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Like Modi, can Imran Khan bring about a drastic cabinet reshuffle?

WebdeskJul 14, 2021, 07:53 AM IST

Like Modi, can Imran Khan bring about a drastic cabinet reshuffle?


                                                                                                                                                                 Nirendra Dev

New Delhi: Whether the former cricket captain, Imran, has the permission of those in the military barracks is another issue that awaits an answer in the womb of time

Balochistan has strategic importance of its own both from a Pakistani and regional perspective.


It shares a border with Afghanistan and Iran and makes up nearly 44 percent of Pakistan's total landmass.


Hence Pakistan has been extra sensitive about this region though it has never done enough to keep the local population happy.


“I want to wish my Indian brothers and sisters a very happy Independence Day. The success they have made in the last 70 years makes Indians proud. We want them (Indians) to raise their voice for a free Balochistan. We need their support. Thank you and Jai Hind,” Baloch activist Atta Baloch had said in 2015.


Now that the Taliban is set to gain its territorial authority in Afghanistan–how things span out in Balochistan remains to be seen.


Last month there were reports that amid US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, there was increased violence in Balochistan province by 'Pakistan Taliban'.


Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan has already appointed Shahzain Bugti, Jamhoori Watan Party chief, as his special assistant to work for reconciliation in the province.


Pakistan has its own set of problems and limitations. Its both economic and diplomatic momentum is somehow lost.


Of course, there is a view that it can regain these to an extent if Islamabad comes out sincerely in the ‘fight against terror’–though Pakistan's double standards on the same are pretty well known.


In its sincerity to stem out terrorism lies Pakistan’s future and the leadership should also realize that its ‘soul’ also depends on the same.


Pakistan has sadly done away with its few golden opportunities when a decisive man like Prime Minister Narendra Modi went out of the way to give peace a chance.


Pathankot attack and Uri terror attack in 2016 are two of the nemesis on its part and, a future Pakistani leadership would always regret these.


While authorities in Pakistan including, the likes of its belligerent foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the army generals always take self consolation in presenting a different picture, the truth is ever since Pathankot and later Uri, Pakistan’s entire diplomatic skills have taken a beating.


A section of observers say in tune with the cabinet reshuffle undertaken by PM Modi, perhaps it is time for Imran Khan to replace Shah Mehmood Qureshi as his foreign minister.


But whether the former cricket captain, Imran, has the permission of those in the military barracks is another issue that awaits an answer in the womb of time.


Qureshi had faltered earlier, as in 2008, when the Mumbai siege had taken place, he was on a visit to New Delhi as a foreign minister under the then PM Yousaf Raza Gillani.


In fact, on Nov 27, 2008, Qureshi had shown the ‘audacity’ of walking into the Indian Women's Press Corps in Delhi unmindful, of the anguish in the streets of Delhi and Mumbai.


The then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had a tele chat with him, sounding his displeasure, and asked him to fly back to his country at the earliest.


Imran Khan has few others also in his cabinet. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary is another such character.


Of late, he has been throwing up sound-bytes about Balochistan leaving people stunned.


One such remark was that the government would negotiate only with Baloch groups who have no links with India.


This was contradicting Imran Khan himself.


The best of friends of Pakistan would advise it that in the changing global scenario and economic turmoil it has landed, the Pakistani ISI and the military must make fundamental and drastic efforts to cease the decades-old practice of using terrorism as a foreign policy tool.


ISI created even the Taliban and military to fight India.


In 2015, former Pak President Gen Pervez Musharraf had said that because the then Afghan President Hamid Karzai “had helped India stab Pakistan”, authorities in Islamabad had to “protect our (Pak) own interest”.


Seen as an admission of Pakistani involvement in helping the Taliban, Musharraf had also told‘The Guardian’ newspaper of London that: “In President Hamid Karzai’s times, yes, indeed, he was damaging Pakistan and therefore were working against his interest.”


Karzai had sent young Afghan officers to India for ‘training’ and had snubbed Pakistan by declining to take the offer for such training at Pakistan’s military academy at Abbottabad.


One reason for Pakistan to have trained and helped create the Taliban was because Karzai’s regime was full of non-Pashtuns, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.


Now concerning Balochistan and Pak Information Minister’s remarks, these were in confrontation with the mandate given to Shahzain Bugti by PM Imran Khan.


It is given that once ‘negotiations’ between Balochs and Pak government start–all ‘foreign’ influence on Baloch tribes would also weaken.


Sources indicate that Baloch organizations hiding in Afghanistan may face difficulties now that Taliban power is growing.


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