Pakistan's continuous attacks across the Line of Control (LoC) is a consequence of the massive churning that is taking place in its politics since a democratically elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office in May this year.
What is the dynamics which is causing these relentless attacks across the LoC? Harming India's interests are definitely the targets of the mischief-makers but is that the only reason why the Pakistani military has suddenly intensified the ceasefire violations?
More than India, the target is Sharif's own government in Pakistan for it is perhaps the only quarter in Pakistan's entire power structure and all those forces who hate to give peace and harmony a chance in South Asia are hell-bent to spoil Sharif's third term as the prime minister.
There are three broad areas where the civilian government of Sharif has been eyeing for a change and hence facing a massive backlash at home and the spillover effect is being felt across the border in India.
Relation with India
First is relation with India. The Pakistani military is in no mood to let the Sharif regime walk off with the laurels of having made peace with arch-rivals India and is desperate to reassert its control on foreign policy matters. Sharif, on the other hand, although is said to be soft on terror elements, but he is eager to mend relations with New Delhi for various reasons.
He had made meaningful steps on this issue in the late 1990s but faced a terrible betray from the men in uniform led by former dictator Pervez Musharraf. Sharif is not ready to let the chance go make history, no matter how difficult the road is.
Sharif has other compulsions to force peace with India. As a democratic leader of his country, he knows that Pakistan today is placed on the brink of collapse. The economy is in doldrums, power sector has failed miserably and industry and agriculture sectors are about to shut. Like any accountable leader, Sharif knows that politics of bullet won't serve the purpose and he has been meeting foreign leaders to woo inflow of capital but few people have obliged him, citing the hopeless security situation in the country. But Sharif badly requires an economic turnaround.
He knows the potential of forging an economic tie-up with India (his government has shown inclination to buy power from Gujarat) and needs to approve the Most-Favoured Nation status for India so that the bilateral trade between the two countries gets a boost.
Once the relation progresses, there will be more demand to hasten the trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes and also undertake strong action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror outfit backed by the army. So before these positives get materialised, the Pakistani Army and its affiliates have been making all possible efforts to kill all hopes.
The second is the Afghanistan question. Sharif, just like he tried peace with India in 1999, is also known for his pro-peace initiatives in the disturbed Afghanistan in the early 1990s, during his first stint as the prime minister of Pakistan. Today, the pale scenario in Afghanistan sees in him a facilitator for peace, particularly with the withdrawal of the western forces not far and the talks with the Taliban failing to take off on the desired lines.
But again like in 1992, Sharif's hard work was ruined by people in Pakistan and Afghanistan who did not back his plan. Afghanistan perished in the days that followed and is yet to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Sharif's return to power could see peace getting a fresh opportunity. But the question is: Will he succeed to win over the aggressive Pakistani Taliban and the non-cooperative army to ensure that the ship is directed in the right direction? Those unwilling to see a peaceful Afghanistan have already started re-igniting Kashmir problem with the Afghan one, posing double challenges for Sharif and lot of headaches for the Indian Army.
Question of domestic terrorism
Close to the above points is the question of terrorism. The Sharif government is focusing on a counter-terrorism strategy, something which is not common in Pakistan, for unless he succeeds to settle the security policy at home, other key socio-economic developments of his country will remain unaccomplished.
The interior minister of Pakistan has acknowledged the magnitude of the problem and the importance to tackle it and sought to take inputs from various experts to proceed on this aspect. This is perhaps the first time that the Pakistani civilian government is trying to break free of the army's influence in matters of security and assert its voice. But it won't be easy to rein in those extremist forces against whom the ruling elites of the country (both military and civilian) had encouraged in the past for short-term gains and it is seen how elements have been going all out to derail prospects of talks between India and Pakistan.
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