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Economic Options for Pakistan

Economic Options for Pakistan

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Political Economy
Political Economy

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Published by: Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri on Nov 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Economic options for Pakistan
Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri
The economic interests of Pakistan dictate that it will either have to joinany economic grouping on the pattern of European Union or enhance itstrade relations with the countries of the SAARC by transforming theorganization into a coherent organization. The inclusion of China and Iranalso appears to be a realistic possibility as the politics of bloc is takingroot across the globe. Europe had integrated into a Union at the righttime and has now reached a position wherefrom it is threatening for theUS economy. The Iranian decision to use Euro for its trade with Europedealt a sever blow to the US dollar. The Bloc Politics has proven to bevery beneficial for the member countries. We also need to take up thisroute and for that, we will have to open up our borders and enter intonew trade arrangements with the world. The countries of the EuropeanUnion put their mutual differences at the backburner and moved ahead.We will also have to do the same. SAARC also reached certainagreements within the member countries but they could not beimplemented in true letter and spirit.We can approach the subject from two angles i.e. integration andinclusion of certain new countries in the reinvigorated SAARC. Theeconomic angle involves the common market, which will be instrumentalin cutting down unemployment. Every country has its own nationalinterests and industries, which face the prospect of being threatened andthat can be discussed. For example the textile industry of China and Indiais far ahead of Pakistan's. As a result, Pakistan's textile industry is on thelosing side. So when these countries decide to get associated in the formof a bloc, all these things can be discussed.There are two countries, India and China, in the neighbourhood of Pakistan, so huge are their economies that they have the potential of devouring the small economies. Germany and France had antagonisticrelations and were each other's enemies but when they hit upon the ideaof joining their respective forces for their common goal i.e. economicdevelopment, they put their differences at the backburner and movedahead. The result is the formation of the European Union.People may object here to my inclusion of China in any such economicUnion by saying that we have religious and cultural differences withChina. Two or three factors are important in this regard. There are noreligious barriers in Europe. The differences in cultural matters were alsovery minimal. The number of countries in European Union was 10 but
after the participation of 15 countries of the East Europe, who arerelatively poor, it has reached 25. The countries like Germany and Franceare having to face problems but they have worked out 10-year planaccording to which these countries will be spending certain portion of theirincomes on the uplift of the poor countries of the Europe. This speaksvolumes of the commitment of these countries towards the improvementof socio-economic conditions of their brethren in Europe.So far as India and Pakistan are concerned, there are, no doubt, culturaland religious differences among them. But the policy of keeping theborders shut is not a solution to protecting your religious values. We areconfused over the issue of national identity. The problem is that we havenot got any nationalistic leadership. Whoever came to hold the mantle of power turned out to be corrupt and self-serving. Therefore religion is notan issue in that sense. All we need to do is to realize that getting togetheron one platform is a compulsion now. The question of reaping theeconomic gains from the collective efforts should be seen without itsreference to religion. The best example is the good economic relationshipenjoyed by Iran and India. We are refusing to enter into the era of science and technology in the name of religion. It is a different matterthat our religion does not hinder us from doing that.Iran has never been a part of Arab land nor will it be able to. There is ahuge difference of opinions between Arab countries and Iran. China is agiant in economic terms. It has a large population which China hastransformed into an asset. India is a developing economy and is in aposition to support the countries like Nepal and Bhutan. So when SouthAsia will be ready to form economic grouping, Iran will not commit ablunder of staying out. The proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipelineproject is a case in point.The question may arise as to the possibility of large economies being athreat to the small economies. Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh may befearful of China. When you join each other in the form of a bloc, itbecomes clear that whatever progress you could have achieved in yourindustry, you achieved. If Pakistan has not been able to strengthen itsindustry in the last 60 years, it cannot do that now. If it thinks that it cando that, then, it is a pipedream. Times are gone now. For example ourtextile industry is faced with difficulties since 2005 and has beendemanding concessions from the government. And we do not have thepotential to make it competitive globally.So in order to succeed, we will have to seek cooperation from othercountries. Pakistan should try to explore its avenues in terms of its strong

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