Why India wants PTI to lose and PML-N to win the elections

Published: July 11, 2018

akistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) walks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after Modi's arrival in Lahore, Pakistan, December 25, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

South Asia is currently in a vortex of a very defining election season.

In India, though the General Elections are still 10 months away, the country has already started discussing the possibilities and predicting the outcome expected in 2019. The main question dominating all discussions is whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will emerge victorious for a second term. At stake next year in the world’s most populous democracy is the idea of India itself. Will the polls ensure the defeat of the divisive forces currently at work, or will we see further consolidation of the majoritarian agenda?

In the meantime, the upcoming General Elections in Pakistan have also been occupying the minds of many Indians. With new twists and turns unfolding every day, New Delhi is quietly watching the saga unfold in the nascent democracy of Pakistan.

The foremost question in the minds of many Pakistan-watchers in India is regarding the fate of Nawaz Sharif and his party, as we wonder what the consequences will be of the political marginalisation of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the Indo-Pak relationship.

For many Indians, it is surprising that Islamabad is witnessing a smooth democratic transition for the second time in the past decade. It breaks some of the deep-seated prejudices and preconceived notions that Indians have about Pakistan and its polity, as a majority of Indians believe democracy is an anathema to Pakistan, and that it cannot be governed by a democratically-elected government. For Indians – fed mostly by a visibly biased media – our western neighbour lives and thrives in chaos. But two back-to-back elections and democratic transitions present a new image of Pakistan to most Indians.

Many in India are also quite keen to know whether Imran Khan will be lucky this time around and finally become the prime minister of the Islamic Republic – a position he clearly desires. But if one were to ask who India is batting for, but not actually betting on, then Nawaz’s PML-N would be the instant favourite.

It’s not that Nawaz is seen as a messiah among the Indian people, but he is looked upon as someone who is pragmatic and an ardent believer in engagement and dialogue. Some commentators in New Delhi believe the Indian premier chose not to take the opportunity presented to him by Nawaz, which would have allowed the Indo-Pak relationship to reach a level of cordiality it greatly needs. Many peaceniks in New Delhi believe Modi failed to reciprocate the gesture that Nawaz showed towards him when he came to attend his swearing-in ceremony in 2014, despite domestic political constraints.

Thus, Nawaz enjoys a good image among the Indian masses, unlike many of his political competitors, and because of that so does his party. His political travails in Pakistan are discussed widely in the Indian media, particularly due to a recent interview, and popular opinion suggests he is more sinned against than sinning. There is also the belief that he has staked his political career for peace in the subcontinent, and therefore his party is best suited to maintain peace in the region by ensuring peace between Pakistan and India.

On the other hand, despite enjoying immense popularity in India, Imran suffers from a trust deficit amongst its populace. Conservative or liberal, most Indians generally feel Imran is not a good bet for peace in the region. He is seen as a man backed by the establishment, who would play hardball with New Delhi in order to stay relevant in politics. Some commentators also argue that Imran coming into power would lead to an escalation in the situation in Kashmir, whereas the efforts to stabilise Afghanistan will meet a dead-end.

What makes Imran an anti-hero in India is his political hobnobbing with extremist elements and his open challenge to progressive politics. Therefore, Indians are not so sanguine about a peaceful atmosphere in the subcontinent if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader comes to power in the upcoming elections.

Interestingly, no one in the Indian media is willing to discuss even the possibility of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) winning in the General Elections.

At a time when India is deeply polarised on the issue of Modi most likely winning another term in office, added complexity and deepening uncertainty in Pakistan’s electoral politics would only further confound the countrymen. Therefore, many liberal thinkers and peace-lovers in India would like to see the end of Modi’s regime in India, but the continuation of the incumbent in Pakistan. The reason is obvious: the former is seen as an anti-peace politician, while the latter is looked at as a pragmatic administration that believes in dialogue and engagement.

Undoubtedly, the upcoming election is very crucial to the political fate of Pakistan, and for Indians, the regime change in Islamabad is not just a matter of curiosity – it is paramount in directing the fate of the subcontinent.

