Life can only be understood
backwards but it must be lived forwards.
A man cannot touch his
neighbours heart with anything less than his own.
Mans greatest blunder has been
trying to make peace with the skies instead of making peace with his neighbours.
We are not only neighbours
geographically but neighbours as far as statistics of economic development are concerned,
Three subsequent wars have only
added to the stars of partition.
Neither India of today is what
Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of, neither Pakistan what Quaid-e-Azam dreamt of.
We have to empower people at the
village level to speak up and unless we do that politicians will have their own agenda.
The budget allocation that we have
for defence, both in India and Pakistan, is at the cost of the common man.
Mr. Khorakiwala pointed
out that the "market" and the business community of both the counties can play a
substantial role in improving the ties between the two neighbour counties. "Its
the market economy that we have to look forward to because business of business is
During the entire length of his speech, he supported his
progressive viewpoint of the two countries forgetting their past differences and working
towards the common goal of uplifting the socio-eonomic state of its common people.
He presented a comparison of the economic
parameters and statistics of India and Pakistan viz. a viz. eleven other countries
developing countries of the South Asian region including Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Thailand, Vietnam etc.
The analysis shows that both India and Pakistan are very
similar in terms of statistics of economic order. With Pakistan having $440 GNP/capita and
12.2% inflation and India having $310 GNP/capita and 8.2%, they rank 7th and 8th,
respectively in the 11-nation comparison. India, however, is better off in terms of
their literacy rate and child mortality compared to Pakistan. However, compared to other
countries of the block, both the nations are pretty far behind. The speaker emphasised the
need for understanding the real causes of the low levels of our economies as we both have
abundant and excellent human resources.
|$ GNP per capita
|Child mortality under 5 yrs
|Human development Index
|* The figures were stated by the speaker in 1997
The speaker also pointed out that we have
essentially the same culture and if we are serious about peace, we should rely less on
arms and more on heads. "We have lived together for centuries, we are people of the
same stock. Why allow 50 years of partition to divide us and mistrust each others
In this regard, he urged the civil society, comprising
of non-political people to come together as a powerful institution in order to (a) create
public opinion, (b) ensure that the politicians govern well, and (c) act as a pressure
Remarking on the co-ordination and exchange of
information, facts and data banks among the NGOs in Sindh and Punjab, he regretted that
such a co-operation does not exist among the NGOs in India and theyve certainly
leant an important lesson today.
He also acknowledged the role of dirty politics, played
by the politicians on both sides of the border, which has deepened the divide in the name
of religion. Since he was the Sheriff of Bombay during the time that Babri mosque riots
took place, he spoke from his experiences. His observation has been that the Indian
politicians dont understand their Muslim electorate well. He said that the Indian
politicians were surprised to learn in a meeting of religious leader, following the riots,
when he informed them about the injunction of Hub-ul-Watan min al Imaan which
means that a Muslims faith is incomplete without patriotism for his homeland. Thus,
he concluded that a colossal misunderstanding and misinformation is also responsible for
this ethnic divide. Yet, he says that he wouldnt blame the politicians for that as
it is also the responsibility of the Muslims in India to inform their Indian colleagues
about what Islam is and what it really means.
However, making this point of bridging the information
lag, he moved towards presenting his viewpoint of means to resolving the conflict. Coming
from a business background, he feels that in the past, economy has been driven by
politics. However, in the present post-liberalisation era, it is time that politics be
economy driven. There should be effective partnerships between the governments and the
businesses of the two countries and within the countries themselves.
In this regard, he also pointed out the commonality of
vested interests of these two entities (i.e. government and businesses) and that this
vested interest is not necessarily a bad thing. The politicians want to remain in power
and want to be re-elected and for that they work towards eliminating literacy, poverty and
improving health and education standards. When this is successfully achieved, the economic
standing of the common man is improved and he acquires extra purchasing power, which
translates into greater profits for the businesses. Therefore, this inter-connection
should be exploited for the benefit of the common man.
He also addressed the issue of Kashmir, which is
perceived by many as a roadblock in improving the estranged relations between the two
counties. The respected speaker was of the view to let the Kashmir issue be simultaneously
resolved. That we need to stop treating Kashmir as a piece of real estate that needs to be
bargained upon and that the people of Kashmir should be given the choice to decide their
Therefore, by not allowing the Kashmir issue to hinder
effective resolution of the conflict, Mr. Khorakiwala suggested that visa restrictions
between the countries should be relaxed and there should be a free movement of goods and
people to boost trade. Also, whatever is allowed to be imported from other countries
should be allowed to be imported from within our two countries. The consumer in Pakistan
has to pay a much higher price for a good of Indian origin that is imported into Pakistan
from Dubai or Singapore and vice versa. If free trade is allowed, the people of both the
countries will benefit.