Imran’s trust vote victory, which side of the coin it is?

It is not s good news for India, and in particular, for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who yearn for peace between the two countries.
Imran’s trust vote victory, which side of the coin it is?
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Two scenes were playing out, side by side, on Pakistani TV channels on Saturday, when Prime Minister Imran Khan took  vote of confidence  in the aftermath of a major setback to the ruling  Pakistan  Tehreek  Insaaf in the recently concluded  Senate elections. Pakistan's Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh had lost to  PPP candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The two scenes were inevitable as  Imran Khan was  seeking vote of confidence and the opposition parties that  operate under the umbrella  of  Pakistan Democratic Movement were seeking to hold a press conference to air their point of view on Imran Khan's  trust vote  in the specially convened  session of the National Assembly. The opposition's venue was outside the National Assembly, as it had boycotted the session that validated vote of confidence for the Imran Khan government. The opposition is fighting to oust the government there. The political troubles have been going on in Pakistan for years now, and these have intensified in the past few months, especially after the PDM launched oust-Imran Khan campaign late last year.

Even before the session began, it was clear that Imran Khan will win the vote of confidence. There were 180 members present in the House – the opposition was absent – so there was no technical hurdle in Prime Minister getting the mandate to rule for the rest of his term. While National Assembly scenes were playing out – the House was calm  and there were mixed display of emotions of half-smiles and anxieties among the  top leaders of PTI, including Prime Minister, there was a sudden change and the scenes shifted to the trouble outside the Assembly. The TV channels started reporting the vicious violence–show throwing and kicking of the opposition leaders, including women leaders, by the PTI workers, who, it appeared had come under a brief to shower shoes and all other ugly missiles on the opposition leaders.

Here a question arose; should the trust vote that Imran Khan won in the National Assembly by securing  178  votes, six more than the required simple majority  of 172 in the House of 342, be taken as a sign of vibrant  democracy. If so, how should be the unruly  behaviour of  PTI workers against the opposition leaders be described. If the Parliament showcased the democracy, sans opposition voices, the scenes outside reflected a dark picture of near anarchy. About the role of the police, Less said the better.

Technically, Imran Kahn has won the  vote of confidence, no quarrel with it, but  were the images outside of total chaos and confusion the other side of democracy that Imran Khan  government imposed on the TV screens to show its strength within and outside the House. It is not good news for India , and in particular, for the people of  Jammu and Kashmir who yearn for peace between the two countries. No one knows the importance of peace in the region than  the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have been the victim of the hostility between two nuclear powered neighbouring countries. The world also knows where the problem lies. While welcoming the joint statement of the February 24/25 Director General of  Military  Operations of  India and Pakistan, the US spoke very candidly and condemned the infiltration. In the region, everyone knows what is infiltration, who are the infiltrators and who sends them to this side of the border.

The real test of the renewed ceasefire agreement of November 2003 will lie in the figures of the infiltration this year. Mere silencing of guns will not serve the desired purpose. The infiltration can undo the whole thing in a matter of minutes and then there is no rolling back. It has been experienced in the first part of the ceasefire agreement that started getting frayed from January 2005 itself  before it collapsed in 2008 onwards.

Normally, the vote of confidence and the political upheaval  in Pakistan  should not matter at all, going by the doctrine of the " internal affair." I am also not going to take the plea that how Pakistan has been  commenting on the internal politics of India, but can the developments within Pakistan be ignored given the kind of relationship  Delhi and Islamabad  have with each other in which Kashmir figures so prominently.

Kashmir is an inescapable reality  in the Indo-Pak relations , and unless Pakistan is stable, no issue can be addressed logically and sensibly. There has been a bitter experience  in the past . Until the beginning of 2007 everything was going right . India and Pakistan were  closing  in on  an agreement  in which convergence of President  Pervez Musharraf's borderless Jammu and  Kashmir and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's " reducing  borders to lines on map"  was halted  with  lawyers' agitation in Pakistan. Singh had said that the "internal developments in Pakistan had put obstacles in the dialogue process." He had declared at a public meeting in border town of Akhnoor in Jammu on April 25, 2008.

But, there should be a unified effort to keep things on track . Now, Pakistan has an obligation to stablise itself before it can hope to further dialogue with India on the matters of mutual concern.

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