"The poll outcome shows that the common man judges a government more by its economic policies than its ideology," he says.
The BJP’s Hindutva agenda has a parallel in Nawaz Sharif’s Shariat bill – critics caution him against enforcing it on people who feel religion is too important an issue to entrust the state with. "The peoples of Pakistan and India can safeguard their faiths so long as their governments don’t interfere with their social and moral values and do not discriminate against them on that basis," says Idris.
For Pakistani bureaucrats already engaged in dialogue with their Indian counterparts on several issues, though, it was business as usual as both sides continued meetings in Islamabad , this time on the Lahore-New Delhi bus service.
But at least one senior foreign office official isn’t too complacent. "Weak governments in Delhi suit no one. There’s a high risk that (Prime Minister Atal Behari) Vajpayee might go for adventurism in Kashmir to divert attention. Remember, we can never rule out a war between the two states....