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Nawaz Sharif and Indo-Pak relations: Trust but verify
Even if Navaz Sharif, defying all odds, opens a friendly dialogue with India, be rest assured that Pakistani Army with the help of jehadi groups will launch Mumbai type of terror attack against India destabilizing any ongoing talks between India and Pakistan. Pakistani judiciary whom Nawaz had annoyed earlier is another stumbling block for him.

Pakistan has really created history. For the first time in the 65-year-old life span of Pakistan a democratic Government has finished its full five-year term and on 11 May 2013 the new Government has been elected with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz getting the majority. Pakistan’s most experienced politician of the day, Mian Nawaz Sharif will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time. Nawaz Sharif having promised good relations with India during his recent election rallies, India has lot of expectations from him. The big question is will this happen?

The biggest hurdle to good Indo-Pak relations has been Pakistani Army and its Intelligence agency ISI. These two have been fully assisted in this game plan by the jehadi organizations namely Lashkar -e-Toiba, Afghan Taliban and Jaish Mohammad, the so called non-state actors fully sponsored by the Pakistani Army and ISI.

It was the Pakistani Army under the leadership of General Parvez Mushrraf who had staged a coup against Nawaz Sharif immediately after Pakistani Army’s botched operations in Kargil in 1999. Nawaz Sharif was jailed and could have been hanged, as was done by Army to Bhutto, on trumped up charges but for Saudi Arabia who intervened on behalf of Navaz Sharif. Navaz Sharif was then exiled to Saudi Arabia. In other words Army and Nawaz Shrif look at each other with suspicion.

The first reaction of Nawaz Sharif after his getting elected this time was that his Government will have primacy and Army will do the job what has been laid down for it in the constitution. This is easier said than done. In Pakistan, Army has been a major player. For more than half the time since the inception of Pakistan the Army has ruled the country. This Army is more of political Army then a professional Army which has got accustomed to wield disproportionate power in Pakistan - all because it has been successfully painting India as the villain and itself as savior of people of Pakistan. Today, Pakistani Army runs a business empire which is having a turn over of 20 billion dollars. This has been possible because of hate India campaign. Surely Pakistani Army is not going to give up all this just because the new Prime Minister of Pakistan wants good relations with India.

China, the all weather friend of Pakistan is another factor. The reason China supplies most of the arms to Pakistan, it has made available nuclear bomb technology to Pakistan and has allowed transfer of missile technology to Pakistan by its protégée North Korea is because of its basic strategy to keep India contained by Pakistan. It is a low cost option for China to keep India confined to South Asia only. Surely China will not allow its investments in Pakistan to go waste just because Nawaz Sharif desires good relations with India.

Jehadi organizations L-e-T and Jaish Mohammad are not only sponsored but are actually extensions of Pakistani Army and ISI. As long as they keep India destabilized by terror attacks and continue fighting Indian Army, Pakistani Army can sit back and relax while Indian Army suffers casualties. Both jaish Mohammad and L-e-T are from Punjab province the place where Nawaz Shrif has maximum support. Besides the recruiting areas of Pakistani Army and L-e-T jhadis are the same areas of Southern Punjab. From the time of General Zia-ul-Haq Pakistani Army itself as been highly radicalsed. Under these circumstances for Nawaz Sharif to act decisively against these jehadi organizations is next to impossible. Nawaz sharif himself has been saying that his aim will be to talk to these terror groups and not use military means.

Even if Navaz Sharif, defying all odds, opens a friendly dialogue with India, be rest assured that Pakistani Army with the help of these jehadi groups will launch Mumbai type of terror attack against India destabilizing any ongoing talks between India and Pakistan. Pakistani judiciary whom Nawaz had annoyed earlier is another stumbling block for him. General Kayani the current Army Chief of Pakistan, a hand picked man of Gen Parvez Muharraf and Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikar Chuadhary are both retiring by end of this year. So for at least next six months till these two gentlemen are replaced by new incumbents to expect betterment of Indo-Pak relations is being naïve. After that it is possible that Navaz Sharif will make some tentative moves.

Let us also not forget Afghanistan. Pakistan considers Afghanistan as its backyard. It has been defying America and supporting Haqqani network as also Afghan Taliban just to ensure that after the departure of American troops from Afghanistan in 2014, it is Pakistan and China which rule the roost there. They do not want India anywhere near Afghanistan. Against this backdrop for India also to have a say in Afghanistan is strategically very important. India has spent billions in Afghanistan in last so many years in development projects. India can not let go all this. This will bring India at loggerheads with Pakistan and mitigate against any good India–Pak relations.

Only window of opportunity for India is betterment of trade with Pakistan. Pakistani economy is in absolute doll drums. It has foreign currency reserves just to support one month imports.Nawaz Sharif himself a shrewd businessman knows that good economic relations with India and granting India most favored nation status will go a long way to boost the Pakistani economy. This is what  India can expect in the near future. The terror attacks from across the border may also show some decline but nothing much there after. In other words Nawaz Sharif may be meaning well for India but things are beyond his control also. India has no option but to continue building its military and another capabilities and keeping its powder dry. Yes talk with Pakistan we must but without forgetting the dictum - trust but verify.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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