Pakistan Army’s propensity for consistently subjecting India to entire spectrum of military conflict and provocations is a documented fact enabled by its conversion of Pakistan as a “Garrison State” to serve its political interests. In that direction, Pakistan Army has ensured that either it gets a PM of its choice to underwrite its adventurism or it effects a regime change of inconvenient Prime Ministers.
India in 2018 both geopolitically and militarily is strong to thwart any Pakistan Army military adventurism but gets restrained by its commitments to regional peace and security, unless provoked beyond limits. In terms of South Asian peace it is imperative that Pakistan has Prime Ministers who can be a dampener on Pakistan Army’s military adventurism. Such is not the case in July 2018 when Pakistan Army has imposed a ‘Selected Prime Minister’ in the persona of Imran Khan,
Pakistan’s preceding PM Nawaz Sharif whose electoral term should have ended rightfully in May 2018 was displaced in mid-2017 as he had become inconvenient for Pakistan Army because of his efforts to establish civilian political control over the Army and worked towards better relations with India. The modus operandi for regime change was a new phenomenon—-“Judicial Coup”.
Pakistan General Elections 2018 have thrown up a newer and more lethal combination for Indian security in the form of Pakistan Army-PM Imran Khan duo now heading a politically unstable nuclear weapons state and both these worthy entities steeped deep in proxy support to Pakistani Islamic Jihadi terrorists operating against India as part of Pakistan Army’s asymmetric conflict blueprint.
Pakistan PM-designate has failed to win even a simple majority despite contrived delay in election results. PM Imran Khan would therefore be forced to go in for shaky coalitions pre-empting him from undertaking strong political initiatives, least of all towards India. Imran Khan would be heavily dependent on Pakistan Army Generals for his continuance in office as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Regrettably, in India the news of Imran Khan’s emergence as Pakistani PM has elated India’s Pak-apologists lapping up the expected rhetoric from PM Imran Khan’s professions of peace with India. It was only the previous day that PM-to-be Imran Khan asserted forcefully that India under PM Modi wished to destroy the Pakistan Army and that not only Kashmir was the ‘Core Issue’ for Pakistan but expressed deep sympathy for sufferings of Kashmiris. The foregoing was oblivious to the reality that it was Pakistan Army and its notorious ISI agency that was generating terrorism in the Kashmir Valley and responsible for Kashmir Valley sufferings.
Kashmir Valley political leaders and the Separatists went wildly into cheers when yet to be officially designated PM Imran Khan designated Kashmir as Core Issue for Pakistan, borrowing a leaf from China on use of term ‘Core Issues”.
So what is Pakistan Army-PM Imran Khan presented from the Indian side are ‘Political Force Multipliers’ in the form of Indian Pak-apologists and Kashmir Valley political leaders always in cahoots or in fear of Separatists and their Pakistani -paid terrorists. With India’s General Elections scheduled for May 2019, the foregoing trends complicate Indian security.
Pakistan Army-PM Imran Khan duo emerges a as a deadly and lethal combination for India’s security. This lethal duo revels that their task of posing grave threats to Indian security would be as to what I would term as “Camouflaged & Gift Wrapped” by the swarm of Indian Pak-apologists ranging from those who wanted to enlist Pak support in Lahore for regime change of PM Modi to those who berate present- day India with intellectual delinquency with terms like “Hindu Pakistan” and “Hindu Taliban”.
Pakistan Army’s international reputation needs no introduction in terms of having fathered “Global Islamic Jihad” through establishing terrorist militia affiliates which have not only played havoc against India but also against their Muslim co-religionists in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army’s global notoriety in terms of nuclear proliferation to rogue regimes stands well-documented world-wide.
Pakistan Army’s obsessive and visceral hatred for India and all things Indian stands documented in the four Wars that it launched against India without any success. Pakistan’s proxy war and state-sponsored terrorism particularly in Kashmir Valley shows no abatement even after three decades of asymmetric warfare including deadly terror strikes deep within India.
While Former PM Nawaz Sharif was powerless in preventing Pakistan Army from fomenting widespread terrorism and unrest in Kashmir Valley, his very presence as PM of Pakistan with emphasis on good relations with India was existentially a dampener to Pakistan Army’s runaway military adventurism against India.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif could look Pakistan Army Generals in the eye because he notably rose to power on the basis of his massive electoral victory and not on the political largesse of Pakistan Army Generals.
Present Pakistani PM Imran Khan has risen to power as the preferred choice of Pakistan Army Generals and for whose elevation Pakistan General Elections 2018 was a cleverly orchestrated democratic facade while the Generals in cahoots with the Chief Justice sowed political minefields to prevent emergence of anyone else than PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
With the above contextual backdrop of emergence of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s PM would PM Imran Khan dare to see Pakistan Army Generals in the eye to whom he is beholden to for fulfilling his life-long burning ambition? The odds are against PM Imran Khan as he as an intelligent person would be conscious of the recent history of Nawaz Sharif being ousted from power by the Pakistan Army.
Can PM Imran Khan gamble with the Pakistan Army Generals on the strength of his “questionable electoral mandate” but as he himself would be personally conscious that his thumping electoral victory was a contrived and scripted one. Imran Khan as a famous cricketer may have bowled many ‘googlies’ against his opponents but can Imran Khan as PM bowl googlies against his Pakistan Army mentors?
