How Panama Papers leak has affected India-Pakistan peace process

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Just a few days after the Panama Papers leak revealed the names of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children having links with offshore companies, that country's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said the peace process between the two neighbours remained suspended.

He accused India of not showing interest of having comprehensive talks with Pakistan and also ruled out chances of an Indian investigation team visiting Pakistan in connection with the probe into the Pathankot terror attack of January this year. He also raked up the arrest of a 'RAW officer' in Balochistan to confirm Pakistan's suspicion about India's interest in the talks.

 

nawaz sharif

Just a few days ago, a team of Pakistani investigators arrived in Pathankot to probe the terror issue amid criticism from the ruling NDA's political opponents, including AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and now with the Pakistani high commissioner saying the Pakistani team's visit was not about reciprocity, Prime Minister Modi found the criticism taking even a more serious shape. [Advantage over Pak lost because of PM Modi's flip-flop, says Congress]

High commissioner's act 'at odds' with Pak govt for certain reasons 

The government tried to control the damage by saying Basit's remark was at odd with the Pakistani government's stand but there are certainly more than one reason that have created a new challenge for India.

PM Sharif is under pressure after the Panama Papers leak

The leaking of documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co has hurt Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif with the Opposition parties coming together to build pressure on him. Sharif's main rival Imran Khan, a former cricketer, has also been demanding n investigation into the issue. The country's media has also taken up this issue.

The biggest beneficiary of this episode has been the Pakistani Army led by General Raheel Sharif, who, as per reports, hasn't liked the growing proximity between the premiers of the two neighbours. It has been reported that the army chief himself had asked Basit to raise a voice which doesn't approve of the proposed peace talks between the two neighbours. The anti-India forces in Pakistan suspect that their PM has taken a soft stand on Kashmir and have taken an initiative to corner him.

The Panama Papers leak is thus a welcome development for these elements.

Lahore blast has also put Pak's civilian authorities in a spot

The Nawaz Sharif government's authority has also hit a wall following the March 27 terror blast in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province from where the premier belongs. Many suspect that the military launched a counter-attack against terrorist camps after the blast killed several people without the government's permission.

The Sharif government had been resisting a military operation in Punjab, fearing that the ruling PML(N) could lose its control in the home province but the army's retaliation after the blast now shows that the Sharif government hasn't succeeded much in gaining the trust of the country.

The Sharif government has faced serious criticism for failing to act in the wake of a series of terror attacks on soft targets in Pakistan like schools, universities and parks and now, the army has every opportunity to turn Sharif's weakness into its strength in the name of serving the nation's interest first.

Pak Army also targeting India-Iran proximity

Pakistan is also worried over the India-Iran connections. The arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian arrested on charges of spying, is a former navy official who was engaged in business at Chabahar port in Iran. Islamabad has reportedly asked Tehran to probe Jadhav's links in Iran though the latter expressed its displeasure over Pakistan leaking the news during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to Islamabad. India plays an important role in developing the strategically significant Chabahar port.

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