IT is futile to persist with talking to a country whose politics, society and economy are controlled by its Army and which will never abandon its policy of promoting cross-border terrorism. Corporate India must get real and simply enforce a total boycott of Pakistan. It will yield results.
Pakistan is one of the few places where the Army owns a country and runs it. This is an important issue since studies have found that a large number of corporates in Pakistan are ultimately owned by Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust, Bahria Foundation and Shaheen Foundation-all owned by the different wings of the Pakistani armed forces. More than three-fourths of the market capitalisation of the Karachi Stock Exchange is owned by the Army and related groups.
Hence do not try to think of Pakistan without its Army, whoever may be temporarily and nominally ruling that place. Also, significant portion of its GDP is due to Army-controlled entities. This is explained in detail by Ayesha Siddiqa in her book, Military Inc-Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, and one can easily say that Pakistan’s economy and its Army/ISI are synonymous. Unless this elementary fact is internalised we are not going anywhere.
In the last few years the Indian economy has been growing at a significant rate. It was valued at $ 1.22 trillion during 2008 and that of Pakistan at $ 168 billion in the same year. One can say that India’s GDP will continue to grow around 9-10 per cent per annum. And even assuming a growth rate of six per cent for that of Pakistan, we can estimate that within the next decade the annual additional GDP of India will be that of Pakistan. Individual States in India, particularly the larger ones, will be better off than Pakistan. Already the Pakistani rupee is nearly half the Indian rupee and Pakistan is slowly becoming an international basket case due to its excessive reliance on American, European and Saudi aid.
Pakistan, particularly its elite, has always visualised India to be a competitor, particularly through the India-Pakistan hyphenated relation. They have always wanted to establish ‘equality’ in terms of parity. But due to global developments and India’s growth and Pakistan’s role as the terror crucible of the world-it is now equated with Yemen and Somalia in terms of global threat perceptions and its citizens’ luggage is checked thrice in most airports. Instead of India-Pakistan what is being talked about is AfPak and India-China.
When recently-normally docile-FICCI produced a well-documented study titled National Security and Terrorism to deal with terrorism originating from that country, the Karachi Chambers of Commerce protested against it. Almost all terror attacks in any part of the world in the last decade have had a link with Pakistan.
Given the growth trajectory of the two countries, the Army-controlled country called Pakistan will get into a greater quagmire and will become more aggressive due to anger born out of jealousy. That will encourage the ISI and Army to increase terror attacks inside India. It is important to remember that young Army officers of Bangladesh liberation war vintage have all become senior Generals now and they would like to take revenge for the loss of their territory. Instead of direct war, they have found an excellent weapon in state- encouraged and state-sponsored terrorism by non-state actors like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Harkat-ul-Jihad and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Economically growing India has to deal with this. How?
There are three groups in India which are obsessed with friendship with Pakistan. The first group comprises elderly people born in that part before partition and who are nostalgic about Lahore havelis, halwa and mujra. The second group comprises Bollywood actors, directors and assorted outfits who look at Pakistan as a big market. Dawood Ibrahim’s gang has financed many of these useful idiots. The third group comprises bleeding heart liberals who hold candle light vigils and who cannot imagine India doing well without its ‘younger brother’ taken care of. All three have been proved wrong a hundred times but they unfortunately play an important role in moulding opinion.
If we want the world to treat Pakistan for what it is, then we should start practicing it. We must always recognise it as the ‘Terrorist State of Pakistan’ and never have any illusion that it is going to be any different. We should completely and comprehensively cut off all relations with Pakistan- economic, cultural, sports and all other aspects. Dawood Ibrahim-funded Bollywood may weep. South Africa was shamed and shunned for its policy of apartheid, so should Pakistan for practicing terrorism as a state policy. Unless we start completely boycotting the ‘Terrorist State of Pakistan’ we cannot ask others to do it. If we completely boycott the Pakistanis for a few years we will see the results. Their roots are Indic and not in Saudi Arabia.
If corporate India-including electronic and print media- starts practicing it, then we can see results in a few years. One hopes that India’s elite is listening and will not get carried away by asha for the demons.
(The writer is Professor of Finance at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The views expressed here do not reflect those of his organisation.)