Ummid Assistant

Taj Group to train underprivileged rural youth in Maharashtra

Robotics competition for Andhra school students

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

India hopes for stronger peace constituency in Pakistan

Friday May 10, 2013 06:16:36 PM, Saroj Mohanty, IANS

India is keenly watching the evolving political situation in Pakistan as it readies to vote Saturday in pivotal national and provincial elections whose outcome has serious implications for its national security, economy, national integration and regional peace.

India is supportive of the democratic exercise as its western neighbour struggles to become what many say a "normal" state with an elected government transferring power to another after remaining five years in office for the first time in its 66 years of existence.

India has a huge stake in what comes out of the polls. India's economy is eight times larger than Pakistan and it is estimated to be 16 times bigger by 2030. For its growth, India needs a peaceful external environment, a stable neighbour.

Strategic analysts and foreign policy wonks point to the three ongoing conflicts within Pakistan's own borders -- a separatist movement in the copper and gold-rich province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, a Taliban-led insurgency in its tribal areas and targeted killings of political workers of secular parties in the largest city Karachi. A conflict-ridden, nuclear-armed state, riven by jihadist and sectarian violence, would make a very dangerous neighbourhood, they say.

And what complicates the scenario further is the looming deadline of US drawdown in Afghanistan. They say India must be prepared for the fallout of any security vacuum that might accompany the pullout of the NATO forces from there.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said last week it would be a "welcome thing" if the electoral process reflected the growing peace constituency in Pakistan. Khurshid hopes that the poll results could create the atmospherics necessary to carry forward the dialogue between the two countries.

"We work within a framework of atmospherics. Those were important. The substance and perception have to go hand in hand."

Many pin their hopes on the new forces thrown up by changes in the Pakistani society over the years, but not spoken much about, which could be "potential game changers".

Pakistan has a huge middle class that has doubled in the past two decades to constitute nearly 40 per cent of the population. And there is the country's demographics-- 46 percent of the population is aged between 15-29, who make up nearly 40 percent of the electorate.

"I think what is important is that more than who wins, there will be a change. Pakistan now has a strong middle class that feels and speaks for itself. This buttresses our democracy," said novelist Mohsin Hamid on a visit here last month to promote his new book, "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia."

Media reports say the vast crowds cricketer turned politician Imran Khan has been attracting to his rallies are principally drawn from an increasingly assertive urban middle class and the youth to whom he has been making special efforts to reach out.

Also, the army, which has dictated Pakistan's India policy, has lost much of its sheen within the country and its influence is said to be waning. Scholars like Ayesha Siddiqa have laid bare the military's commercial enterprise and hollowness of the claims or the perception that the army which has ruled most part of Pakistan's history is less corrupt than the Pakistani politicians.

"The army is not growing in proportion to the middle class...Army is no longer the only powerful middle-class institution. There is media. There is judiciary. I think army neither wants to nor perhaps could take control of the country; society has become too complex for that," Hamid told the Economic Times.

And then there is the country's "youth bulge" which many see with optimism, as an army of 13 million would be voting for the first time. This new crop of voters are witness to the winds of change blowing in Islamic world, the Arab Spring. Recent public opinion surveys indicated that most young people are concerned about the economy, high unemployment (two million joining the job market every year), soaring inflation (above 7 percent), power shortage that has left factories closed, and corruption.

Pakistan is also on the verge of running out of money. Last December, Saleem Mandviwalla, then finance minister, said Pakistan owed the International Monetary Fund 7.5 billion by 2015 and is evaluating a possible further loan from the Fund. Liberal Pakistanis say thier country is not like Iran or Egypt, which have oil reserves and vibrant tourism.

Political scientist and former ambassador to the United States Maleeha Lodhi warns that Pakistan faces a demographic disaster if it fails to use its young people.

"So, the message to Pakistan's next government is a very strong one. And that message is deal with the economy, otherwise young people will opt out of the system and when young people opt out of the system and lose faith then frankly, the future prospects for any country begin to look very bleak," Lodhi told the Voice of America.

For the first time, Pakistan is seeing a triangular fight, with Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf of Pakistan (PTI) joining the fray with the traditional rivals Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif (PML-N). Opinion surveys and political observers say the election would throw up a coalition.

Indian officials say it won't be productive to speculate and they would rather wait. Khurshid on his part said that nobody is absolutely certain what would happen. "What kind of coalition, the contours of the coalition and the nature of coalition, I think it is a bit early".

But there is little doubt that their preference would be for a strong civilian government that can keep at bay both the army-intelligence axis and the extremists.

Salman Rushdie in his 1983 novel "Shame" has described Pakistan as "a failure of the dreaming mind". The failed dream is the dream of imposing "one nation, one culture, one language" onto a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society.

But in the last 30 years, Pakistan has also changed a bit.

"I don't think Pakistan will disintegrate. No. I think that it will be very difficult for a multi-clan, multi-religious, multi-language nation with Punjabi interests in Balochistan and Balochi investments in Sindh. It's a country of entrenched interests and I don't foresee them getting up one fine morning and unleashing mayhem against each other," said Hamid.


(Saroj Mohanty can be contacted at






Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS


More Headlines

Washington and Moscow trying to square a circle in Syria

Uttar Pradesh minister declines US varsity invite

JD (U) asks BJP not to be stubborn on Modi as PM candidate

Denied entry, Narendra Modi to address Indians US cities via video con

Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

Maharashtra pharmacists join all-India strike

The Maulanas who are imparting competitive ability in Muslim youth

Life terms for three in 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Jamia Millia prepares 'brains' to help India understand neighbours

Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah is dead

SBI California ordered to clean up US operations


Top Stories

Race for Chief Minister

Congress names Siddaramaiah Karnataka CM

"The party high command has named Siddaramiah as chief minister of Karnataka," Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who heads  »

11 Muslim legislators in newly elected Karnataka assembly

More Congress leaders jump into Karnataka CM race


  Most Read

Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

The wheelchair-bound Hawking, who has won international recognition for his work on black holes, had been due to speak at a prestigious conference in June organised by Israeli President  »

Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah is dead

Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay who was hospitalised here after being attacked in a Jammu jail last week died Thursday morning due to multiple organ failure, doctors said. "Sanaullah was declared dead around 7 a.m. due to multiple organ failure. The team of doctors headed by Y.K. Batra tried their best to revive him," a  »


  News Pick

Life terms for three in 1984 anti-Sikh riots

A Delhi court Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment three convicts in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar has been acquitted, despite the prosecution seeking the death penalty. The  »

Jamia Millia prepares 'brains' to help India understand neighbours

Jamia Millia Islamia, one of the country's oldest universities, has embarked upon a series of country-specific programmes to prepare a cadre of experts to fulfil the research needs of the government and think tanks, something  »

Israel requests Google to reconsider using 'Palestine' tagline

Three days after Google changed the tagline “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine” across all its products, Israel’s deputy foreign minister Elkin wrote a letter to the search giant’s CEO requesting him  »

Malegaon Mosque collapse

Death toll two, at least four still trapped

The death toll in the Sulaimani Masjid collapse has been raised to two while at least  »

Under renovation Mosque collapsed in Malegaon, one dead


Picture of the Day

Parvez Naikwadi (left) and Shakeel Ansari met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Moday. The two are among the 30 Muslims who have  cleared the 2012 UPSC Mains Exams. Also seen in the picture is Minister of Minority Development Department Arif Naseem Khan.


Recommend the story to your friends



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us


The Funny Side

Education & Career Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.