News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

News Headlines: 20/07/2022

• Imran Khan Wins Punjab Province
• US Exempts India from Sanctions

Imran Khan Wins Punjab Province

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has renewed his call for early elections after a stunning by-election upset saw his party take control of Pakistan’s crucial provincial – Punjab.

The by-elections were called after MPs from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were disqualified for switching allegiance in a vote to elect Mr Sharif’s son Hamza as Punjab chief minister. His PTI party won 15 of 20 seats up for grabs in Punjab, beating their arch-rivals the PML-N on their home ground. The result is a foretaste of what could happen in a general election due by October 2023, which Imran Khan is demanding should take place immediately. The result in Punjab is a major blow for current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who leads the PML-N. His already weak coalition government’s fate now hangs by a thread. Ever since Imran Khan was removed in a vote of no confidence, he has led an aggressive campaign where he even criticized the military leadership. By accusing the Sharif family of being part of a foreign plot, the military leadership were pushed onto the back foot as Imran Khan received the sympathy of the people and with the economy in freefall (which began under Imran Khan) its reached epidemic levels under Shabaz Sharif. By winning Punjab, Shabaz Sharif’s government hangs by a thread.

US Exempts India from Sanctions

US lawmakers have passed an exemption that removed any sanctions against India for purchasing Russian weapons. Countering America’s adversaries through Sanctions Act punishes nations that cooperate with Americas adversaries. Lawmakers say the waiver will allow for the strengthening of the US-Indian relationship. Whilst sanctions were applied upon Turkey for purchasing the same weapons system – the S400, from Russia, Turkey was placed on the sanctions list and kicked out from various defence programmes. The US has been courting India for decades. Since partition the US wanted India to be the front in the Cold War, but India’s rulers advocated remaining neutral and not taking any position in the Cold War. India subsequently saw a burgeoning relationship develop with the Soviet Union, especially on the defence front which has continued after the Soviet Union’s collapsed. The US supplied India with weapons during its 1963 war with China and attempted to woo India’s Congress party but it failed to win India over. Relations only changed after the Soviet Union collapsed and the emergence of the BJP in the 1990s. The US courted them only then did India’s leaders see the benefits in working with the US who wants India to be the policeman in the region and this fits with India’s ambitions. The agent rulers of the Muslim world are treated as abused mistresses when they work with the US. In the case of India the US relations with India is not one of a vassal nation, so it courts it by offering concessions as well as military and trade deals.