Wait & watch

Pakistan’s probable incoming prime minister campaigned as maverick challenging entrenched and corrupt political elite. But Imran Khan, who on Thursday claimed victory in his country’s parliamentary elections, is not exactly an outsider. He has been for the last 20 years challenging established Pakistani political elites and is very much part of the political discourse of the nation. Though Khan is claiming victory, rivals are refusing to accept result and have alleged that results have been rigged by powerful Pakistani army in his favour. Therefore Pakistan is expected to face massive political turmoil in the next one year. His victory has put India in some kind of dilemma. A very popular figure as cricketer Khan has massive fan following and is loved by the Indians. Yesterday while addressing the nation, former cricketer expressed his desire to improve relation with India and declared that he is ready to take two steps if India takes one step to improve the relation between two hostile neighbour.
However Indians are forced to be skeptic because he is considered to be close to Pakistani army. Imran Khan will owe his position largely to the army and its powerful intelligence service ISI, which helped him win so that they can more easily pursue their own interests – which include siphoning off the lion’s share of the national budget, continue anti-India agenda, supporting the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and encouraging other extreme Islamist groups in Kashmir. During his time in office, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif challenged the military’s control of foreign policy, including its insistence on permanent hostility towards India and its sponsorship of terrorist organizations. His reward was to be singled out for prosecution on corruption charges. Therefore one wonders how Imran Khan will be given free hand by military to improve relation with India. But it is early days and one must give ample time to Mr Khan to put forward his policies. India has no option but to wait and watch.