Saturday, 5 August 2017

Why I think Nawaz Sharif was better for Pakistan? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Why I think Nawaz Sharif was better for Pakistan?
Dr Shabir Choudhry           London, 06 August 2017

Like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and many others Nawaz Sharif also started his political career under the supervision of men in khaki. However, I salute him for challenging might of the army and secret agencies more than three times.

Citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan criticise me for my comments on the Pakistani politics. They say if you are a Kashmiri nationalist then why do you interfere in matters of Pakistan.

This comment is absurd to say the least. I totally reject this argument. Pakistan has occupied my country. They have created enormous problems for my countrymen since their attack on my homeland on 22 October 1947. They bleed us, oppress us, loot us exploit our resources; and I am not even allowed to criticise them.

No dear critics, I won’t buy your logic. Even if I was not occupied and oppressed by Pakistan, still as a writer and a political analyst, I have every right to write and comment on events in our neighbourhood, which one way or the other affect our lives.

Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani politician, and he loves Pakistan. I am a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir, and love my country. I don’t need to love my neighbours, or those who occupy us. Those who love occupiers are not patriots; and many people regard them as traitors. To be a patriot citizen of Jammu and Kashmir, I don’t need to love a country that occupies us, oppress us and exploit our resources. I need no certificates from anyone.

I don’t like politics of Imran Khan and the army rule. I don’t hide this, and openly write against Imran Khan and the establishment. Sadly, I am paying a price for this too. In my opinion, following are the reasons why Nawaz Sharif was a better choice for Pakistan:

1.    Nawaz Sharif, in my opinion, graduated in the Pakistani politics and understood that root cause of Pakistani politics, including extremism, violence and instability is the army, secret agencies and bureaucracy. He wanted to ensure that army and secret agencies become subservient to the civilian government. He did not want them to call shots in the Pakistani politics; and dictate such policies which generate instability, extremism, violence and intolerance.

2.    He learnt that Pakistan can only flourish and become a stable country if there is economic and political stability. For survival of Pakistan as a viable and respectable democratic country, it is imperative that there must be friendly relations with all neighbours; and for that purpose, trade, economic and cultural ties are required.

3.     In his opinion, outstanding disputes can only be resolved when there are friendly relations and environment of confidence and trust. In other words, Jammu and Kashmir dispute and other disputes with India could only be resolved once there are friendly relations. He thought India will not resolve disputes if there was a gun pointing at their head; and we continue to send militants in Jammu and Kashmir and in India to commit violence and create instability.

4.    Similarly, he thought, it for was people of Afghanistan to decide who should rule them. In his view, Pakistan must abandon this redundant policy of ‘strategic depth’; and stop good Talibans going to Afghanistan to commit acts of violence.

5.    In his view, this policy of good Taliban and bad Taliban; or good terrorist and a bad terrorist must end. Gun culture and promotion of extremism, intolerance and violence must end.

6.    He was aware of this fact that there was anxiety and resentment in Pakistani controlled Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan. He knew hearts and minds of people could be won by economic projects and by appropriately rewarding people.

7.    We expected, if he was to continue he would have started a dual carriage road to link all towns of Azad Kashmir with each other. That would have meant people of Azad Kashmir could visit their capital – Muzaffarabad, without first Pakistani capital – Islamabad.

8.    Also, it was expected that he would have started development projects in Gilgit Baltistan and built an international airport in Mirpur which could have benefitted Azad Kashmiri districts of Mirpur, Kotli, Bhimber; and Pakistani towns like Jhelum, Dina, Sarai Alamgir, Lala Musa, Khairan etc.

9.    By boosting trade and commerce, he wanted to link India, Afghanistan and Central Asia by network of roads. The friendly relations with these neighbours would have created a conducive environment which could have helped to resolve all outstanding disputes.

10. The CPEC, apart from other things would have brought China and Russia to Gwadar; and that was strongly despised by America, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE and many other countries.

11. I and some other like - minded citizens of Jammu and Kashmir wanted Nawaz Sharif to continue as Prime Minister of Pakistan, because he was a beacon of hope for peace and development in the region. Only through peace and policy of live and let live can promote economic and political stability in Pakistan and in the region.

12. Some of these projects or objectives were strongly detested by some powerful forces in Pakistan. They were also supported by the international establishment in this project of ousting the legally elected Prime Minister.

13. National and international establishment have won the first round; but they are also hurt. Their designs are exposed. Nawaz Sharif is down and wounded, but he is not knocked out. He will fight the might of the national establishment, and will to establish a civilian rule. The outcome of this may not be very good for him and his family because the establishment is determined to maintain their hold on levers of power; and teach him a lesson. He needs to tread very carefully, especially when FIR of Model Town murders is still active.

14. The Pakistani society is deeply divided in to two hostile camps. Political temperature, intolerance and hatred of each other appears to be not too different from that of 1970/71. The consequence of this tussle may not be very pleasant for people and future of Pakistan.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also, he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

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