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Enhancing Pak-India Trade Ties

Raza Rumi

Notwithstanding Pakistan’s internal challenges or the ‘war on terror’ in its backyard, the troubled relationship with India continues to drive its internal and external policies. Pakistan’s mighty military is essentially trained to counter the bigger neighbour and imagines India to be the greatest threat.

In recent years, there have been signs of some shifts in military’s worldview but these shifts are yet to filter down into the institutional structures: the way strategic calculations are made and ‘threat perception’ is determined. Despite these structural constraints, the political elites have resolved to undo the bitter legacy of the past and push for improved trade ties and continued dialogue with the archenemy. At times the enthusiasm of Pakistani politicians appears to be at variance with the views of Indian political class, which seems divided on how to transact this bilateral relationship.

Since the election of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister in June 2013, domestic terrorism and skirmishes at the Line of Control (LoC) have prevented any major development to take place. In fact by the end of 2013, many feared that the modest gains (trade and visa liberalization) made in the past few years had been reversed due to the continued hostilities at the border. […]

February 26th, 2014|India, Indo Pak peace|0 Comments

Recognising the shift in Pakistan’s India policy

An Editorial for the Express Tribune

The silver lining of the current Pakistan-India stand-off is that Pakistan’s Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif remains committed to his visionary policy of making progress in peacebuilding with our traditional rival. PM Sharif has been consistent about his resolve to build bridges with India and bolster economic cooperation between the two countries and in a gesture of goodwill, his government  has taken the right decision to release 365 Indian prisoners, which include 340 fishermen and 25 crewmembers of Indian vessels. Prior to the 2013 elections, PM Sharif made exceptionally bold statements on moving forward with the peace process. In particular, he assured India that Pakistani soil will not be used against India. This was a tacit message that earlier cases of Pakistani militants’ carrying out terrorist attacks in India would be addressed by his regime.

The recent escalation at the Line of Control (LoC) started when five Indian soldiers were killed. Initially, the Indian government claimed that the attackers were militants dressed in the Pakistan Army uniform. However, within days, the official stance changed and once again the Pakistan Army was blamed. Since then, the two sides have indulged in reckless behaviour by firing at each other, resulting in the death and injuries of soldiers on both sides. The public opinion in India, fuelled by irresponsible sections of the media, is restive and unforgiving. This has jeopardised the future of composite dialogue as well as the potential of the two prime ministers meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September. At the heart of the matter is the asymmetry between the domestic approaches to the peace process in both countries. In Pakistan, there is a near-consensus that peace has to be secured. The army has deferred to this growing public mood. As PM Sharif said in his interview given to the UK’S Telegraph a few days ago, India-bashing is out of fashion in Pakistan. The elections of 2013 and even the by-elections completed on August 22 did not mention India as an issue. In fact, the by-elections took place amid heightened tensions and not a single party or its candidate made an issue of it.


Indo-Pak ‘film wars’

—by Khaled Ahmed (Daily Times)

Filming the Line of Control: the Indo-Pak Relationship through the Cinematic Lens; Edited by Meenakshi Bharat & Nirmal Kumar;
Routledge 2008; Pp239;
Price Rs 650 Indian; Available in bookstores in Pakistan

If you have been put off by Indian films featuring Indian commandos defeating Pakistan Army and carrying away Muslim beauties helplessly in love with their derring-do from across the border, read this book to see how the Indian intellectual too has been put off by Bollywood’s anti-Pakistan blockbusters.

One hopes that not too many Indians have watched old PTV war dramas showing nubile Kashmiri Hindu girls smitten with the mujahideen-type Pakistani warriors whose honesty and sexual constraint contrast starkly with the base cunning of their ugly bodi-sporting Brahman fathers. Pakistani films too did this but one can’t recall too many of them, except one in which veteran actor Yusuf Khan meaninglessly slaughters hundreds of Hindus and covers the screen with gore. […]

April 23rd, 2009|Personal|2 Comments