India should keep close vigil on developments in Pakistan

The situation in neighbouring Pakistan is getting very dangerous day by day. Already caught in an unprecedented economic crisis and resurgence of terrorist attacks, Pakistan witnessed nationwide riots recently when former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested from a court complex. Khan and his supporters have blamed the powerful Pakistan Army for it. The country has been pushed into utter chaos. There are widespread fears that the situation has crossed the Rubicon and may be ripe for a military takeover. Though the official version is that Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was detained in connection with a land scam involving him and his wife, the real reason appears to be his allegation that a senior ISI functionary was plotting to assassinate him.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is seen as the most popular politician in the country now. The move to arrest him is seen as an action not by the civilian government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif but of the Pakistan Army as Khan has been on a collision course with the powerful military establishment. The spontaneous outburst of public anger saw his supporters storming the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the corps commander’s residence in Lahore – a rare spectacle in a country under the firm grip of the Army. The situation is still very tense and an uneasy calm prevails. Taking advantage of the situation, terrorist organisations might try to activate anti-India activities from Pakistan’s soil. India should remain alert and keep a close vigil on the situation.