Nawaz Sharif Declares Victory: What Does It Mean To India
Photo : ANI
In Pakistan's recent National Assembly elections, candidates backed by former PM Imran Khan's party, though running as independents, were leading over rivals from Nawaz Sharif's party (PML-N). Despite not having a clear majority, Sharif declared victory, sparking fears of army pressure on independent candidates to join him.
According to some, if Nawaz Sharif or his brother Shehbaz becomes Prime Minister, things could improve between India and Pakistan, given his past camaraderie with PM Narendra Modi and his will to improve ties with India.
According to the Times Of India, PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif's civil relationship was obvious in 2020 when PM Modi wrote to 'Mian Sahib' to console his mother's demise and recalled his interaction with her when he visited Sharif’s home in Raiwind in 2015. Unlike Imran Khan, whose unreasonable outburst against PM Modi impaired the air, Sharif keeps things civil. So, some people hope a Sharif government could lead to better relations between the two countries.
The supporters of peace between the two nations will argue that this time, if Nawaz Sharif becomes Prime Minister, things will be different compared to past attempts like than PM Vajpayee's bus journey to Lahore in 1999 or PM Modi's surprise visit to Sharif's home in 2015. The key difference they would see is that this time, Sharif might have the support of the Pakistani military, which they believe is crucial for lasting peace efforts.
In the past, India only agreed to peace talks with Pakistan when they were sure the Pakistani army strongly supported them. Even back then, there were bumps in the road (like when Sharif excluded Kashmir from Ufa joint statement). However, things eventually smoothed over, leading to high-level meetings and even PM Modi's surprise visit to Sharif's home. These past experiences will be on the Indian government's mind as they consider future interactions with Pakistan.
If Nawaz Sharif becomes Pakistan's leader, he needs to understand India's stance on terrorism as they won't differentiate between state-sponsored and independent groups anymore, as reported by TOI. Additionally, to start fresh, he should drop the demand for India to reverse its actions on Article 370 in Kashmir. Finally, he should acknowledge mistakes like recalling the ambassador and halting trade, and take actual steps against cross-border terrorism, only then will India consider responding positively.