutual agreement with Musharraf. The Man is back with a vengeance and a lot more learned than before. His stay in exile and deep observation of the political demarche has lead to his comeback in the just concluded elections.
Once Bitten Twive Shy
Should the Indian government fall in line with the election rhetoric of Mian Sharif? The answer is a explicit “No”. It is quite early to put our best foot forward and comply with what Nawaz Sharif is telling to the people of Pakistan. Mr Sharif is a shrewd politician and knows what is best for him in the long run. Times have certainly changed since the Kargil skirmish, the world has moved on the economic numbers have shown their biasness towards India; we are a strong nation much ahead of Pakistan in terms of economic and military might. This time the rules of the game shall be dictated by us and the beginning of Lahore diplomacy –track 2 shall be in all composition lead by India. We should not act blatantly and in line of with what Mr Sharif wants us to do, he knows India as he left before exile has become a truly powerful country and can take strong stance if ever he or his Army Generals try to do an act like Kargil.
At the same time, Nawaz Sharif wants to cling on to the economic success of India and his election manifesto is a clear demarcation of his earlier stand (in previous innings he was in much favor of the militia), where he tells his followers that we need to build partnership with our erstwhile neighbor and also Pakistani soil won’t be used to export terrorism to India. Should we readily agree to his stance? Again it is a big “NO”. Empirical shows that almost all the previous PM’s of Pakistan has been parroting these words but nothing substantial has changed. Terrorism is a parallel industry in Pakistan and Pakistan Army (not to forget ISI) holds a substantial political and military clout on the democratic governments.
Doing the balancing act!
Mr Nawaz Sharif has to walk on razor’s edge in order to survive his new found success. The Pakistani electorate has welcomed him with open arms but he has to satiate the political hunger of his coalition like the UPA in India. His party the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) has been limited to Punjab where it won 116 seats viz a viz 148 and this has been the sole reason for his coming to power. He has virtually no presence in Sind, where PPP holds its banner or Khyber Paktunkhwa, area dominated by Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf). He has to satisfy the Mulla’s and radicals of Pakistan when he puts his best foot forward towards India. The Pakistan Taliban is another force to reckon with and containing their demonic designs is another challenge he would have to face.
India-Wait & Watch
Indo-Pakistan relationship has always been edgy and in the line of fire of terror outfits. Mr Sharif can be classified an opportunist and soon we shall be seeing him aligning with the tones of his predecessors as Prime Minister. Most of the times the Pakistan government is termed corrupt and in the mire of deep mess. Pacifying the appetite of radical forces and the coalition he would be heading, it remains quite obvious that the feel good factor for India would be short lived and could well turn out to be an election gimmick. India needs a cautious stand as the last time also good words lead to bad deeds and it is highly likely that Pakistani non-state actors (again the creation of ISI and Pakistani Taliban) would be doing there bit to disturb the calm on Indian border, till then let us all assume that all is well on the other side of the border!