Letter to BS: Pak's biggest problem is lack of social, economic stability

This is with reference to “Facing Imran” (July 27). While I totally agree with all your beautifully articulated and logical arguments, allow me to differ with the conclusion, as reflected in the subtitle  “Pak’s policy towards India unlikely to change”. May be it is the optimist in me or my faith in the pragmatism of most disciplined leaders — as indeed Imran Khan (pictured) must be — having been a very successful sportsman. I can visualise, or at least dream about, a constructive and result oriented dialogue between him and our highly disciplined and practical leader — assuming that Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) win in 2019.

Pakistan’s biggest problem right now — as you have mentioned — is its “social and economic stability”. Its economy is in a shambles with hardly any growth in FY 18 and “yawning current account deficit of 5.7 per cent” and the almost insurmountable foreign debt, Khan’s first priority should — and would — be to change this situation. Enjoying the army’s support — as indeed he does — there’s a good chance that he can persuade the big guns to put other issues, including its illegal and covert overtures in Kashmir, on the back burner and give peace a chance. If he wants the International Monetary Fund loan, he will have to ensure some semblance of peace and civility on the borders.

He will have to concentrate on bolstering trade and that is good news for India. Greater stability in Pakistan — even if continues defacto under military rule — is good for us. Increased trade between the two countries, potential for which is enormous, can push back other matters like their state sponsored nefarious activities and skirmishes on the border. Indeed, big trade between the two countries can herald peace and also bring social stability in Pakistan.

Let’s look at the brighter side. Yes, he will “continue to be guided by the Army” but that itself can become an opportunity if this well-educated and charismatic man can succeed in convincing his bosses about the benefits of a new approach. They can continue to rule and plunder the country; only they will have much more to play with.

Krishan Kalra  Gurugram

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