Santosh Arora

Santosh Arora

The blogger is a journalist from India.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.sepia-paper.deviantart.com Muhammed Waqar Younis

    So basically its Victory for India if Nawaz wins and if Imran wins its Pakistan that has won,

    I’m voting for Imran thank you very much.Recommend

  • Rahul

    I hate to break this to you Mr. Arora, India is hardly polarized on the 2019 elections, most Indians regard Modi winning as fait accompli. As far as Imran is concerned, ZAB, Nawaz, Altaf etc. were all sponsored. We have all seen their fate once they showed some backbone. Imran will meet that same fate the moment he deviates from the line set for him. Pakistan’s problems go deeper than what the usual optics can fix. Pakistan has literally run out of sponsors with even China and Saudi Arabia keeping their distance. Pakistan prefers a weak political leadership with a beholden leader whom they have found in Imran but that will only deepen the political and economic crisis.Recommend

  • 16Dec71 .

    More than a U-turn Khan, most Indians perceive Imran Khan as a Taliban Khan who is being promoted. His insistence to open Taliban office in Pakistan and the “umpire ki ungli” episode was the start of that perception.Recommend

  • Striver

    Mr Arora lets just get the facts right. History proves that PK has always extended a hand of friendship towards India. Your country has shunned it because it does not want to talk about Kashmir.
    Further, you conveniently ignore that Benazir Bhutto in her naivety hoping for peace with India gave away a list containing names of Indian Sikhs. Your government used it as you kill-list. Not one of those the list is alive today.
    Furthermore, your government lost the best chance it has had in 70 years of PK-Ind history to resolve the Kashmir issue. Your military establishment was too short-sighted and had Musharraf’s plan rejected.

  • dean jones

    India Pakistan relations have been at their worst under Nawaz and Modi. There were frequent skirmishes on the border. There have been no cultural or sports ties. Not even an exchange of scholars. If this is considered a friendly relationship then I wonder what a bad relationship would be.Recommend

  • Masood Uttra

    I think, Indian government is seeing that Khan is a rigid personality so that he will cause difficulties for them as compared to Nawaz…Recommend

  • kp

    No we wish that Imran khan in power cause he seems to be the leader who can actually put terrorists behind bars and go forward for peace with Bharat despite the pressure of khalaai makhalooqRecommend

  • Patwari

    So sorry, but your Hindutva swamped facilities fail to see Mr. Arora’s reasoning.
    [Which is an article/blog par excellence, to say the least.]
    Short of a miracle, that has to be accepted from a nationalistic stalwart ‘sanghi’
    like you. Is that the Bajrang Dal song resounding in your ears? Or is it Jai Hind?
    Actually, it does not matter, because it’s leading to a dharmik katarapanthee,
    like yourself, inking yet another confused, rambling, oft repeated rant……Karma.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well, there is Modi Sarkar, your Saffron Lord, also known as The Butcher of Gujrat.
    With the blood of more than 2,300 massacred Muslims on his hands.
    This is not counting the weekly Muslim hangings from lamp posts, trees, temple doors…
    Oooops! Forgot. There is an ongoing Muslim Genocide in Bharati Occupied Kashmir,
    started and coordinated by Lord Modi Sarkar, currently occupying the Dilli throne.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    What makes you think that India can not turn around Imran as well???Recommend

  • Erlang

    I don’t understand that what’s the harm in trying one more political party if we have already being deceived by previous ones multiple times. My question to the supporters of nawaz and zardari is that how come you can be in favor of existing political setup if they have put pakistan in giant debt plus worsening situation with time.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    How does he know most Indians batting for PML-N? Has he taken any survey? Or is it just his guess or opinion? This is poor journalism. Most Indians are not even aware of Pakistani election dynamics. For them the regime change will not bring any change in the situation in South Asia. Things will remain same because next PM also will work with his hands tied.Recommend

  • Shah Khan KPK

    It’s not complicated as it seem to be, its very simple for india supporting nawaz, one he is the friend of a hindutva leader modi and his soft approach respon or silence for the hindu hardliners that hate Muslim of india, lynching of innocent muslims and the barbarism and brutality toward kashmiris.

