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.
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.
Betting its fate on Pakistan with a $51-billion investment in infrastructure, China remains wary of its neighbour’s squint-eyed politicians who have proven their lack of vision over the years. Many of these politicians can’t see beyond the impending election woes.
India’s surgical strikes represent part of a continuing turnaround in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pakistan policy. Although expected by many to be a nationalist hawk when he was first elected, Modi invested considerable energy and capital in engaging Pakistan during his first two years in office.
The India-Pakistan relationship is almost psychoanalytic. The public triumphalism about this operation in India is not just cathartic, as if to say we are no longer passive victims. Let us not put too fine a point on it: Public discourse also has shades of blood lust. This blood lust is also evident in irresponsible sections of the Pakistani leadership. While the government may want a calibrated strategic escalation, the psychological escalation is now out of control.
The army action marks a huge shift in India’s posture towards Pakistan and can rightfully be called the Modi doctrine of “strategic action” below the threshold of outright war. This strategy is intended to make Pakistan pay a price for trying to bleed India with “a thousand cuts” using terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. More importantly, it signals the abandonment of the earlier policy, whose hallmark was pusillanimity and fear of nuclear escalation.