Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who travelled to India for attending the oath ceremony of the newly sworn-in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was greeted with barrage of criticism from the media quarters.
Many political analysts were thinking that Mr. Modi has shown a very good gesture by inviting Pakistani premier in his oath taking ceremony and termed it as ‘Icebreaker’ between much strained Pakistan India relations but all those good perceptions were shattered when the new Indian premier raises issues like cross border terrorism and the trial of Mumbai attacks in a 45 minute one to one session with Nawaz Sharif. That clearly suggested the hawkish tone of Mr. Modi who wants to have an upper hand in this relationship.
Apart from the media, few politicians also criticized Mr.Nawaz Sharif. Dr Shireen Mazari of PTI said, “While Mr Modi spoke on terrorism and gave the Indian position versus Pakistan, our PM did not demand that India stop supporting terrorism inside Pakistan especially Baluchistan. Nor did he mention Kashmir in his officially prepared text.” She added that it seemed that the PML-N government had no clear India policy apart from promoting business links.
Jan Achakzai, of JUI-F, also termed the visit a failure by saying that the prime minister failed to offer a counter-narrative on terrorism and flag other national concerns versus India.
However, PML-N aides think the other way and termed it a success for Pakistan. They argue that the meeting was very productive as Mr. Modi promised to visit Pakistan, gave a green signal for resumption of secretary level talks between the two countries and decided to take forward the Lahore declaration signed back in 1999 between Nawaz Sharif and then Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Mr. Modi also gifted a shawl for Nawaz Sharif’s mother. Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif personally thanked Mr. Modi on the micro-blogging website Twitter
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) May 27, 2014
Apparently, Mr. Sharif’s prime motive behind normalization of the ties between the two countries is of business and trade. He didn’t discuss anything about the Kashmir issue, ever-growing water issue or India’s interference in Balochistan province.
Currently PMLN is not having a smooth sail in the government as PTI led brigade has troubled them a lot. Moreover, domestic issues worsening law and order situation, energy shortages and crippled economy has broken the back of the government. Furthermore, Sharif’s ongoing relationship with the military is going through a tense phase as there is a visible civ-mil divide at the issue of negotiations with the outlawed Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
It will be interesting to see how Mr. Sharif tackles the growing internal pressure on issues like rigging, inflation, security and energy crises. He also needs to mend ties with the military and make efforts to bring them on the same page. On the external front, the government also has many challenges to face. The change of leadership in Afghanistan and India will bring both; hope and fear. Can Nawaz Sharif turn fear into the hope, and then hope into success lies in the political acumen of Mr. Nawaz Sharif.