Main Page





India & Pakistan...



home.jpg (6816 bytes)


home.jpg (3800 bytes)


home.jpg (6503 bytes)


home.jpg (6695 bytes)

Women Studies

edu.jpg (8984 bytes)

Issues in Education

home.jpg (7893 bytes)

Literature & Scholarship


Parables of Love


About Us


Mr Khorakiwala (India)

4 Civil society and conflict resolution

Khorakiwala | Khaled Ahmed | Poonam Barua | Haroon Ahmed | Navnita Chedha Behera | Kaiser Bengali Rainer Adams | DISCUSSION | SESSION CONTENTS | HOME


Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.

A man cannot touch his neighbour’s heart with anything less than his own.

Man’s 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, also.

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. "It’s the market economy that we have to look forward to because business of business is business."

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 440 310
Inflation 12.2 % 8.2 %
Life expectancy 62 yrs 61 yrs
Literacy rate 35 % 52 %
Child mortality under 5 yrs 137 124
Human development Index 0.393 0.382

* 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 other’s intention?"

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 group.

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 they’ve 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 don’t 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 Muslim’s 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 wouldn’t 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 own future.

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.

TOP ||

Hit Counter HOME | Chronicle | Pakistan - India   | History | Religion | Iqbal | Cinema | Women Studies
Issues in Education | Literature and scolarship | Parables Of Love | Contact | About