Translation is killing free trade

Pulling out of SAFTA is inimical to Pakistan’s interests. Yet…

Shahid Javed Burki sees signs that Pakistan will pull out of the South Asian Free Trade Argreement (SAFTA). He argues that this is ‘a mindless policy’ as it will do little to give Pakistan economic leverage over India.

India, observing the rules of (WTO) membership, gave the MFN status to all the countries it traded with; Pakistan refused to reciprocate and kept India out of its list. Several arguments have been put forward since that decision was taken as to why Pakistan was not ready to comply. Some of them are political and some economic. It is said that the term “most favoured nation” does not translate well into Urdu and that the grant of the status to India by Pakistan would lead to headlines in the Urdu press that would not be comfortable for Islamabad. The headlines would proclaim that Pakistan has declared India to be its most pasandeeda mulk, a description that would not sit well with some anti-India elements in the society.

Some years ago, Washington had the same problem with reference to China….(it) handled this recurrent problem by dropping the “most favoured nation” term from its legislative lexicon altogether. The term was replaced with the less emotive “normal trading relations” and the strategy worked. [Dawn]

7 thoughts on “Translation is killing free trade”

  1. Their economy is largely controlled by a few dozen feudal + business and oflate ex-General types. If more trade will break this monopoly and benefit the average Pak. citizen, then more power to it.

  2. Pakis are in a situation of awe towards Indian economic resurgence in the post reform period. Political and fundamentalist under currents in Pakistan dont want Indian path of development less bumpy and in a way are creating unnecessary suspicion among the SAARC countries which already fear to be overwhelmed open market trade policies under SAFTA.
    China has a history of being more pragmatic economially and diplomatically.

  3. I’d say more power to Pakistan…let them pull out. If they do, SAFTA will pull ahead with no more major obstruction and finally let the rest of South Asia benefit from India’s boom. And in the process, may be, pull the region out of the terrible sub-Saharan Africa HDI box.

  4. their irrationality is too scary to be funny..
    and then they wonder why pakistan gets no respect? [r.i.p. rodney dangerfield]

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  6. If it weren’t so serious, it would’ve been so hilarious.

    The Pakisstanis can’t imagine headlines where India is shown in favored light … I can almost see the headlines blaring….
    1. “Musharraf ne hindustan ko apne jigar ka sabse pasandeeda mulk bataya!!!!!”
    2. “Gaddari ki haden paar hui – hindustan sabse psandeeda mulk hua!”
    3. “Kashmir ke saath zyadti – Islamabad Hindustan se ja ishq ladaye!”
    etc etc etc. (:ED)

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