You are on page 1of 1


aman ki asha Destination Peace



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Normalising bilateral trade will lend impetus to both economies

he intransigency between India and Pakistan, the two largest economies in South Asia, has had deleterious effect on intra-regional trade flows within the South Asia region but there are encouraging signs of improvement in trade relations, which will benefit both countries, said former Governor State Bank Pakistan Dr. Ishrat Husain. Dr. Husain, who heads the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, was presenting the Distinguished Lecture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), New Delhi on February 5, 2013. As a consequent of bilateral tensions, the region remains the least integrated region of the world, he said. South Asia was a single large unified market for goods and services until a few decades ago with sound infrastructure in form of railways, roads and ports. Dr Husain said that the correlation between trade, economic growth and poverty reduction is quite evident. He welcomed the recent breakthrough, which came in form of Pakistans decision to grant Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India and moving away from a highly restrictive positive list of items that could be imported from India to a negative list. Despite the delay in implementation, there are already some encouraging signs, he noted. Pakistans exports to India during April- December 2012 have jumped by 66 percent to $460 million while Indian exports to Pakistan rose by 16 percent. The South Asia Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) that both India and Pakistan has signed will gradually phase out all tariffs on traded goods with zero tariffs by 2016. India and Pakistan have also recently signed agreements addressing three key issues that have long plagued business in the region: standards and testing, custom clearance and dispute resolution, said Dr Husain. India and Pakistan have removed the restrictions on their citizens investing in the other country. In April, an integrated Border Post check between Attari and Wagah was inaugurated with modern facilities to allow many more trucks to cross the border daily. India has reduced the number of

Resumption of economic relations should be allowed without any preconditions, urged Dr Ishrat Husain, speaking in Delhi recently
Dr Ishrat Husain: correlation between trade, economic growth and poverty reduction is quite evident and develop an enabling competitive environment in which private sector can effectively function. Welcoming the recent move to improve the infrastructure at Wagah-Attari border, he said that other land routes such as Monabao-Khokharapar should also be opened up. He urged immediate action to implement the agreement on the opening of the bank branches of Indian banks in Pakistan and Pakistani banks in India. Another critical area on which restrictions should be immediately relaxed, he said, is telecommunication links between the two countries particularly mobile phone connections. He concluded with four main messages for the normalization of India-Pakistan trade. Firstly, that India Pakistan trade is a positive sum game in which both the countries will benefit. Secondly, both countries should handle the transition process and the risks in a proactive, pre-emptive and collaborative mode so that minor irritants and frictions do not snowball and result in the breakdown of trade relations Avoid sudden disruptions, abrupt retaliations and knee-jerk reactions. Do not make economic cooperation hostage to political differences and disputes. Third, strive to develop an enduring uninterruptible long term relationship through better trade facilitation, visa liberalization, people to people contacts, banking presence, telecommunication links, investment promotion, cultural, educational and scientific exchange. Dr Husain urged both governments to replace the usual South Asian bureaucracy-driven approach that is reactive, slow and ponderous by a more private sector-led approach for problem solving, dispute resolution, grievance redressal, and removing policy and institutional constraints and getting on with the job.

