The recent positive steps taken by the Nawaz Sharif government to normalize relations between India and Pakistan do not seem to thrill the establishment machinery very much. It is no surprise that only a few days after the current government showed a positive step towards normalization of relations between the two countries that we see analysts like Zaid Hamid coming on multiple TV shows in one night and voicing the ISI and establishment views, trying to shape a completely different narrative.
The hawkish attitude of our establishment can be seen clearly also when only a day after the new Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif offered olive branch to India and vowed to “progressively pursue” normalcy to settle all outstanding issues including Kashmir, there was an violation in the border ceasefire.
So this narrative they present is very simple; Pakistan Army intends on remaining an “India-centric” institution and that will not change unless Kashmir issue is resolved. While Kashmir is a major bone of contention, why is it impossible for the establishment to come to terms with the fact that India and Pakistan continue to be neighbors and it is in our very own interest to have good relations with our neighbors? Why can we not freeze the Kashmir issue as it is and move forward with other issues that matter more in helping create a progressive state?
It is very clear that the establishment is trying to undermine Nawaz Sharif even before any solid initiatives have been taken. It is also very clear that even if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moves one step forward to normalise relations with India, our powerful army and the famous security agency apparatus will force him to move two steps back. Are we seeing an emergence of old patterns whereby keping an India-centric narrative, Pakistan establishment is able to control the strategic direction of our country? Just like how Zardari was sidelined by the army, is ti Mian Nawaz Sharif’s turn now?
Could it be that this is because of the strategic depth option where Taliban continue to be the assets who will help us when there is time to form a Pakistan friendly government in Kabul which is at odds with India? Or is it because of needing an excuse to hog on a major chunk of the budget for “defense”? Are Zaid Hamid and ilk portraying the phobia of our establishment that India will take over Pakistan at the first chance it gets?
These are some very important questions that need to be answered.