New Delhi: The emphatic victory of PML (N) chief Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan’s elections, along with the conclusion of the democratic process, was welcomed by Indian experts tracking developments in Pakistan. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reports.
Indian Former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said that New Delhi will have a good comfort zone while dealing with Sharif, since the establishment has dealt with him in the past. “Sharif should be more confident since last time the Pakistan army was influencing him and later betrayed him,” he said.
But this time, he said that Sharif has a “better mandate” and therefore, should be “be able to keep his word”. Mansingh noted that Sharif’s party manifesto was the most friendly towards India, and the former Pakistan PM has said that he wants to pick up the thread from where he left.
However, he expressed concern how Sharif would deal with the Pakistan Taliban since they did not target him and Imran Khan. “Sooner or later, the Pakistan Taliban will demand their pound of flesh, it remains to be seen how he handles them,” Mansingh said. Another source of anxiety, Mansingh said will be Pakistan’s role in the transition of Afghanistan next year, where it can be a spoiler. “Whether the government under Sharif will toe the ISI’s line or develop an independent line on Afghanistan, will be a thing to watch out for,” he said, adding that Sharif was New Delhi’s “best bet”.
Dr Ajay Darshan Behera from Jamia Millia Islamia’s Pakistan Studies Programme also felt that Sharif was “positive” towards India. “He is a businessman, and will not be averse to developing economic relations with India,” he said, noting that Pakistan’s economy is in a “mess”.
That Sharif bodes well for India was echoed by another former foreign secretary, Salman Haider, who said, “Sharif has been invoking positive statements, he had good relations with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I K Gujral. India should try and be ready to talk to him.”