New York, Sept.24 (ANI): The joke goes in Islamabad that the country should be renamed Masaailistan, i.e. a country beset with issues.
Even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif headed to the United States for the 70th session of the UNGA and for bilateral meetings to be held on the sidelines of the multilateral summit, back home all that is expected of him is to internationalise the Kashmir issue, or as Pakistan puts it, the ‘Kashmir dispute’.
The United Jihad Council in Pakistan has requested the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to pass a resolution condemning the Indian Government on banning beef in Jammu and Kashmir, and has asked the Pakistani Prime Minister “to speak to other heads of state in New York about the ban being a human rights violation of the minority community in Jammu and Kashmir,” as reported by the Urdu press in Pakistan.
Sharif is truly caught between the devil and deep water. He has demands placed on him by the Jihadi establishment and by the army.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, has the Pakistani Prime Minister in a tight spot. The foreign office gets its orders from GHQ (General Headquarters) Rawalpindi and especially so on Kashmir and India matters.
Sharif and Sharif met last week to chalk out the agenda for the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States, though officially, it was supposed to be a briefing to the Prime Minister on the terror attack on Badaber airbase in Peshawar.
An exchange of dossiers with the Afghan side on TTP activities directed against Pakistan is on the cards.
This is another ‘masaail’ that is bothering the Sharif Government. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is not playing ball. The Pakistan Army is also furious with President Ghani’s warming up to India. Nawaz Sharif will have to deal with this once he gets back to Islamabad.
But when he is here in New York, and then, in Washington D C, he will also have to deal with the ‘masaail’ of the US anger over the Haqqani network’s ease of operation in Pakistan.
America is fast losing its patience with the Pakistani establishment, with senators and congressmen openly talking of the country being an ally from hell.
Trash talking Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump in a radio show said Pakistan “is a serious problem” quite like North Korea and “its mad man”. He even talked of a hypothetical situation of using India as check to Pakistan. It got Pakistani media all riled up, but there is little that Pakistani diplomats in D C can do to change the country’s image in the American capital.
Even during Sharif’s visit, no media interaction is planned for the Pakistan Prime Minister. Other than requests by some known hopefuls from the Indian media, there is nobody who is interested in what Pakistan has to say.
Writing in ‘Kawaish’, Shakar Solangi says that the Pakistan Prime Minister has to focus on domestic politics and dispel the notion that the crackdown on MQM and PPP is all his doing. This is yet another ‘masaail’ dogging Nawaz Sharif, says Solangi.
He says Sharif should take the initiative of uniting political parties rather than working to another script, alluding to the army’s constant divide and rule policy.
But the Pakistan Prime Minister seems least inclined to sort things out. Off late, he has seemed tired and lethargic, unable to shake off the morass that his administration has fallen into.
The media too is irritated with the Prime Minister’s constant habit of traveling abroad when things get sticky at home.
As per one report, Sharif is accompanied by over 300 people when he travels abroad which includes security staff, journalists and support staff that costs the national exchequer Rs. 4.6 million per day.
Pakistan does not expect its leaders to live frugally.
The Pakistan Prime Minister always stays at super deluxe hotels, though this time, the Waldorf Astoria’s presidential suite is being occupied by the Indian Prime Minister.
Sharif will have to settle for less. And maybe, use the side exit, if he wants to avoid bumping into the Indian Prime Minister in the hotel’s chandelier and plush carpeted lobby.
By Smita Prakash (ANI)