India, Panama and Pakistan’s internal normalization.
Gen. Raheel Sharif, speaking at a seminar on Tuesday about “peace and prosperity” in Balochistan and the transformational potential role of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, didn’t hold back about India.
“CPEC has also raised many eyebrows by those competing for influence in the region,” the Army chief said. “India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative. We all know that hostile intelligence agencies are averse to this grand project … Indian intelligence agency RAW is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan.”
The same evening, Geo News ran an interview with one Shehryar Niazi, said to be a former U.K. deputy head of mission in Pakistan, claiming he had documentary proof of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement party’s links to RAW. If and when aired, these documents will be held up as further evidence of the Indian agency using Pakistani agents to cause mayhem inside Pakistan, which has already caught an Indian citizen inciting violence and insurgency in Balochistan.
Sharif is recognized as an officer of great national responsibility. His Operation Zarb-e-Azb in heretofore no-go areas of North Waziristan has found approval not only among the masses of Pakistan but also in Western countries made vulnerable by the mischief radiating from our tribal areas. He has cleaned out the havens of horror where kidnapped Pakistanis were kept and sold, and retrieved cities (Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar) that had virtually fallen to the Taliban.
No other general has been so universally acclaimed in Pakistan even as he vows retirement by the end of this year. His main thrust is not so much against violence, which he is determined to wipe out, but the economic development of the country without which no victory will mean much. His Gwadar speech was devoted to the $46-billion CPEC project. He vowed to fight India’s announced opposition to it, but urged it to focus on cooperation not confrontation.
In the arena of national politics, meanwhile, it is all about confrontation. The opposition parties are organizing themselves for an Armageddon that may doom all efforts at internal normalization. In the background, a conscientious Chief Justice of Pakistan, Anwar Zaheer Jamali, is seen honestly portraying governance in Pakistan as a patient on crutches in dire need of cure. General Sharif is saying and doing all the right things. It’s now down to the political parties to make sure their shortsighted squabbles do not disrupt our security gains.