The new government to be led by Nawaz Sharif will have to tread a very difficult path to manage, if not solve, the monumental problems that confront the Pakistani state and society.
With an expected fractured poll results, Pakistan is further heading towards uncertainty. The question is not so much as to who forms the next government but more importantly on how it functions. Chances are that the May 11 elections could well end up making Pakistan further ungovernable.
The Pakistanis are playing a high-stakes gamble, one in which they think the odds are stacked in their favour in a way that while they stand to gain a lot even if things don’t quite work in the way they imagine they won’t end up losing too much.
It is precisely Zardari’s ability to do the unthinkable that has consistently confounded both his detractors and admirers and given him the aura of great cunning and cleverness.
Regardless of the spin and gloss that Pakistan puts on the decision to re-open NATO supply lines to Afghanistan, it was in large measure the result of sustained US economic, political and diplomatic pressure.
India will remain a card in the hand of any future Afghan dispensation (whether Taliban or anti-Taliban) to strengthen its negotiating position with Pakistan.
Instead of taking leave of its senses every time someone from across the border coos sweet nothings, India needs to set metrics by which to judge Pakistan and then take steps to reciprocate any positive measures from the other side.
The Indian policy establishment needs to start factoring into its security calculus the fallout of a Talibanised Afghanistan and eventually a Talibanised Pakistan.