Rudderless Pakistan And Nawaz Sharif

The last few months must be counted as one of the lowest periods for Pakistan’s diplomacy and the military which controls it. Nawaz Sharif, in my opinion, is a leader who genuinely wants good relations with India; however he is also bound to pay obeisance to the Pak Military who controls the foreign policy and other national security matters. And in this regard the Pakistani military is pathologically myopic. They simply will not give up power and stop interfering in matters which do not involve them.

The last two weeks which saw tension rise at the international border and what really caught the Pak military and their policy makers by surprise was the aggressive response which they are habitually not used to. The Indian army was always capable of giving fitting reply, but being professionals have always yielded the order given by the democratically elected government.

But this time around the idea to start tension and escalate it to levels which would then force India to start a dialogue has not happened. This entire exercise has backfired and has left no avenue for the Pakistan military or politicians to maneuver and get some support from the international community. India will not start bilateral talks until the guns are silent on the border and a concrete step is taken to stop cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

The only good news from last week for Pakistan was Malala Yousafzai being awarded the Noble Prize for Peace. This sadly did not go very well with the Pakistan Taliban and they think it is all just a publicity stunt. Now many people have spoken about this momentous occasion of our two countries winning the peace prize and think now is the right time to start talking.

Now the question is how long India can ignore talks and how much longer Nawaz Sharif is forced to to be a Pakistan military puppet which to a certain degree is true. However he did take a lot of risk in coming to India for Mr. Modi’s inauguration when the army told him otherwise. Also what followed was also very promising start for the new Modi Administration. Then probably due to the army intervention the talks with Hurriyat went ahead and since then it has been one diplomatic disaster after next.

  1. First his speech at the UN General Assembly was not his usual confidence self. Instead it felt as if he was peddling a message which even he did not buy. Instead of focusing on other problems faced by Pakistan, Kashmir issue became the essence of the speech.
  2. No one would buy that terrorism was planted in Pakistan and it the true victim.
  3. Modi had already met with Chinese President Xi Jingpin and several things were discussed because China can do business with India and invest because of safe environment.
  4. The border violation on the International border also did not pan out and the very fierce Indian response came as a surprise.
  5. Having nuclear weapons is deterrence, but to use it as a threat to bring India to the table for talks is a very feeble and desperate attempt.
  6. The United Nations has other fish to fry and has again given cold shoulder to Pakistan request for mediation in Kashmir.

When we see all these points, one thing is clear, no one is taking Pakistan government seriously and the credibility of Nawaz Sharif is deteriorating quickly and the whole idea to revive the economy has taken a back seat. After a long time a democratically elected government has come to power and the transition was peaceful. But this new found recognition that it may still be possible for Pakistan to be a responsible nuclear power is fast eroding. The constant nuclear threat which is a “Last Resort Weapon” in the hands of the Pak Army is losing its sheen.