New Delhi: Panel at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), February 5, 2013 items that are prohibited for import from Pakistan by 30 percent. The President of Pakistan ratified a liberalised visa agreement that will allow for ease in travel of businessmen between both nations. The recent unfortunate incidents across the Line of Control and the subsequent media outbursts have given a setback to these relations showing the fragility and vulnerability of the process, he said. He expressed hope that relations will soon rebound. Greater trade with India offers an immediate and rich possibility of economic growth for Pakistan and India will also benefit as it is a positive sum game. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka would be much better off economically if they were able to penetrate the buoyant Indian market. Friendly, peaceful, and irritant-free neighbors would aid rather than hinder India in moving toward its long-term goals, enunciated periodically by its leaders. South Asia, a region with the highest number of people living below the poverty line, would surge ahead, he predicted. Giving details based on research, Dr Husain said that even if Pakistan is able to triple its exports to India, it will remain an insignificant player with no threat of any consequence to the vast and expanding Indian market and its share in Indias total trade is unlikely to exceed one percent. However, normalization of bilateral trade would not only lend impetus to both economies but will go well beyond the immediate creation of trade flows to capital investment and joint economic ventures, cooperation in the fields of IT, Science and Technology, Research and Development that would boost productivity of domestic industries and stimulate economic growth. He noted that other countries with adverse political relationships have engaged in cross-border investment, trade, and movement of people, without giving up their principled stand on disputes and differences. It is not necessary to wait to resume economic relations until bilateral political disputes are resolved, he said. If economic engagement is fierce and picks up steam, the hawks in each country may be confronted by the new stakeholders, who are benefiting from such engagement like investors, traders, transporters, bankers, and business groups working for firms in each others countries. Resumption of economic relations should be allowed without any preconditions, and without the countries giving up their respective negotiating positions on political disputes. Composite dialogue between India and Pakistan should carry on at the same time to resolve those disputes and disagreements. Dr Husain outlined an agenda for action, urging both countries to continue their reforms, adopt a Do No Harm attitude

Razia, Mira
By Shiralley Arzish
ozing in the warm sunshine of the summer of 1947, in the gardens of Sacred Heart School in Lahore, two teenage college friends Razia and Mira never knew that very soon, they would never be able to meet, ever again. The friendship they shared would be brutally sacrificed on the altars of political and religious hegemony. India was divided, so were Razia and Mira. Two new nation states were born amidst resentment and bloodshed. Humanity had never before witnessed such riots and mass level of human migration based on religious beliefs. Those two college girls were just a small part of this situation. In the summer of 1947, Razia was in Simla, a beloved hill town that she was destined to leave for what became Pakistan. But when she got there, Mira had left Lahore for India. The days they had shared were left in their memories or in those black and white photographs that I saw in a photo album treasured by my grandmother, Razia Sultana Chaudhary. There was an amusing story attached to each and every photograph. My grandmother, then a retired educationist, was one of the pioneers of the federal government school system in Pakistan. As I was grew up in the 1980s, her nostalgia would grip my imagination. She was my only connection to India since in those days, with only one national TV channel to watch, India wasnt even called by its name rather referred to as enemy state. Our schoolbooks bred hatred and grudges to make us better patriots. History was distorted to the level of brainwashing. We were not told that if Muslims were killed in 1947 so were Hindus and Sikhs. We were not told that our Father of Nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah wanted cordial relations with India similar to that of America and Canada. Unfortunately, borders were made not to protect basic human rights but to breed enmity. Our schoolbooks never taught us that 1971 was the direct consequence of our own worst political mistakes, made by our own undemocratic governments. Our books never taught us that Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs lived together for centuries maintaining their indentities, where Razia, Meera and Amit Kaur were best friends. India seemed very different through the eyes of my granny. Her nostalgia showed me the beauty of relationships and tolerance, which completely contradicted what we were taught in school. Entire generations were brainwashed. In other words hating India was directly understood as loving Pakistan. If you didnt hate India, your patriotism would be directly questioned. Deep down I knew that I dearly loved my country but I also secretly yearned for India. I inherited my grannys sense of loss. One day, while randomly browsing through the photos posted on the Aman ki Asha facebook group, I came across a blurred black and white photo captioned as Sacred Heart B.A 1947. To my utter surprise among those schoolgirls, I recognised my grandmother with all her college friends in the photo, posted by Nilendra Sarkar from Calcutta. Moved and amazed, I messaged him on facebook and he turned out to be a son of Mira, my grannys long lost friend. It came as a pleasant surprise to learn that my grannys friend Mira is very much alive and vividly remembers her Muslim friend Razia. Unfortunately my granny left us in 2003. She didnt live in the age of Aman ki Asha, when attempts are being made to erase the enmity between the two countries, opening new channels of love prosperity and co exsistence. She had this Asha (hope) for peace in her heart. This was the legacy she left her children and grandchildren. Razia and Mira are two characters symbolising those beautiful ties that were brutally severed in the name of politics and religion. Aman ki Asha is not only our hope for peace but also a step towards rediscovering that love and tolerance these two so-called enemy nations shared for centuries.


