Nawaz Sharif needs to Review Pakistan’s India Policy

Dr Shahid Qureshi 

Asif Zardari ruled Pakistan for five years with the support of Indophile political parties – ANP and MQM. The constituency of the Benazir’s PPP would not have done that. During her father’s popular rule from 1972 to 1977, ANP was allowed to rule two important provinces – NWFP and Baluchistan. This was the first time that ANP became a ruling party; until then it was considered pro-India unworthy of being trusted with state power. But the provincial governments defied the centre and were dismissed. That started a civil war of sorts in which India and the USA took the side of rebels thus confirming suspicions that the ANP continued to have links with its erstwhile Indian friends. The rebellion was crushed with a combination of force and politics. The rebels came into the political fold and the past as forgotten. That was until the invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. The American CIA restated the rebellion in Baluchistan as a part of its plan against Af-Pak. 

The MQM came into being during the rule of General Zia as a political instrument to be used against the PPP led by Benazir Bhutto. It was given a free hand to gerrymander the city of Karachi which it has used to control the city of Karachi and Hyderabad ever since. It was not content with that; it built contacts with the CIA, RAW and MI5. Realising its power and its international contacts Benazir entered into a coalition with MQM after it won the elections in 1989. On the instructions of its handlers it withdrew from the coalition bringing down the Benazir Government. Mian Nawaz Sharif who became the Prime Minister next also entered into a coalition with the MQM and was blackmailed and eventually betrayed. In the second Benazir Administration, the MQM was faced with the full force of law and its leaders – Altaf Hussain –fled to the UK from where he still controls this outlaw organisation. 

In 1999, a coup d’état brought an MQM supporting General Musharraf to power. His Finance/Prime Minister– Shaukat Aziz – was also a Mohajir. The MQM ruled the country for nine years from 1999 to 2008. With the return of Benazir from exile in2007, it was hoped that the MQM control over the reins of power would end. But she was assassinated in 2007 and her widower, Asif Zardari, who became the PPP Chairman and President of the country, cared less for his constituency and was more afraid of the MQM, resulting in the MQM dominating policy for another five years. Now the electorate has punished the PPP for ignoring the aspirations of its constituency and following the diktat of his foreign patrons and the blackmailers of Karachi. But this leaves a hard legacy for Mian Nawaz Sharif who has a different constituency to satisfy which is alert and is much more suspicious of India.

The elections of 2013 have produced very decisive results. Two of the three ruling parties – PPP and ANP – have been almost eliminated from three provinces of Pakistan. But the PPP and the MQM continue to hold sway in interior Sindh and the city of Karachi respectively. The MQM had to resort to massive rigging and manipulation and yet win fewer seats. It has come to light that it is not the love of Altaf Hussain but the fear the MQM that has been delivering victory to that party. That fear is dissipating thanks to the rise of Imran Khan’s TIP. Including the MQM in the ruling coalition in Sindh or the federal government is no longer a political necessity. If the new Prime Minister stuck to his wish of avoiding a coalition administration, he would be able to resist internal as well as external pressures. 

But Nawaz Sharif should be careful when talking to the media in English language. Expression of one sided love for peace and for India would damage his credentials. As Prime Minister he leads 180 million Pakistanis and strong armed forces who will stand behind him in his ‘Recovery and Reconstruction plans’. The Indian sweat talking and meaningless time wasting talks did not get Pakistan anywhere in the past and serve no useful purpose now. India is good at softening targets with Bollywood bombers and its highly professional electronic media which builds credible narrative on the foundation of complete lies. Death of Indian terrorist Serbjit Singh in a Pakistani prison, and brutal killing of a Pakistani prisoner in Jammu Kashmir Indian jail raise question about the peaceful intentions of India. The Indian establishment is under tight and permanent control of a small minority with anti-Pakistan bias. Its policy in Bangladesh shows that it does not spare even its puppets; it uses them even more blatantly to tighten its hold. The on-going Indian state terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and its going ahead with building nearly 150 dams in Jammu and Kashmir is much more eloquent testimony of India’s real plans – not the song and dance of Aman ki Aasha. Acquiescence to India’s never ending negotiations is a betrayal of 100,000 who died in the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir.

Pakistan has a new but seasoned prime minister with a new team. He is expected to give top priority to the economy of Pakistan as he is fully aware how the economy of Pakistan especially the Punjab as ravaged by five years long load shedding. Many believe that was not incompetence; it was it was a part of the plan by the previous India friendly regime in Pakistan. India’s political pundits have said openly from time to time that Pakistan cannot be beaten on the battlefield; but it is vulnerable to India’s water bomb. President Zardari ‘India friendly government’ and ‘anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan’ have damaged Pakistan much more than any overt war. . While Pakistan does and must want peace with India that objective cannot be achieved by Bollywood overtures. Nawaz Sharif will need to review the harmful and anti-state policies of General Mushraff which Zardari regime continued. 

Nawaz Sharif was generous with the corrupt Zaradri regime which led Pakistan into darkness in the literal sense. Pakistan need to have peaceful relationship with its all neighbours especially Iran in the context of Baluchistan ‘great game’ and all weather friends including Saudi Arabia, UAE and other gulf states which employ Pakistan’s labour.