Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 24 May 2022 6.46 AM IST

Flimsy Pak Thrones


After its independence and segregation from India, Pakistan is yet to see a government complete its tenure. Coup d'état, no-confidence motions and (un)social protests serve as bookmarks on any Pak History Book. This fate of all Pak Prime Ministers has been the due of Imran Khan too as he was forced to step down not much earlier than the end of his tenure. Imran tried his best to stay in the crease but the Supreme Court clean-bowled him.

In Pakistan, it is in fact good for her neighbours to see a democratic government stay in power. That is the only hope of discussion with that country, the fountainhead of all terrorism, regarding war and peace. But in Pakistan democracy was only a forged coin, a way to hoodwink the west. Any so-called elected government sooner or later ends up as a toy for the military there.

Pakistan has been ruled by hybrid regimes since the late 1980s. Since then, military intervention has intensified. In hybrid governments, socio-economic policy-making was the sole prerogative of elected representatives. The military also had complete control over foreign affairs and defence. Under Pervez Musharraf, all power was in the hands of the military. Though the dictatorship was overthrown, the military was not ready to give up.

In the 2018 elections, it was the military that helped Imran Khan glue together several small parties and be the Prime Minister with a tiny majority. Imran Khan was a favourite ally of the army at that time. But the relationship gradually deteriorated. When Imran refused to approve the new ISI chief suggested by Army Chief General Khmer Bajwa, the army chief began to quarrel with Imran. It was the lack of harmony with the military that pushed Imran Khan into a major crisis. As the Pak army and civilian government went in two directions and the country fell into a huge debt trap, Imran could no longer hold his own against the people and the opposition. With the court's intervention, Imran had no choice but to resign.

The main allegations made by the opposition were that the Imran government had failed to contain the rising inflation in the country and that Imran's wrong foreign policy had adversely affected the country. There is truth in that. Inflation based on retail sales in January 2022 was 13 per cent in Pakistan. The rising fiscal deficit was another challenge faced by the Imran government and the Pakistani economy. Pakistan has a fiscal deficit of $ 2.56 billion. The opposition blamed the failure of the Imran government's foreign policy on problems in relations with the United States, glorification of India and attempts to appease Russia and China.

Imran's three and a half year rule was not good for India-Pakistan relations. But just before losing power, Imran spoke in praise of India's sovereignty and foreign policy. He also said that India is a proud country. Diplomats in neighbouring countries have been on high alert since the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif took over as prime minister in place of Imran Khan. Nawaz Sharif has been working to improve India-Pak relations. He also had good relations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite the military intervention, diplomatic talks between the two countries were fruitful during Nawaz Sharif's tenure. Although Shahbaz Sharif took up the Kashmir issue during his tenure, he later spoke of the need to strengthen diplomatic relations and cooperation with India. General Qamar Bajwa, Pakistan's Commander-in-Chief, pointed out the needlessness of the Indo-Pak conflict and the damage it would do to both countries. If the Pak military respects democracy in Pakistan and the government acts in accordance with the will of the people, it will bring peace and prosperity to that country. At the same time, life in Kashmir would flow peacefully.

(The author is Chairman of World Hindu Parliament and former President of FOKANA)


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