From a Pakistani perspective, Indian elections held significant importance. It appears that they had well calculated the nitty-gritty and were more or less confident of the ruling government returning for its second term, and that’s why early support from Prime Minister Imran Khan was extended much before the election commenced. It could also be damage control tactics for his earlier tweet amidst Pulwama turmoil, in which he had directly hit out at the ruling government calling it “arrogant and lacking vision”.
Why is a strong Indian polity good for Pakistan?
To cut the long story short, peace efforts by India last time were massacred by Gen Pervez Musharraf, who stabbed in the back by his misadventures in Kargil. Things have only deteriorated from then and status quo maintained with respect to Kashmir conflict. The state-sponsored proxy war continues and Kashmir soaks in its own blood each day.
Balakot a reality check?
Yes, it certainly was. But what is next after Balakot? Is there more action that we will witness or there will be quiet for some time? With the election victory comes a very heavy responsibility of the masses. Although India has seen the government sail through the critical decision making and then bail out of all odds, another tense standoff would most certainly not be appreciated in the near future.
But undoubtedly, any misadventure by Pakistan at this stage will be paid back heavily.
With the successful listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, tightening of FATF noose around Pakistan, successful satellite launches and so on, India seems to be comfortably placed, for now, leaving Pakistan with enough homework to do. And it appears that they are already at it.
Reports suggest that civil-military divide is brewing once again and with Gen Bajwa slated to retire in November, Imran Khan is trying hard to stretch his wings. The recent appointment of Brigadier Ijaz Shah (former director of the Intelligence Bureau under Musharraf) as Interior Minister and reshuffle of other cabinet members is a clear indicator that Qamar Bajwa is already making his ground stronger for his safe exit and trying to cut Prime Minister Imran Khan to his size. Balakot, Pashtun, Baloch, opposition parties and their own media there is a lot in GHQ’s kitty to deal with already.
Therefore in a way, the aggressive posture of the elected government in India will keep the above two Khan-Bajwa in check. Pakistan is aware that it cannot afford a weak stance against a reloaded adversary. Thus in a way, Pakistani citizens dreading military coups can make hay while the sun shines.
If Qamar Bajwa has an extended stay in GHQ then small skirmishes between GHQ and PTI cannot be overruled. Given the fact that Imran Khan has tried to take much credit for dousing great threat from India by keeping a ‘No to War’ stand and earned himself some respect amongst voters vis-a-vis Pakistan Army’s ISPR which stands exposed for slapping lies to its citizens and only fueling fake stories.
There is no trend which can be predicted for now as to how the relationship between the two countries will shape up. It is important that the elected government takes fresh stock of the situation in Kashmir. The ISI protege “Hurriyat” will be forced to toe the line and any misadventure on Indian soil could be a trigger point for escalation. Imran Khan is well aware of the dynamics and wouldn’t risk it for now, especially when he’s himself finding firm ground.
Lastly, Not always should the ministers of Pakistan be brushed away, especially when the Foreign Minister speaks of concrete intelligence available of a planned attack. No wonder the Pakistani airspace is still shut, there is definitely more to this than what meets the eye. For now, it’s status quo!
23 May 2019/ Thursday Written By Afsana