Pakistan recently witnessed a change of guard. The sitting Prime Minister Imran Khan lost Pakistan Army’s support and was ousted from power. The next choice became Shahbaz Sharif, with the active support of the nation’s Army. It is a well-known fact that the existence of Pakistan has been based on its hate for India and the Army has historically been anti-India. Anyone who captures the chair with the back-support of the Army has to pronounce anti-India rants, and PM Sharif is very well fulfilling the aforementioned responsibility.
Shahbaz Sharif’s appointment was seen as a glimpse of hope
The day it was made public that ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif will be holding the PM’s chair, there were hopes around his appointment. Shahbaz Sharif was believed to reignite his brother’s legacy.
As soon as he grabbed the chair, he was congratulated by PM Narendra Modi himself. PM Modi sent a subtle message through his tweet that India stands for peace and stability in the region and advocates for a terror-free environment. To which, PM Shahbaz Sharif appointed with the support of Pakistani Army tweeted, “Pakistan desires peaceful and cooperative ties with India.”
Thank you Premier Narendra Modi for felicitations. Pakistan desires peaceful & cooperative ties with India. Peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes including Jammu & Kashmir is indispensable. Pakistan's sacrifices in fighting terrorism are well-known. Let's secure peace and.. https://t.co/0M1wxhhvjV
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) April 12, 2022
It was expected that if Shahbaz Sharif is a fraction of the kind of statesman his brother was, then good times lie ahead of both India and Pakistan. But the myth was busted soon with his actions.
Sharif compares the situation of Palestine with that of Kashmir
During a search operation in the West Bank area of the Israeli Army, Al-Jazeera’s Shirin Abu Akleh was shot dead. Al-Jazeera has blamed the killing on the Israeli Army. However, PM Sharif found this as an opportunity to drag India into the matter. He out of the blue connected the situation of Palestine with that of Kashmir.
Strongly condemn the assassination of respected Al-Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, at the hands of Israeli forces. Silencing voices of those who tell stories of oppressed people is part of a deliberate strategy employed by Israel & India in Palestine & Occupied Kashmir.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 11, 2022
Condemning the “assassination” of the Al-Jazeera ‘journalist’, Sharif wrote, “Silencing voices of those who tell stories of oppressed people is part of a deliberate strategy employed by Israel and India in Palestine and Occupied Kashmir.”
PM Shahbaz Sharif is shedding his brother’s legacy
But like any other state head of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif too very soon succumbed to the state and its army. After the congratulatory message PM Shahbaz Sharif though slowly adopted the appropriate ‘behaviour’ of the ‘Pakistan PM’.
In his inaugural speech, he raked Kashmir. He began his rant against the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and alleged that the people in the Kashmir valley were “bleeding”. He insisted that Pakistan will provide the people of Kashmir with “diplomatic and moral support” besides raising the matter at every international forum possible.
The recent statement of Sharif advocates for his anti-India stance and how the chair has inflicted the new PM with the fundamental tenet of Pakistan’s existence that is hate for India.
The legacy of Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif was the best Prime Minister Pakistan ever had, especially from the perspective of international relations and diplomacy. His efforts towards establishing good bilateral ties with India deserve special accolades. Nawaz Sharif experienced strong repulsion from his Army on this issue. But he still continued strengthening ties with Pt. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government.
Be it the Lahore Declaration signed by both the states, the countries initiated Delhi-Lahore bus service, which later became a permanent fixture. During his next tenure in 2014, Nawaz successfully secured an agreement on Non-Discriminatory Market Access on Reciprocal Basis (NDMARB) status for the two countries.
Nawaz Sharif kept pushing for better ties again and again, but every time his efforts were thwarted by the Pakistani Army. The friendship offer of Nawaz Sharif was often met with ghastly terror attacks like the Kargil war, the URI attack.
The fundamental tenet of Pakistan’s existence has been its hate for India. No matter who gets appointed as the head of the state, he/she has to cater to the anti-India sentiments. Though many believed that the newly appointed PM will ignite his brother’s legacy. Well, looking at his current stands, this doesn’t seem to be coming true in the recent future.