Former Pakistan cricket captain and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan is all set to become the new prime minister of the country after the PTI emerged the single largest party in the general elections held this week. With counting in a handful of seats still underway, PTI has already built up a sizeable advantage over the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
But media outlets in India remain sceptical of Imran, a day after his elevation to the prime minister's post was all but confirmed.
An editorial in Hindustan Times titled 'With Khan at helm, expect tension between India and Pakistan to go up' wrote that Imran Khan's India policy is no different from that of the Pakistan Army. "The frostiness in ties between the two neighbours is likely to continue. While India is clear that it will engage only after the neighbour walks the talk on terror, Khan underlined human rights violations in Kashmir and called it out as the 'core' issue," it wrote, adding that the only hope is that "he will want peace in the region to focus on his promise of building a 'naya Pakistan'".
The Hindu had similar views regarding an Imran Khan government. An editorial by Amit Baruah titled 'Imran Khan takes guard in new Pakistan innings' said it was "unlikely that a new civilian government will be better disposed towards New Delhi". "The establishment's new bet is Imran Khan, who has been very public in his praise for Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Officially, the army maintains that it has no role in the politics of Pakistan, but every observer of the country's politics is aware of its widespread role — from providing security to polling stations to conducting the country's census," it wrote.
It further brought up the PTI's manifesto for the elections, the part which spoke of resolving the Kashmir issue "within the parameters of the UN resolution".
The issue was also the central aspect of Geeta Mohan's piece titled 'Imran Khan bowls reverse swing on Indo-Pak ties' in India Today. "While Khan, who has been seen hobnobbing with terrorists during his poll campaign, did not mention this niggling issue when he was speaking about India, the fact is that the Narendra Modi administration, with just a year to go for general elections, will not be changing its stance that talks and terror can't go together," she wrote. "Imran's hand of friendship will have to be devoid of terror else peace will not have a chance neither bilaterally nor in Kashmir."
In The Times of India, meanwhile, Vivek Katju wrote a piece titled 'Can Imran Khan build a new Pakistan without curbing the groups that are tearing it apart?', in which he spoke of the role of the army in aiding Imran's rise. "It is clear that with the army's push, Imran will now be prime minister and control Punjab and KPK. But for all this, he is far from being an overarching leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or even Nawaz Sharif. For, he has won with the army’s support and the judiciary throwing Nawaz out of his way," Katju wrote.
That it was the PML-N's clash with the Pakistan establishment that paved the way for Imran Khan and PTI to claim the throne for themselves was explained further in The Indian Express as well, where Khaled Ahmed wrote an article titled 'Pakistan's new captain'. "Overthrow of the PML-N was on the cards because of its clash with the Pakistani establishment. The latter cleverly focused on the media to bring Khan to power. His PTI had lent a hand when the then army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, decided to take on the US over differences in Afghanistan. Khan's party helped in blocking the convoys taking crucial supplies to the US-led coalition in Afghanistan as Khan pronounced the Afghan war the 'wrong war' for Pakistan. He became a favourite of the Taliban — later chosen by them as their representative in peace talks with the PML-N government — who then helped by killing his electoral rivals in PK," Ahmed wrote.
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Updated Date: Jul 27, 2018 17:18:42 IST