Favouring India isn't easy
For years India and Pakistan have been enemies and this has brought only misery. It is time for a change via trade.
Without cordial relations between Pakistan and India, peace in the Asian region will always remain a distant dream. Trade is the only thing that can tie the two nations together. We know that war is not the solution to our problems and we have realized this in over 60 years of enmity. Thus, it came as a relief to me and many others, I am sure, when a historical move on October 2, in the meeting of the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan approved a proposal granting India the status of “most favoured nation”.
The step has come at a time when terrorism in the region has strengthened its hold and the religious fundamentalists are revelling in their hate for India. Similarly, within India, Hindu fanatic organizations and their followers do not favour amicable relations between India with Pakistan. But the Pakistan’s government has taken a bold step in telling the public on both sides that it is high time to switch the “trend of hate” into “trend of love”.
The move towards declaring India as the MFN was not easy for the democratically elected government as it is fighting war against terrorism in tribal areas and other parts of the country. It is, however, a noteworthy step initiated by the government to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries that have fought two major wars and have suffered many minor rifts.
Lawmakers, diplomats, businessmen, human rights activists and peace lovers on both sides have welcomed the move and are expressing hope that - if finalized - the decision could enhance trade between the two countries and prove to be a milestone in confidence-building between the two nations. It could also potentially pave the road towards the resolution of all fundamental conflicts.
Appreciating the cabinet’s decision, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani has stated:
“Afghan Transit Trade Agreement and MFN for India are important steps towards reorienting Pakistan from martial to mercantile state.”
Member of the National Assembly Farahnaz Ispahani, presidential advisor, applauded the decision of her party’s government remarked that we needed peace in the region. She further said:
“It is a historical and long awaited decision that will have a positive impact on our economies and strengthen ties between Pakistan and India."
Baqir Hussain Syed, an expert from the tribal areas had said:
“For many it may be a compromise on the major conflict of Kashmir but for the sane it is a wise reciprocal step taken by the Government of Pakistan to boost economy in the larger interest of the country."
For a long time, both the countries have experienced enmity but have got nothing out of it. What did we reap in the wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971- nothing but loss of lives, fast deteriorating economy and instability of the region? We must realize now that geographically, socio-economically, culturally as well as religiously no two countries of the world have so much in common as India and Pakistan.
Only bilateral trade and commercial ties between India and Pakistan can bring the two countries closer. With growth in business ties, both countries would be able to work for the political and economic stability of each other and would certainly refrain from becoming part of any activity that could be harmful to regional peace. Trade can shun fears of war, ensure stability in the region, lend a hand in stemming terrorism and expand the scope for a solution to the Kashmir dispute.
The citizens and governments on both sides now should reject the culture of hate and should give up the blame game. They must now stand united for the sake of regional peace and security. It is the only way to hope for a prosperous and happier Asia.