With news of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification, in New Delhi, South Block officials on Friday spent monitoring and watching the developments there. Sources said that the Ministry of External Affairs is expected to submit a briefing report for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Sources said that while charges of corruption is not new on Pakistan’s political leadership, the assessment in New Delhi is that military will have an “upper hand” over the political class in the game of thrones in Islamabad.
What is worrying New Delhi is that since Pakistan’s powerful military has to assert its influence and play to the gallery, India’s former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav may become the casualty in the process. “Sharif’s government has been consistently undermined by the Pakistan’s military for the last couple of years, and the latest verdict may give more power to the military to flex its muscles,” a source said.
“The preliminary analysis here is that the political leadership has been undermined by the military, and the judiciary seems to be playing along,” an Indian government source said.
While there was no official word on Sharif’s resignation from the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi’s assessment was clear: there was no ruling out of his ability to bounce back from the current situation.
Having survived a coup, an exile and prison, many in Delhi said that underestimating Sharif’s ability to recover lost ground will be a big mistake.
Though Sharif has been asked to step down, sources said his party’s mandate remains strong in Parliament, and — barring Imran Khan-led PTI — Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-led Pakistan People’s Party are unlikely to support the military’s efforts go for any regime change.
“This latest verdict also introduces a period of instability in Pakistan’s politics, and anti-India terror groups may use the political vacuum to target India. That’s one of our concerns,” another source in the security establishment, who has been tasked to analyse the events in Pakistan, said.
Prof Ajay Darshan Behera from academy of international studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, “Nawaz Sharif had been an irritant in Pakistan army’s control over foreign policy, and he had different ideas when it comes to relations with India.”
But, he said that Sharif is a strong political family, and can make a comeback. “Nothing can be ruled out in Pakistan,” Behera, who is one of Pakistan experts, said.