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Can democratic elected Pakistan govern positive relationship with India?
General elections in Pakistan were held on May 11, 2013, with Nawaz Sharif being declared the new Prime Minister of the country. Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid voiced out his hope that India and Pakistan would improve their relationship and work closely on political, social and economic issues that are common to both the countries. Nawaz Sharif is all set for a third term as a Prime Minister after his first and second terms from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999 respectively.
It is the first time in Pakistan’s history that an elected government has completed its term of five years and has been succeeded by another elected government. It is said that countries with similar ideologies have a higher probability of becoming allies.
This is because they share common goals and have similar working styles and ruling mechanisms. After Nawaz Sharif was declared the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated him and invited him to India for peace talks with regard to India-Pakistan border issues.
Nawaz Sharif recently expressed his will and desire to resume the implementation of the Lahore Declaration, which is seen as a shared vision of stability and peace between India and Pakistan.
Both the countries hope for strong economic and political ties for the benefit of the people and security in the region. Pakistan and the world have come to realise that dictatorship and authoritarian rule are not key to maintaining regional stability and economic improvement.
India witnessed strained bilateral ties with Pakistan when the latter was under military or authoritarian rule. Democratic countries are generally peaceful in nature. So, it is hoped that both India and Pakistan, now with a democratically elected government, will sort out border issues peacefully instead of resorting to violence.
Nawaz Sharif’s victory is indicative of the confidence of the Pakistani people in democracy. Nawaz Sharif has promised his countrymen that upon his election, he will eradicate corruption and violence. These strike a chord with the Indian government too, which promotes and propagates non-violence and democratic values.
Even US President Barack Obama welcomed Nawaz Sharif’s victory with open arms and expressed hope that Pakistan and the US will forge a long term relationship that is sustainable. During his previous terms as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif had worked closely with former US President Clinton to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India.
After Nawaz Sharif left the political arena, relations between India and Pakistan went downhill. So, it is now up to Nawaz Sharif to save the relationship between India and Pakistan as well as Pakistan and the rest of the world.
Nawaz Sharif is not in favour of Pakistan participating in the war on terror and the drone programme. He believes in negotiating with the Taliban to eradicate the rising militancy in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif and the newly elected government’s views are liberal and not radical like former governments.
So, the people of Pakistan, India and the rest of the world have high hopes on the future of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif and his government have a lot on their plate; yet, the world is confident that Pakistan will rise above corruption and violence and govern a better relationship with its neighbouring countries, especially India.