Is Modi going overboard by blaming Pakistan for trying to influence Gujarat polls?
India had seldom been an issue in the last three general elections in Pakistan, but things seem to be changing now that relations between the two countries have worsened. Allegations of India conspiring to destabilise Pakistan are increasingly becoming part of the political discourse as the 2018 elections approach.
Opposition parties have often accused former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of being soft on India, and of cultivating special relations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The attack comes from the left-of-centre Pakistan Peoples’ Party, as well as some right-wing Islamic parties.
Reports of growing unrest in Indian Kashmir, and also of the alleged involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in stoking insurgency in the western province of Baluchistan, have given an impetus to anti-India sentiments here.
Here are other sharp perspectives on the question:
In fact, there was a general consensus among all the major political parties about forging better relations with India during the last two elections: 2008 and 2013. Sharif had received the support of all the opposition parties when he went to New Delhi to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014. Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore on Sharif’s birthday in 2015 was generally welcomed. But things have changed since then.
Opposition parties are now using both visits to beat on the former prime minister, who is facing a litany of corruption cases that may effectively end his political career. Sharif’s relationship with Indian businessman and entrepreneur, Sajjan Jindal, has also become a part of the opposition’s campaign. Jindal’s unannounced visit to meet the Sharif family in April this year generated a political maelstrom in Pakistan. Many opposition leaders, and part of the media, accuse Sharif of having business links with the Indian tycoon, who they say was also being used for back-channel contact with Modi.
Zahid Hussain is a journalist and author in Pakistan