The moment news about a ceasefire agreement being reached between the Indian and Pakistan armies broke out, the ‘doves’ in India went into raptures and started demanding that New Delhi should immediately respond in a positive manner and push forward to resolve all outstanding issues with Islamabad.
The view that Pakistan appeared to be seriously smoking the peace pipe this time gained more strength when Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) announced its approval for allowing import of cotton and sugar from India. However, with Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet striking down this decision in less than 24 hours, it’s clear that optimism that Islamabad was serious about normalising relations with New Delhi was misplaced.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has defended the Cabinet’s decision on grounds that there can be no normalisation of ties until New Delhi reverses its decision to abrogate Article 370 of its constitution which gave “special status” to Jammu and Kashmir.
However, since this is exactly what Prime Minister Khan had said immediately after New Delhi revoked Article 370, why did ECC make the imports announcement is perplexing for two reasons- one, how could ECC take a decision that violated the government’s stated position on this issue? Two, since ECC works under directions of the government, how is it possible that it didn’t consult and obtain government approval before making this announcement? Thus, it’s apparent that there’s much more than what meets the eye!
Khan may be boasting of his government and the army being on the “same page,” but it’s no secret that the real power center of Pakistan is the army and not its legislature.