Pakistan PM Imran Khan designate in terms of character analysis emerges as an “opportunistic politician” when it is account that he was anti-Army in his initial years of political life. His opportunism came to the fore in 2014 when previous Pak Army Chief Raheel Sharif goaded him to lay siege to Islamabad to politically embarrass then PM Nawaz Sharif. Thereafter, Imran Khan emerged as a Pakistani political leader amenable to be used by the Pakistan Army in execution of its blueprints against inconvenient Pakistani Prime Ministers.
Harking back to his cricket captaincy days Imran Khan Motivation for his team in matches against India was to turn the cricket match into a virtual ‘war against India’. If anti-Indianism hysteria whipping was the weapon on the cricket pitch then in terms of politics against India should we not expect the use of the same weapon by PM Imran Khan, putting aside the rhetoric?
India would greatly welcome if PM Imran Khan turns out otherwise. But the PM Imran Khan would have to then be ready to suffer the same fate that other inconvenient Pakistani PMs like Nawaz Sharif met at the hands of Pakistan Army Generals.
With the above presently resting in the fields of political speculation, India’s security establishment has to seriously deliberate and identify in which all areas threat enhancements could arise with the Pakistan Army-PM Imran Khan duo at the helm of the Pakistani nation?
Focussing entirely where security threat enhancements can be posed by the new Establishment in Pakistan, one would like to concentrate on three:
Kashmir Valley turbulence
China-Pakistan Axis intensification
Terrorist activities increase
PM designate Imran Khan has gone a step further on Kashmir Valley turbulence as compared to previous Pak PMs. Designating Kashmir issue as a “Core Issue’ for Pakistan, when analysed in Chinese connotations suggests that Pakistan would once again is ready to go to war to secure its political aims in Kashmir Valley. Short of actual war, Pakistan Army can be expected to now more freely indulge in escalation of border clashes along LOC and IB, increase funds to Kashmir Valley Separatists and to escape international condemnation incite more Valley- indigenous terrorist activities.
Pakistan Army has twin aims in the period upto Indian General Elections 2019 9 (1) Discredit PM Modi and the BJP (2) Raise Kashmir Valley turbulence to alarming levels both in terms of the foregoing and to facilitate Kashmir Valley secession.
More than terrorist incidents and suicide bombings what gets media notoriety for Pakistan Army is to organise attacks on Indian military camps and installations on the lines of the trend it initiated on attacks on the Pathankot Air Base and Army Garrisons around Jammu. Zero Tolerance by India should be the norm and instant retaliation the deterrence.
Notably, PM-designate Imran Khan totally skipped any references to “Terrorism” in his first speech when despite contrary claims Pakistan Army Generals proclaim to the world that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism.
The China –Pakistan Axis is a done thing now and the only thing remaining is for Pakistan to concretize this in more substantial terms. The Indian policy establishment would be naïve if it expects that with more personal diplomacy China can be brought around by India to apply restraint on Pakistan Army.
Pakistan’s economic dependency on China is likely to increase as US-dominated global financial institutions would not bail out Pakistan without substantial ‘quid pro quos’. It is for nothing that China rather surprisingly in a rare coincidence with Imran Khan designated as Pakistan Army’s preferred PM announced a $2 Billion bail-out package for Pakistan’s failing economy.
Since mid-2014 by and large Pakistani state sponsored terrorism through its Jihadi affiliates has focussed more in Kashmir Valley. In tandem with intensification of terrorism in Kashmir Valley, the Indian security establishment should expect a return of Pak-inspired and Pak-paid terror strikes in Heartland India, especially on sensitive installations. Fomenting communal violence and disorder through Pakistani sleeper cells both in North India and now more in South India should not come as a surprise.
Indian intelligence agencies have to work and be alert 24/7 to foil such Pakistani attempts and ‘Pak sleeper cells’ masquerading under ‘democratic names’ be neutralised. Counter-terrorism apparatus may need expansion both in terms of manpower and firepower.
In terms of Imran Khan’s India policy, India already has had a taste of it with Shah Mohd,. Qureshi tipped as the Foreign Minister.
One parting shot before concluding and that is to ask a question from the host of Pak-apologists within India jumping to wrong conclusions that PM Imran Khan’s offer to extend the hand of dialogue with India should be grasped and that is what substantive proof do they have that this is not one more habitual sequential offers that all Pakistani PMs make when they assume office? Further, what substantive proof do they have to offer to PM Modi is that unlike other Pakistani PMs of the past, Imran Khan has the confidence and moral conviction to carry it through? They do not have any such proofs. It is their self-induced delusions on Pakistan with cursory visits to Pakistan politicians that are in play.
Quoted in my first Book was the definition of peace and which has a negative definition and that is “Absence of War”. Pakistan Army’s demonstrated record of over seven decades pointedly demonstrates that for them it is only conflict with India in whatever dimensions, that justifies imposing a “Garrison State” existence on the hapless people of Pakistan yearning for democracy and economic development.
Contextually therefore, with the manner in which Imran Khan emerges as Prime Minister of Pakistan in July 2018, it is evident that neither have the mindsets of Pakistan Army changed on India nor is PM Imran Khan in a position to do so. The major Conclusion, therefore, notwithstanding the vocal demands of Pak-apologists in India’s so-called liberalist glitterati, is for PM Modi and the Indian policy establishment not to initiate any political reachout to the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, precariously placed in political power.
(Article is published from the South Asian Analysis Group – Paper No.6401. Authored by Dr Subhash Kapila)