    A biggest reason india wouldn’t want this country to have a sincere leader that stand firm against them on every platform with iron arms, make pakistan stronger in every aspect, progress and prosper this nation, India want pakistan to be stuck under the rule of these senseless looters such as nawaz zardari or any other corrupt regimes so indians can keep us under their arms weak incapacitate and debilitated.

    Right now these two nawaz zardari regimes and their entire teams are the worst corrupt looters in the history of pakistan. Their own and their cronies bank balances are skyrocketing and the poverty in this country are destroying the lives of millions.

    very unfortunate to see that some people even taking away their own lives and their loved one, million people suffer serious deprivation lack of food and hunger and two plunderers families and their cronies are playing with billions living like king in their palaces in foreign developed countries such as london dubai or usa or even in pakistan. their only interest is for their families and themselves. this is a greatest happiness for the enemy country that we remain under these brutal corrupt inhuman mafia and suffer continuously.

    penury in this country are making records, people are deprived from their basic rights whether law and order, health facilities or jobs nothing got better since decades of their rules

    India fear is with sincere honest leader this country pakistan will prosper and with prosperity this country economy and defence will become the strongest. even a kid knows india would not digest this prosperity for our country since they know strong pakistan is not in their interest.

    A humble request all the brothers, the authors the journalist and the editors of newspapers or tv please have mercy on this poor nation and stop writing in support of the mafia rulers, their wrong practices and some even supporters of the killers, (rao anwar case or some others) since they are their hitmen. since we need a beautiful strong Islamic country with everyone prosper and happy. the thug politicians don’t give a damn about the welfare of this nation, we need to demand that these people in power are brought to justice and get severe punishment and all their ill gotten wealth confiscated returned and used for the welfare of the nation.Recommend

  • New York- USA

    India wants to win Nawaz Sharif because he is India & Modhi’s puppet. Whereas, Imran Khan is sincere with Pakistan and it’s people. He will never sell Pakistan to Mohdi, that’s why India is upset and wants Nawaz Sharif to win. But this will never happen.Recommend

  • New York- USA

    Nawaz Sharif is India’s puppetRecommend

  • Salik

    Thats the entire purpose of printing this article, Tribune wants you to think a vote for PML N is a vote for India – cheap PTI propagandaRecommend

  • M adeel

    Pakistan needs a federation populas man who stand for equal growth on ethical bases
    Imran Khan suits the nation
    Secondly all the states head were sponcered and then licenced like u saw in US a democratic peer
    Pakistan has no sponcers like China, Saudi Arabia, it was common interests which decides the way forward as we saw in india by sidelining Russia
    India as regional actor must treat diagnosed diseases he neglected like Kashmir, and Minorities rights which has a deep effect on behavioral telt towards there interests and relations ,that is why the pillars states in world best know how to deal with these two states India, and Pakistan
    But we do not want to know or listen evenRecommend

  • Bharat Patel

    and may he succeed with all his promises, including opening Taliban offices in IslamabadRecommend

  • ABKhan

    I can only laugh at the article. The whole world knows Nawaz is the key sponsor of the groups like Sipah e Sahaba and yet other candidates are playing with extremist elementsRecommend

  • Manzoor Ahmed

    Wow if there was Guinness award for ignorance you would won hands down. Taliban was created during time of ppp Benazir Bhutto so Imran Khan was no where in politics at that time. America had opened Taliban office in Qatar to hold talks so are they Taliban America. Try not to expose your ignorance in public next time. Imran Khan wanted to isolate Taliban in KPK by inviting them to come on board and fight Taliban and extreme elements. U turn is when charter of democrazy was signed between arch rivals pml n and ppp when they got together one agenda corruption without any disturbance.Recommend

  • Stupid Intelligent

    Imran’s time will come as soon as he makes a slightly independent foreign policy statement. Nawaz paid the price for it.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    A propaganda article sponsored by PTI. Nobody in India knows of Pakistan elections, barring few trolls who read Tribune.Recommend

  • Manzoor Ahmed

    Lesson for India next time when betting on a horse race don’t put or invest your money on the donkey.Recommend

  • Raunaq Sarwar

    Don’t make to many assumptions. India cares hoot about your democracy.Doesn’t matter who wins. Come clean on terrorism before dialogue.Recommend

  • FAZ

    “As far as Imran is concerned, ZAB, Nawaz, Altaf etc. were all sponsored. We have all seen their fate once they showed some backbone”

    So just to clarify, ZAB, Nawaz and Altaaf were all Indian stooges and once they showed up their real colors they met with demise. Agreed indeed!Recommend

  • FAZ

    Before him Qatar has succeeded in opening the Taliban Office. Any comments? Or your thinking ability is limited to geographical boundries of Pakistan only?Recommend

  • Vinod chauhan

    Imran Khan is a serial cheater. He cheated and deceived many women. Very corrupt and untrustworthy.Recommend

  • Rashida Khan

    Putting Imran in charge of Pak will be like appointing a cat to guard the hen house.Recommend

  • Sri

    “For Indians – fed mostly by a visibly biased media – our western neighbour lives and thrives in chaos. ”

    Why’d a Indian speak from Pakistan narrative i mean neighbors how is india neighbor for author .

    For Pakistani very few India even don’t know there is a Hyderabad in Pakistan let alone geo politics is not something common in our society except you’re political student even they study mostly on west.

    So take this so called Santosh’s article with a pinch of salt. Recommend

  • Rahul

    Pakistan is still searching for Messiah after 70 years. Imran is the latest incarnation. He too is being set for failure because it is the problem with the system. Pakistan maintains armed forces 10 tomes larger than Bangladesh, a nation of comparable economic size. Bangladesh settled all its border disputes with India so it could grow and develop instead of spending all that money on armed forces. You can shout insults at me but that does not change ground realities. There are as many Muslims in India as in Pakistan, but no Indian Muslim has shown any desire to move to Pakistan in recent decades. Imran Khan’s election is in many ways more of the same because at least Nawaz and Zardari tried to fix the system in their timid ways but Imran, despite his bluster will not have the power to fix anything the way he is being anointed.Recommend

  • Tania Khan

    Remember someone from India said on tv that we have invested so much in Nawaz Sharif.Recommend

  • Tania Khan

    Your modi is terrorist himeslfRecommend

  • sterry

    The problem is that it bothers India to see Pakistan developing and prospering which is why Indians will stop at nothing to undermine stability in Pakistan – with CPEC under the current government, there has been a marked improvement in the basic infrastructure which is on the cusp of being translated into greater economic development and stability. The electricity shortfall has been largely addressed and overall terrorism is down despite the intrusion of Indian agents into KPK and Karachi. At this point it only makes sense for Indian agents to disrupt the development in Pakistan by using their agents who will destabilise the democratic process. After all Pakistan is one of the few Muslim democracies in the world which is improving with each democratic turn. Most Pakistanis like me care more about the democratic process that which party gets elected since we know the process is more important than the party. A good number of Pakistanis like me feel that Imran Khan will undue the progress the country has made since Imran Khan once referred to CPEC as a hoax or joke being played by Nawaz Sharif on the nation. We also remember that Imran Khan’s dharnas scared away Chinese and Turkish leaders and delayed CPEC. So if anything I would think that Imran Khan is ironically the first choice of those Indians who want to see a regressing and backward Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali

    India wants to see pot boiling in Pakistan and Nawaz is here to achieve that end. SIMPLERecommend

  • Someone

    In all honestly the most Indians are hardly aware of the fact that there are elections in Pak.Recommend

  • Someone

    Dude we literally don’t care who comes in power. No one in India is even aware that there are elections in PakRecommend

  • Patwari

    Humza, you forgot to bring up Sita White in rant.Recommend