Establishing peace with India will pay dividends for Pakistan

 

Share
Related Topics

When Nawaz Sharif was elected Pakistan’s Prime Minister for a third time in May, he signalled that he would like to leave off where he started when he was last in power.

In 1998, he kick-started a peace process with India which was thwarted by a clumsy military adventure led by General Pervez Musharraf, who overthrew Mr Sharif in a coup the following year. In interviews with leading Indian journalists, Mr Sharif said his government would revive talks that had almost stopped since the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. He impressed his questioners with pledges to hold an exhaustive inquiry into those attacks, and prevent the groups responsible from using Pakistan’s soil for any further ambitions they may have.

But if the disputes like the Line of Control incident, in which India’s Defence Minister claims Pakistani special forces crossed the Kashmir border and killed Indian troops, continue to escalate, all prospects of South Asian bonhomie may begin to recede further into the distance.

For Mr Sharif, peace with India has many potential dividends. As a  pro-business politician, he favours more trade with the larger, economically successful neighbour, hoping to lift Pakistan out of its economic misery by gliding in India’s slipstream. Pakistan’s energy crisis could also be alleviated through deals with India’s private sector.

As a politician who was once ousted in a military coup, Mr Sharif is also wary of how tensions with India can boost the army’s standing in Pakistan. In times of peace, the influence wielded by Pakistani generals diminishes. To this end, Mr Sharif has retained the portfolio of foreign minister himself, hoping to wrench back control of foreign policy from the generals. But Mr Sharif faces powerful opponents. While much of the Pakistani political class in principle wants better relations with India, there are hostile voices within the media and among religious hardline groups.

Mr Sharif is set to meet his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next month. Formal talks were to resume in January 2014. But Mr Singh also faces pressure to take a harder line. It would be pity if hardliners on both sides of the border are able to derail a peace process even before it has begun.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Easter message

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

There is far too much sexism in the UK - but a point scoring system against other countries won't help to tackle it

Victoria Richards
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit