Indian compulsion and obsession for Pakistan has several reasons but the most pertinent among them is its geographical location which make it strategically important in geopolitics of Indian subcontinent and the geo politics of west Asia and south Asia along with its implications on the international relations and global strategic realities always keep Pakistan in a situation where it cannot be ignored.
The geographical strategic location of Pakistan is important as it falls between a place where it borders with Afghanistan on one side and Iran with other side and given the whole West Asian politics and vested interest of big powers in this region ranging from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and India make it always to be stand as a necessary unavoidable player in the chess board of big powers and the power equations and internal power dynamics of Pakistan get changing according to the regional realities and the response of big powers to these realities .
The present political dynamic and internal power equations are facing the huge transition and turmoil in Pakistan and India always needs to have a constant vigil on the fast changing realities into the Pakistan.
The recent controversy which surrounded the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaj Sharif after the name of his family members surfaced in the famous “ Panama Papers” among those beneficiaries who have evaded the tax and transported their unaccounted money in offshore companies in those areas knows as tax heavens and since the name of his family members have surfaced Nawaj Sharif has come under huge pressure and his ongoing tussle with Pakistan Army and ISI has taken a new turn and most of the analysts look into the ongoing political debate in Pakistan as an another attempt from Pakistan army to dethrone Nawaj Sharif and take the total control of country but this conclusion is too simplistic and generic description of the circumstances in the ongoing turmoil and transition . There are something deeper into it and we need deeper study of these happenings and implications in Pakistan.
Although it has been the general understanding about Pakistan that it is almost a failed and rogue state which is heavily depends on its army and western powers to survive and no democratic structure has been able to take shape or it was not allowed to take shape since its formation but it would be too beyond the facts and truth to believe that Pakistan did not try to nurture democratic values or political culture on its own with its own definition and geo political realities, it did try and it is struggling till today to transform herself into a modern democratic state with modern standard.
The current transition and turmoil in Pakistan should be seen into this background with some historical background of political movements and cultures in this country.
There have three phases in the political history of Pakistan when democratic leadership with credibility and support of popular support tried to move Pakistan into the direction of democratic nationalism but every time this process was altered when geo political realities of the region and interest of the big powers found the blend of army and fundamentalism more suitable to push their interest rather than Nationalist democratic push to Pakistan.
First era of 1947to 1967- The stubborn attitude and support of Imperialistic agenda to divide the India into two parts to make Pakistan as new buffer nation state to stop the further advancement of USSR in Afghanistan and Indian subcontinent gave birth to a new nation in the name of Pakistan and immediately after its creation the then Viceroy of both India and Pakistan Lord Mountbatten when addressed the new born Pakistan on its independence day he told to Pakistan to forget about the past and look forward to develop them as new nation on modern standard and it would get the all possible assistance from western powers to build herself as new modern state .
Mohammad Ali Jinnah had very less time with him and in short period of time he could not be able to handover any political legacy or culture to Pakistan to move with that. After the demise of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Pakistan took the path of “Hate India” campaign with an effort to snatch the Kashmir on its claim for being a Muslim majority state as an extension of two nation theory and its ambition to stretch this struggle in more newly accommodated states in India who have Muslims populations as majority . Kashmir become the focal point of the Nationalism for Pakistan and new goal for the people of Pakistan to cherish with and immediately days after the creation of Pakistan to the late 60’s Pakistan army and its mercenaries tried to engage Indian state with several military adventurism with two point agenda on the one hand to keep country intact with euphoria of India hatred and on the other to provide Pakistan army the credibility of ruler among the people of Pakistan with inherent message that Army alone could safeguard the interest of Pakistan nation.
Second era of 1967to 1990’s – Although Pakistan engaged herself in Military adventurism with India on several occasions from 1947 to 1960’s but in 1967 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gradually shifted himself from military man to democratic leader and in 1967 he established the Pakistan people’s party and swayed away by the leftist ideology and found a merit in this ideology which could become the binding force among the people of Pakistan and since 1967 to 1979 when he was toppled by the Pakistan Army chief General Zia Ul Haque he tried to evolve a political legacy of progressive left with modern outlook but the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 again changed the geo strategic priorities in Pakistan as military establishment gripped under panic with growing influence of new Iran which they saw as potential threat to Saudi Arab and could create communal divide between shia and Sunnni sect on the other hand the Anti western tone of Iranian revolution had the every potential to develop its revolution into Pan Islamic political revolution with alternate ideology at the same time the threat of the growing ambitions of USSR in West Asia particularly in Afghanistan forced USA to changed its strategy from West Asia to South Asia and they again looked to Pakistan as their savior in this region to contain both Iran and USSR and USA along with other western powers tacitly supported the military dictatorship in Pakistan and ignited the hard core Sunni wahabbi Jihadi radicalization in the deeper state in to Pakistan to balance Iran and disintegrate USSR .
This era of 1979 to 1988 was the period when western powers courted the Pakistan army dictatorship and provided tacit support to them to allow the radicalization of the whole system in Pakistan.
Third Era of 1990 to 2016- In 1988 the Army dictator General Zia Ul Haque died in a place crash and the political dynamics as well as power equations in Pakistan changed and in the beginning of 1990’s the daughter of deceased Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Benazir Ali Bhutto came back to Pakistan and become the youngest Prime Minister of Pakistan but her western upbringing and outlook could not be digested by the radical elements within the state who had become the integral part of the political dynamics and power equations since General Zia allowed them to infiltrate in every sphere of life not only in army and intelligence but in other power sectors also who build the image of any state as soft power and the whole decade of 90’s begins with turmoil in Pakistan as Benazir Bhutto tried hard to win the confidence of radical fundamentalist elements in to her country and in that process she too abated the separatist insurgency in Kashmir and gave it Jihadi religious color to win the confidence of Army and Fundamentalists but she has to cede her political ground to Nawaj Sharif who too in the decade of 90’s emerged as political force with huge backing of radical fundamentalist and his radial fundamentalist tone and his attempts and conviction to replicate Sharia into constitution along with his close proximity with Saudi Kingdom made him more acceptable among the radical fundamentalists but his ambitions to alter the balance of power made him vulnerable to army coups because his proximity to Saudi Kingdom and his business empire always made Army and ISI insecure to making his roots more deep once he is allowed to retain power for a longer period.
In this turmoil and transition once again the global circumstances changed the political dynamics in to Pakistan and once 9\11 happened and the geo political priorities of USA and other western powers in this region changed the Army again become the savior for USA and other western powers .
But in the longer period of the third phase of Pakistan the loose confederation of various democratic institutions and civil society have become vocal inside the Pakistan and when Pakistan is now entering into its fourth phase of transition the power equations have become decentralized to some extent and the questions of terrorism, the threat of ethnic separatism converting into massive popular movements of disintegration and the loss of credibility of Pakistan as a nation and soft power in world community has weaken its strategic leverage in western world and now Pakistan is not in a position to bargain with them on its own terms but it has to negotiate and accommodate to others terms also and in this new scenario Nawaj Sharif is not the person of the moment .
Nawaj Sharif comes from the Punjab province and his most of the political capital and support belong to that province and his immense wealth and his ambition to hang on the political legacy for a long time with dynastic politics has created a kind of insecurity among the Army and ISI and they want new mascot for Pakistan in coming days who can give some credibility to political leadership in Pakistan with popular support and multi ethnic presence to be seen as truly democratic having a good working relations with army, intelligence and radical fundamentalists also at the same time who can provide a good credibility to Pakistan among world community with a new positive brand .
Imran Khan who has evolved himself in last two and half decades and learned from his mistakes fulfills most of this eligibility.
His Pashtun ethnicity and background of international exposure with glamour and western connect for his previous wife Jemima Goldsmith along with his history of Anti drone activism made him blend of a political activist who have evolved himself and learned from his experiences has become a symbol of New Pakistan who want to learn to become a nation with multi ethnicity with multiple voices and modern outlook.
It would be hard to imagine or predict how long Imran would succeed in his efforts but in last two and half decades he has evolved himself and the recent Panama Paper revelations on Nawaj Sharif has provided him a golden opportunity to change the political dynamics of Pakistan and put himself where Nawaj Sharif was in 90’s.