Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, constitutionally established Pakistan as a democratic parliamentary republic, with its political system based on an elected form of governance. Today, it is dominated by military rule largely, with only traces of democratic governance. Since the first military coup in 1958, Pakistani people have spent several decades under military rule (1958 – 1971, 1977 – 1988, and 1999 – 2008).
Pakistan is going to the polls in 2018 and Mumbai attack mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, is looking to fight the election and become a lawmaker. He has been a radical proponent of an India without Kashmir. The Pakistani Islamist, if he becomes a part of Pakistan’s legal, mainstream politics, will up the ante and increase his attack on India with greater, legitimate powers. Although the Pakistan Government has asked the Supreme Court not to allow Hafiz to contest, it is only playing to the gallery. A politician Hafiz Saeed is a frightening prospect.
The Kashmir issue has affected both the Pakistani and Indian population to such an extent that they don’t see beyond Kashmir. The Pakistani political and military regimes have both capitalised on this sentiment to win elections. Now Pervez Musharraf, who has already lost his image as a political force to reckon with, is capitalising on it.
Immediately after the controversial release of Hafiz from house arrest, the ex-military dictator expressed his love for terrorist organisations, Lashkar-e Taiba and Jamaat-ud Dawa. Hafiz is the founder. “I am the greatest supporter of Lashkar and I know they (Lashkar and Jamaat-ud-Dawa) are fond of me.” It’s a mutual-admiration society. He reasoned it with the common agenda of resolving Kashmir issue in Pakistan’s favour. His open declaration of support for the extremist terrorist organisations was still within the ambit of belief. Considering he has inflicted war on India, he can get away with his thoughts. But what astonished many was his intention to get into a political alliance with LeT and JuD in 2018. He is hoping for Hafiz’s newly-launched party, the Milli Muslim League, to get the recognition as a national level party. Musharraf can then get on board.
After being defamed in Pakistan, his political career went downhill with very little chance of revival. He cannot align with any other national parties, but knows that public sentiment for Hafiz is growing in many parts of Pakistan, something that could give him political mileage.
Pakistan is developing, but at a very slow pace. It has crucial socio-economic agendas that that need attention. Instead, he is trying to legitimise a terrorist organisation and its leader in an already-affected country.
If Musharraf, who once led with an iron fist, succeeds in exploiting public sentiments in his favour by raising Kashmir and aligning with Hafiz, India should be ready for a very volatile opposition and actions from across the border. In Pakistan’s parliament and on its terrorist training grounds. It will be a threat not just to India, but to the world at large.
International community has raised its skeptical opinions of Pakistan’s careless attitude. This new development will make the situation hopeless.