Nawaz Sharif is the proverbial cat with nine lives. But his third, the longest and perhaps final term as Pakistan’s prime minister, came to an end last Friday when the Supreme Court of the country disqualified him from holding public office…Whether Sharif is able to make yet another comeback is still to be seen, but this development has raised concerns among observers around the world about the future of Pakistani democracy—however superficial it may be.
Nothing can describe this irony better than The Indus Saga , in which Aitzaz Ahsan writes in the preface: “… a nation in denial of its national identity is unfortunate. But when it chooses to adopt an extra-territorial identity, it becomes a prisoner of propaganda and myths… This is the Pakistan of today, not the Pakistan of its founders. Identity is at the heart of its problem”. If Pakistan is to come out of its tortuous identity crisis, it needs to accept its non-Muslim history as its own. Recognising someone as important as Chanakya will have to be part of the long process.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan in an oath-taking ceremony held at President House on Tuesday. He was elected prime minister by lawmakers in the National Assembly, bagging 221 votes to become the successor to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
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Attack the court, blame the boys, curse fate and the stars, it doesn’t really matter. Nawaz is gone and he isn’t coming back. There’s no precedent for unwinding a Supreme Court judgement during a democratic spell and there won’t be. Nawaz is gone.
The corridor is only minimally about transit trade. The power plants, too, are little more than the “early harvest projects”, on commercial terms, designed to jump-start the economy before the real game begins. The real game of CPEC is about granting access to Chinese enterprises to Pakistan’s domestic markets, raw materials and the agrarian economy.
The Trump administration is on the cusp of making three crucial decisions about the sixteen-year war in Afghanistan and the related matter of how to manage the tempestuous relationship with Pakistan, thought by many to hold the key to peace in Afghanistan. These decisions will go far in determining whether America can successfully conclude its military adventure in Afghanistan and lay the groundwork for a more stable and peaceful South Asia.
Pakistani and Chinese officials boast that CPEC will help address Pakistan’s electricity generation problem, bolster its road and rail networks, and shore up the economy through the construction of special economic zones. But these benefits are highly unlikely to materialise. The project is more inclined to leave Pakistan burdened with unserviceable debt while further exposing the fissures in its internal security.
The famous Soviet spy arrested by the United States in 1957, Rudolf Abel, was known as ‘the spy who never broke’, but his trial was still public. Here is Jadhav, confessing eagerly and still being tried and convicted secretly. Even Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani who was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was tried by civil courts. India has used that as a reference to Jadhav’s secret sentencing.