Sir: Officially, there is no or minimal trade between India and Pakistan but, in reality, our market is flooded with Indian products ranging from biscuits, shampoo, hair oil, cosmetics, clothes, dairy products, electronic items, jewellery, etc. Go to any store located in posh residential area in the city or cantonment, from Karachi to Khyber and market is flooded with Indian made products. Indian alcoholic items are available all over country and even in clubs and hotels.
India’s export to UAE is in excess of US$ 56 Billion annually and we are party to patronizing them. A country like Pakistan where Import to Export ratio is tilted in favor of former and which faces diminishing foreign reserves, it is criminal for the State to let illegal trade occur which benefits our arch enemy India, which would not allow even a single Pakistan made item to be sold openly in their country.
Container loads of Indian produced items are being routed through UAE with false declaration or smuggled across our border and coast guard check-posts and crossings along our border with Iran or Afghanistan and coast line.
This cannot happen on this scale without connivance of state agencies deputed to stop this illegal trade. When ruling elite and retired or serving paid civil or uniformed public office holders hold Iqamas and property in UAE, than such illegal trade cannot be stopped. Even canned soft drink brands like Canada Dry Ginger Ale which is being bottled in India is being sold all over the country in cans where the country of manufacture is not mentioned. Indian bridal clothes are sold in boutiques all over Pakistan with tags of various popular local brand names.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Published in Daily Times, March 6th 2018.