India-Pakistan peace process not easy: CPI-M

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) India and Pakistan have a long way to go before they can establish better relations, the CPI-M said Thursday.

It will also have to be seen if the Nawaz Sharif government will be able to persuade the ISI to halt cross-border terrorism, the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s mouthpiece People’s Democracy said in an editorial.

“The most crucial would be the equation this civilian government would have with the ISI which will determine if the declarations such as cross border interference is against the declared policy of the democratically elected government is implementable,” it said.

The CPI-M was commenting on the victory of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in elections, marking the first ever transfer of power by one civilian government to another in that country.

“Though democracy seems to have taken deeper roots in the fields of Pakistan, there is a long way to go to establish better relations between India and Pakistan,” the journal said.

It noted that key aides of Sharif had made public pronouncements that “cross border interference is against Sharif’s policy”.

The journal said: “Only time can confirm this.”

It added: “While we, in India, cannot afford to lower our guard, we can only wish Sharif all the best in meeting (the many) tasks at hand.

“As he is sworn-in as Pakistan prime minister for a third time, perhaps he will be third time lucky.”

It went on: “The civilian leadership’s equation with the Pakistani army and with the judiciary are crucial for strengthening the institutions of a democratic State.”

It noted that Pakistan had formidable challenges including on the economic front and that Islamabad would need US help to secure an IMF bailout.

Pakistan will also be worried about a future dispensation in Afghanistan once US troops withdraw.

“It has to be seen how persuasive Sharif would be in bringing the Pakistani Taliban to talk.”

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