Aman ki Asha

The writer is a peace activist and works for religious and ethnic minorities of Pakistan. THE FIRST STEP LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
Feedback, contributions, photos, letters: Email: Fax: +92-21-3241-8343 Post: aman ki asha c/o The News, I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi

his is the photo for BA 1947 from Sacred Heart, the only missing one is my Ma, as she was sick.... wrote Nilendra Sarkar from Kolkatta, sharing this photograph on the Aman ki n Jan 26, 2012, Nilendra Sarkar posted Asha facebook group on Dec 18, 2012. Then he this photo with the note: Another one asked if anyone from Lahore recognised any one from Sacred Heart... leftmost one is from this group photo. my ma (sitting) right after their perforLAHORE wasi wake up look up at this photomance ... wearing my grandfather's shirt graph and identify yourself, added his photogand trousers. rapher friend Shilbhadra Datta, also from His mother Mira Nandita Dasgupta, Kolkatta. now 83 years old, lived at 10/8 Nisbet However, it wasnt until a couple of weeks Road, Lahore with her family. Her father that another group member, Shiralley Arzish, Manindra Dasgupta, was a journalist who while randomly scrolling through the group worked for the prestigious Civil and Milpostings, came across the photo. Gooditary Gazette. She remembers that her ness me Ive recognized my grandmother friend Razia Sultana was missing from Razia Sultana. I am getting very emotional this photo. right now thanks for uploading this pic Nilendra Sarkar, she commented. Her younger sister Ceresh A Ali also his pre-partition photo from Sacred Heart, posted to the Aman ki Asha recognized their nano, standing behind facebook group by Nilendra Sarkar, again does not include his mother she missed the bus but Razia Sultana is visible (third right). Ceresh: This on the left side (Standing, in second is absolutely the same picture we have of Nano from Sacred Heart, we found Nano's lost friend, having tears in my eyes. row from left, in white sweater and Nilendra: Absolutely, it is so emotional for both, me and Ma.. In fact she is sitting right beside me spent the afternoon hearing stories about Lahore and her colcoloured dupatta). lege days how beautiful Lahore was, how they spent their college days. Just now my Ma is saying that she (Razia Sultana) was very quiet and good looking, your Ceresh, show this to mom, Im Nano has a cousin Rashida, they used to come together to college. Ceresh, recalling some of her Nano's friend's names: Teji, Surraiya etc Tejwant Kaur (Teji) calling her, no ones receiving my was Amitabh's mother if I am not wrong?? call, urged Shiralley. The sisters, Ceresh and Shirally, in Islamabad and Lahore respectively, posting under the photo, began reminiscing about what their grandmother Razia Sultana Within minutes, Ceresh posted: (daughter of Barister Abdul Ghani, a member of the Indian Legislative Council) had told them about pre-partition days: Nilendra Sarkar, My mom is saying Ceresh: Nagpur ki thaali, Shimla ki greenery. th I shall upload them soon on Shirally: Kashmir kay lake houses - And how she and her family managed to escape from Shimla when partition was announced. AKA. Even in that time of turmoil, she brought her precious album of photos from Sacred Heart from Simla when she left for Pakistan Ramesh Kumar Gupta, a young Pakistani lawyer, another member of the discussion group joined the conversation with: The life of pre partition was great; when we remember it in our imagination we can miss and weep only This pic also shows people of different thoughts and ideologies, but how they are stand (together) in pic, that is really impressive. What a beautiful image. Hopeful faces, all. I am intrigued by the variety of dresses worn by the young ladies: Two styles of tying the saree, shalwar kameez, sharara-kameez, and frocks/skirts-blouses, observed Geetali Tare from India.aka

A peace initiative whose time has come... Destination Peace: A commitment by the Jang Group, Geo and The Times of India Group to create an enabling environment that brings the people of Pakistan and India closer together, contributing to genuine and durable peace with honour between our countries.