It cost India Rs 2.86 lakh for the bear hug between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif when the Indian leader made a surprise stopover in Lahore in December 2015, according to news reports. This was the route navigation charge imposed by Pakistan on Modi’s special aircraft.

On the Pakistani side of the border, the bigger question would be: How much did the visit cost Nawaz Sharif? Possibly his political career.

The day after Narendra Modi’s visit, a reporter on national television lambasted Sharif for allowing the Indian premier and 120 officials to enter Pakistan without a visa. Since then, the attacks have been unrelenting.

Recently, Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hit out at Sharif for his “pro-India” policies and called for the implementation of the Kashmir Resolution. “Mian Sahab (Sharif) went to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony without any regard for how many Muslims he had murdered in Gujarat,” the young PPP chief said.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan, during a recent interview, observed that a new doctrine has surfaced in India whereby it is debilitating Pakistan from within as it cannot defeat the country militarily. “Sharif is speaking Modi’s language. Whenever we pressure the government, a blast takes place,” Khan said.

A former political aide to Khan, former information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani, was more candid: “The nation will reject Sharif’s recently declared ‘Friendship with India’ manifesto in the 2018 elections and take his politics to the dustbin of history.” The attacks have intensified after Sharif’s ouster as Prime Minister. Analysts say millions of rupees are being invested by different quarters in discrediting Sharif and his PML-N party. For his part, Sharif has not backed down from his stance on regional cooperation, but has become less vocal as the elections approach. So far, his strategy has been successful. It remains to be seen how much this will damage his party in the general election later this year.