Shortsighted moves on trade

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There is absolutely no scenario in which Pakistan evolves from being the low-income country it is today to becoming a high-income or even a middle-income country without significantly more liberalized trade with India. So the news that the government of Pakistan has decided to suspend trade ties with India in response to New Delhi’s moves to eliminate the autonomy granted to Indian-administered Kashmir since the early 1950s.

As a business magazine, we at Profit seek to refrain from commenting on political matters, and hence we will not make any recommendations to the government on matters of foreign policy. However, we do believe that the move to suspend trade ties with India is likely highly shortsighted and we would beg the government to reconsider its position and explore alternative means to registering its protest against India’s latest moves in Kashmir.

For all of our history of antagonism, Pakistan and India share the ninth longest border in the world between any two countries, in addition to thousands of years of common history, culture, and language. All of those would predict a significantly larger volume of trade between the two countries than currently exists, a phenomenon that has been measured as one of the largest anomalies in global economics by some of the most renowned economists in the world, such as Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University in New York.

We do not wish to minimize the gravity of the events in Kashmir over the past few weeks. They are certainly serious and deserve attention. But the government of Pakistan’s first and foremost responsibility is to the 208 million people who are citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, not the 12.5 million people who live in the Indian-administered side of Kashmir. Any policy choices made by the government must carefully weigh the consequences on the people of Pakistan before those on any other part of the world.

Trade with India will unquestionably result in significantly expanded economic opportunity for ordinary Pakistanis, and may well precipitate better relations between the two countries. That path to peace must remain open, and we would urge the government to re-open it as soon as possible.

11 COMMENTS

  1. The basis of this entire article is that trade with India will lead to “expanded economic opportunity for ordinary Pakistanis”. Wow. And I thought there would be something substantial here.

    Anything that comes up in the author’s mind should not be put up in print/digital just for the heck of it.

    Also, this is a short term measure only which is more symbolic than anything. It is not going to change the destiny of ordinary Pakistanis. So to sum up, this article is a waste of words.

  2. What a waste of print space! Nothing new just old mantra of appeasing India. Selling your national pride, compromising basic human values to get a few more luxuries. Disappointed in your level of journalism PROFIT. Expected better from you.

  3. Mr Farooq Tirmizi is consistently making his bias against the current government obvious through his opinions. Nothing wrong in that but then you are giving him a lot of space which he does not deserve. His understanding of political economy is rudimentary. I would like you to vet people who are given space in your magazine for their professionalism and subject matter expertise.

    • Well said. He’s the same author who is prescribing the Govt to leave exchange rate and not try to control it at all, so that when it goes beyond 200 level due to massive hoarding and speculative buying, he would blame the government for their mismanagement. surprised to see so heavily biased pseudo economist writing for an established paper.

  4. Trading with India will lead to subservience to India, because they don’t wish to be a partner. They wish to be a regional hegemon. Why give them such leverage? In fact, Pakistani airspace should be closed to Indian airlines so that they must take lengthy detours and suffer losses to foreign carriers who would be allowed to continue using Pakistani airspace. Indian airlines can legally be singled out because of security reasons.

  5. What a stupid article. If you talk about economics, better talk about numbers to show how much Pakistan was benefiting from trade with India. We are actually running a heavy trade deficit with India as we only import from India and India is smart enough not to import much from us, so our exports to India are negligible.

    So unless you are sad that India can’t benefit from Pakistan’s trade ban, the article is so pointless it just shows how much this editor is against the current PTI govt that he is ignoring all the political and security issues between the two countries for something which is benefiting only one country at the moment.

  6. No evidence or numbers to back up his claim? Some of the comments on this article are more thoughtful then the actual OP.

  7. I don’t see how Pakistan will benefit from liberalized trade with India because India produces everything that we do at a lower cost. Hence, any liberalization will inevitably result in a negative trade balance and would consequently be catastrophic for our local industry. Without addressing these concerns, any call for liberalized trade between the two nations would be an empty one.

  8. Extremely disappointing article. No logical argument. No numerical evidence to back anything up. Speaks a lot about the level of this news source if the editor writes like this.

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