I am amused by the elections on the sub continent. Despite some cynicism it is perhaps the fairest yet not the best way to appoint a leader. It is a joke repeated ever so frequently that the public see it as yet another fair. This time round, or third time round, it is Mr Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan. Punjabis now have a reason to celebrate with two Prime Ministers in the sub continent … alas with a region of conflict all around them.
Didn’t Musharaff come to save Pakistan? Wonder what happened for now he is in jail with the tables turned on him. Did he not know that Sharif calls the shots and has the judiciary in his pocket in Punjab?
Sharif has been PM before till ousted and jailed by General Musharaff who took over after a bloodless coup. Becoming an executive head in Pakistan comes with a price on the it, literally. None knows this better than Mr Sharif. The bloody history of Pakistan is littered with executions, arrests and counter arrests.
Some argue that Nawaz Sharif being an industrialist dons a slightly different cap, alas in Pakistan there are too many caps to don. I believe the capitalistic side of him will definitely see some economic progress and infra structure development. Anything good for the Pakistani people must be good for the sub continent, at least we hope so.
He has too many challenges from getting reforms favourable to the IMF to security issues. Unlike many countries Pakistan’s dealings with the power blocks and neighbours directly affect the people. The US drone attacks, Af-Pak policies, support for Taliban, nurturing terrorist outfits and the war on terror affect the life of ordinary Pakistanis. Moving towards democracy is definitely a welcome step. It can also be illusive … only a means to power. The people really have no say in foreign relations.
In his previous term, between 1990 and 1993 Sharif was in a tussle with the judiciary and the army. The Pakistan Muslim League of which he is the leader was in a majority when it could bring in the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution which stripped the President of powers to dissolve the National Assembly. This appeared to be a move in the right direction, but didn’t alter anything as military coups were still a norm. Military in Pakistan generally steps in when the ruling majority has reached intolerable levels of corruption, so they like to believe.
Hopefully he doesn’t have to bother too much now with the Army fading away (or are they still lurking around).
We definitely are getting a very seasoned Sharif this time and hopefully he has learnt from his mistakes, if he ever made any in a Pakistani context!
The world keenly watches elections in Pakistan. Actually an event of greater importance is the succession of the Chief of Army Staff. The current General Kayani was the former boss of the ISI. This is an appointment that is of greater importance to the US interests in Pakistan. Events in Pakistan are not really a one shop stop and multi lateral relationships are forged to get things done. Nawaz Sharif with his influence in the Punjab will be a great choice.
I am sceptical about the peace process with India. He was very much in the lead when Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests, the run up to the Kargil war and the talks there after. Pakistani leaders can get into doublespeak when it comes to India. It seems to be a chronic habit with them despite being suave characters enjoying cricket matches, poems and developing people to people relations.
The problem is that while the youth and newer generations care little about a conflict with India, it is the older generation such as that of Nawaz Sharif that still carry the idea.
Will he encourage the talks with the Afghan groups at Qatar?
The sad part is that conflict remains and soldiers die.
What do you think?
Leave a comment … opinions matter and the more the better to make the world a peaceful place.