The results of Pakistan elections held on July 25 went along expected lines and the cricket super star turned politician Imran Khan, after a long struggle of about 22 years, left established political parties far behind with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaaf party getting 114 of the 272 seats. Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) got 64 seats and Pakistan People’s Party 43 only. With Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf gaining 114, Imran needs 22 members to join his coalition for simple majority. Global observers were not satisfied with the process of election and said it was flawed. The majority of them said while voting was fair, the counting was rigged. They also objected to the campaign and said there was no level playing field. The furore was raised by the major opposition and small parties but they are now reported to have conceded their defeat. Imran Khan is reportedly set to be sworn in as the Prime Minister of the country on August 11, four days before the Independence Day of the country. In his victory address, the new captain of the country while speaking about the current problems facing the country, also spoke about Indo-Pak relations. He said if India takes one step, he would take two to come closer. About long pending Kashmir dispute he said it could be sorted out through negotiations across the table. India hoped he would ensure peace in South Asia. In its reaction, India said, “We hope the new government of Pakistan will work constructively to build a safe, stable, secure and developed South Asia free of terror and violence”. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reported to have greeted the would-be Prime Minister of Pakistan and was happy that people of Pakistan had reposed their faith in democracy.
Though Imran Khan was critical of Pak Army before and during the poll campaign there is ample evidence that there had been a covert understanding between the Army and the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf. It is an irony of circumstances that Pakistan Army has always called shots directly or indirectly. Pak Army Generals ruled the country for greater part of Independence, but since ZiaulHaq, who hanged the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for a made up crime, the Army got too bold to take the mantle to rule the country this way or that. This time the Army’s judgment was somewhat the prediction of the pulse of the people who were woefully disappointed with the two major parties of the country. Hence the inclination towards the Imran’s party. With the majority support to the PTI, people revived democracy, but they are helpless as their government would be forced to work under the shadow of the Army.
Imran Khan may take an initiative of friendship, but he cannot displease the Army. India is also facing elections and we have to wait for the new government to come and formalize its attitude towards Pakistan. The present government has reiterated its stand that there would be no peace initiative until and unless the proxy war across the border came to an end. For any change of status quo of the bilateral ties, we have to wait.