New Delhi, July 29: Ever since the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and barred him from electoral politics for five years, New Delhi has been keeping a close watch on the ongoing political instability in the neighbouring country. The situation that concerns India is that the shift of power in Pakistan, as the ruling might embolden the Pakistani military. The same ruling by the Supreme Court also affected Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, the possible heir of PML-N party. Maryam can’t possibly take over as she’s is not a member of the National Assembly.
There’s a history of military power taking over the government. Pervez Musharraf seized the control of the government from Nawaz Sharif in the 1999 coup d’état and it was in Musharraf’s era when Indian Parliament was attacked. Also, every time a PM is ousted, the military took over in Pakistan. In 1958, Major General Iskander Mirza dismissed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the government of Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon and in 1977, Operation Fair Play, conducted by the Pakistan military, led by Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq, took over the government from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and ordered his arrest.
However, Sharif survived a coup and might survive another one. Even though he has stepped down, PML-N’s command remains strong in Parliament. However, the verdict created a political instability in Pakistan and the anti-India groups and terror organisations might use this political vacuum to attack India.
Although Sharif still holds a strong mandate in Parliament, Friday’s ruling might favour a shift of power to the Army generals considering how the Army has been trying to assert itself for years.
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“Sharif’s government has been consistently undermined by the Pakistan’s military for the last couple of years, and the latest verdict may give more power to the military to flex its muscles,” a source was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. “The preliminary analysis here is that the political leadership has been undermined by the military, and the judiciary seems to be playing along,” he added.
Last year in October, the Dawn newspaper reported meeting between the government and the army and “an extraordinary verbal confrontation” between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the ISI DG. “In a blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning, the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state,” Dawn reported. Soon after the meeting leaked to media, the assertion of the Pakistani military on the civil government became evident as Nawaz gave in to the building pressure of military and removed two of his officials.
One of the other concerns is India’s former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a secret military court. Not to forget how Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa tried to assert himself in the case when he began analysing the evidence against Jadhav.
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The relationship between the two countries has been in a deadlock for a number of years and there have not been any positive changes in the India-Pakistan relationship during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as terrorism towards India didn’t change. The Uri attack and recent ceasefire violations have also created troubles between the two countries and there was a little chance of Sharif making any improvement towards it.
As far as Pakistan itself is concerned, the economy of the country stands in the same place as it was when Nawaz was elected in 2013. However, Nawaz’s willingness to talk to India; his gestures such as his address to a Hindu gathering on Holi were few of the instances which kindled a hope for both the countries.
Nawaz Sharif’s departure has created a sense of political instability in Pakistan and it might end up creating more tensions between the two countries. Although Pakistan’s policy towards India has never been free of military interference, a military take over or even free hand of it in the politics are set to escalate tension in India.
“The basic difference between India and Pakistan was that “while in India the state has the Army, in Pakistan the Army has the state,” said Shashi Tharoor.