Political Instability In Pakistan Will Help Its Military, Say Policy Experts

Experts say political instability in Pakistan will further embolden the army and in such a scenario, it will more aggressively push terror activities against India

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Political Instability In Pakistan Will Help Its Military, Say Policy Experts

Pakistan's Supreme Court has disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Reuters)

New Delhi:  Political uncertainty in Pakistan triggered by the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be advantageous to its military which may now back terrorism against India more aggressively, foreign policy experts said today. They also felt that the prospect of bilateral engagement became dim as the Pakistani military would not like to see any improvement in ties with India.

"Political uncertainty and instability in Pakistan will be to the advantage of the military in that country," said G Parthasarathy, who was Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan from 1998 to 2000. Meera Shankar, who was India's Ambassador to the US between 2009 and 2011, echoed similar views, saying internal instability will further consolidate the military's hold over the country.

Lalit Mansingh, who was foreign secretary from 1999-2000, too said political instability in Pakistan will further embolden the army and in such a scenario, it will more aggressively push terror activities against India.

He said India's standoff with China in Dokalam has further encouraged Pakistan to step up cross-border terrorism against India and an internal political structure in Islamabad will be conducive for Pakistani military to pursue its goal.

Mr Parthasarathy, too, said the military's domination will mean continuation of the policy to back terror groups against India. Mr Sharif was disqualified from holding public office by Pakistan Supreme Court over undeclared assets relating to Panama Papers scandal.

Ruling PML-N has named former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim Prime Minister until Nawaz Sharif's younger brother Mr Shehbaz is elected as a Member of Parliament to succeed him.

Both Mr Parthasarathy and Mr Mansingh said they do not expect any movement in engagement between India and Pakistan after Mr Sharif's resignation. Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after terrorists attacked Pathankot air force base in January last year. Following the attack, India had said talks with Pakistan cannot take place unless it stops cross-border terrorism.

"In Nawaz Sharif, at least you had a politician who wanted to improve relations with India," said Mr Parthasarathy, adding the prospect of bilateral engagement was dim under a weak government in Islamabad.

Mr Mansingh said any kind of dialogue between the two countries was unlikely, adding Pakistani military giving full access to China including to its military personnel in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was a matter of concern.

"I see the state of freeze between India and China continuing until the foreseeable future and we might even expect surge in cross-border terror activities," said Mr Mansingh, who was also India's envoy to Washington.
 

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