INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

February 2, 2015

ANTITHESIS TO OBAMA’S HUG Pakistan’s Power Potential

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 7:30 am
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President Obama’s visit to India and the unlimited technological, military and economic cooperation between the two countries have mixed reactions. A lame duck US President has assured India positions in UNSC, Nuclear Suppliers Group, naval outreach up to the APEC Arc and a license to boost nuclear technologies. In return, India is poised to exercise controls through its envisaged blue water navy from Suez to Straits of Malacca extendable to South China Sea and perhaps Sea of Japan. The ghost of Arakan Wars will come to live and the spirit of Mahabharata will move beyond the Indian Rim to the Pacific. Is India’s dream of becoming a super power around the corner?

India shall bridge the CENTCOM and Pacific Military Command forming a formidable RIM around Middle East, South Asia and APEC. Russian re-emergence and Chinese potential to become a formidable military power by 2025 will be pre-empted. Pakistan, the only irritant would fade away due to internal strife, economic manipulation by its corrupt elites; and strangle by India through Afghanistan. Russian and Chinese trade would be vulnerable to bottlenecks. The world will become a safer place and crucial environmental issues handled with finesse. Narendra Modi would have rediscovered and accomplished Nehru’s thesis, ‘Discovery of India’.

This ambitious hypothesis appears ominous on many counts. Across the extremes of Indo-Pakistan’s ideological divides, it spells challenges for Russia and China. Reactions will come. Japan after the December elections is already poised to ride out the Guilt Clauses of World War II to pursue a new security policy. The cooperation is likely to hasten a conventional and nuclear arms race in South Asia. Pakistan with its limited resources will be forced to shore its strategic interests through unprecedented investments in defence and nuclear technology. With a live line of control any escalations could run berserk. Hope against hopes, Pakistan like Paul Kennedy’s ‘Rise and Fall of Great Empires’ would crumble under the weight of its own establishment.

However, the biggest hole in the Indo-US Thesis is Pakistan’s realised Power Potential? If achieved, Indian ambitions of dominance will evaporate in thin air. Rather than ‘Rimland Theory’ of Nicholas John Spykman, Pakistan shall contain India.

In tandem with this dramatized diplomacy, good tiding and promise blew across Pakistan through unexpected quarters. David M Darst of Morgan Stanley in a talk said, “Pakistan is among those nine countries in Asia that will add another China in the next 35 years and the impact of this change will be phenomenal on the world economy,” He went on, “I am surprised to see low number of investors in the bourses of Pakistan. This must change considering the strong fundamentals of Pakistani stocks…With a young population of an average age of 22 years, the opportunities that the young entrepreneurs from Pakistan have are going to make an exceptional contribution to the economy of the region.” He is right. Thanks for telling us what we ourselves fail to realise and believe. Pakistan’s power potential is exponential.

Matching India gun to gun was never an astute recipe for Pakistan’s security. Rather, a vibrant and sound economy reduces Pakistan’s vulnerabilities. If Pakistan grows on sustainable basis for the next few years, it will be able to spend far more on its security requirements. ‘Beyond strong fundamentals of Pakistani stocks’ as asserted by Morgan Stanley, strong and diverse existing fundamentals can jump start economic recovery. Ten Years hence, Pakistan can become an agricultural and energy giant with industrialisation high in value addition. To prevent overheating, Pakistan has the capability to consume and export what it produces. This potential begets immediate tapping.

Pakistan’s real potential far exceeds statistics. According to a study by NAB, Pakistan’s daily slippages at Rs. 12 Billion per day account for a national loss of Rs. 4.38 Trillion per annum. This doubles the national budget outlay from Rs4.3 trillion to Rs. 8.68, overhauling the budget deficit of 4.9%. The Defence Budget allocation drops from 16.28% to 8.06 %. Loan liabilities decrease significantly while all borrowing comes to a halt. Pakistan by exercising control and vigilance within its existing potential suddenly becomes a vibrant economy.  Surplus can be pumped into human resource, infrastructure, energy and exploration. Add unregulated sectors and a miracle begins to emerge through honesty, transparency and regulation.

Water and agriculture management have the potential to raise Pakistan’s GDP within a year by 1-1.5 %. New varieties of Zarquraish can make Pakistan a cotton surplus country; an all-weather cotton hybrid with unprecedented quality yields year round even in arid areas. Vast agricultural wasteland in Punjab, KPK, Sindh and Balochistan can become cotton havens. Correct channelizing of river systems and flood waters to reservoirs and waste lands can bring a green revolution to Choolistan, Nara and Thar Deserts. Proper siting of 30 delay action check dams in Balochistan can green the parched expanses. Addition of Kalabagh and Basha Dams will add manifold to the potential. Pakistan becomes the biggest producer of fruits, cotton, linseed oil and canola.

Within two years lignite coal refineries in Thar can begin producing, oils, natural gas, LPG, ethanol fuels, briquettes, fertilizer and power, reducing reliance on imports. Within 5 years, the Kohlu Block can add 16 Billion Cu Ft to the national grid while the pumping of crude oil would eliminate imports. Add the hydrocarbon reservoirs in KPK, Pakistan’s potential eclipses Middle East. Pakistan would not need gas and oil pipelines from Central Asia or Iran obviating international interference. Thatta, Karachi, Port Qasim and Gawadar would become cities of future.

Copper, gold, antimony, iron and chromite excavations can make Pakistan world’s leading producer of rare earth minerals along the entire Tethyan Belt from Balochistan to Chitral-Swat. The foundries and small industries of Sialkot, Faisalabad, Wazirabad and Gujranwala will dominate world trade in sports gear and instruments once again. Precious minerals will eclipse South Africa.

The industrial boost to Pakistan’s economy is beyond imagination. Textile, metallurgy, oil and gas, fertilizer and pharmaceutical sectors will grow manifold. Unemployment and crime will go down significantly. Economic interdependence will bond the diversity. The entire nation will galvanise into a power house.

So rather than over analyse the Indo-US relationship, Pakistan should get to the task of putting its house in order. Within five years Pakistan will be in a position to export cheapest oil, gas and other materials to India’s work horses.

The future lies in Pakistan’s undeniable economic potential and not its military prowess that in any case will increase manifold. The nation must Rise and Respond.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson. Email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

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