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WAGAH FENCE TO VANISH

"WAGAH FENCE BOUND TO VANISH IN 10 YEARS" so said a Swedish Scholar 15 years ago


 


State's hold on trade, commerce and economy stands  rejected through the demise of USSR. The lndian experiment  of protected entrepreneurship has collapsed as is evident from  the disinvestment policy of the government. Open international  trade has got such a boost that many European countries have  practically openend their borders. Multinational companies are  moving in everywhere and their slogan is "Peace is good for  business". Obviously they do not invest in such regions where  peace is threatened and indirectly work as a pressure group  on any nation for maintenance of peace.  An interesting factor has however emerged in the west,  i.e. the consumption has reached a saturation point and whatever amount of advertising, it has failed to generate demand.  The western companies are obviously looking for markets where  they can sell theii products. They see lndian sub-continent has  a big potential for their products.  Economic zones are fast developing like ECM and  ASEAN etc. and they have banned further entries. lf the  nations of the sub-continent are to survive economically they  will have to come out on a collective platform. Mian Nawaz  Sharief recently speaking at Dhaka had hinted at such a necessity while Mr. Gujral also felt the need of such a dialogue  with Pakistan. 
Accordingly a Swedish intellectual of Pakistan origin has  a firm belief that a time in a few years will come when this type  of free trade between lndia and Pakistan will bring the otherwise two hostile brothers together. The scholar MR. ASIF SYED  SHAHKAR tells Dr. UMA ARORA that the Sikhs ardas of "khule  darshan ate sewa sambal da dan" is being conceded by the  Allah Waheguru very shortly, perhaps within 10 years.

(Note: Sorry the machine typing (OCR) was giving too many errors we have thus posted the images of pages)





/'.: you f.c r Kalanaur?" in.r,,f es an al,l l1]an to each person  ' i.riitrl ifcrn 1t)rj k)r!y which has just  ii|, ! cii fr()itt Lanor i I tllltgtng pilgrimsto  i.i lil...lla SalIb. [].rrely ffanaging to  !:!ri.i oo his leqs h.Jldrng on to the arm  :1 r'r's;iirL,ady rrritated grandson the ocl j.r'., i :-r., pleads to wait for another  k-,IV. 1.,.rri ri alLrllan] !,lho has just ascendrid lrJr!r lho- lr)try, answer$ in the  "f:rntativr l,-re old rllan's Joy knows no  lrir[nr]s. i1e lhilnks Allah hugs Gurnam  r,,llr is much force as he can muster  .. J willt tt,.rr s Sl, eatrrtl!j dCWn htS Wrin".i,. ::.iace Utqt.rtres aboUt the land he had  .ll li;ilf;r cenluty ago.  (,rr thrs srde ofthe border too we  ,riv.,.ur old people becoming nostal
gic about the land they were born on but  had to leave under desperate circumstances. ln theirhearts cuddles an urge  to visit their birth ptace al ieasl once rn  lheir lifetime. The communal bloody carnage thatdivided the sub -continent has  become history. -foday fervent hopes  and desires are cherished to be able to  communicate with the people across lhe  border. With the prime Ministers of both  lndia and Pakistan hopeful of congenial  relations a time can be envisaged when  borders willfinally mean to be whal they  really should, a mere political boundary.  ln fact Prime Minrster Gujral is optimistic that Pakistan would shed its reluctance to improve trade and business relations which would eventually pave the 
way for better neighbouring relations to  reduce tensions.  Can it really happerr? Can we  visit the l;rnd of our forefathers without  any fear? is it possible thal we will be  able to welcorr-ie the people from across  the border in our homes just as our grand  parents did uuitirout a qualm or animosity? Such questrons have become inevitahle since a possrbility has arisen  r.vherein economic conrpulsions will inI 'duce the politicians of the subcorrtinent  to resolve the confhct and open borders  for easier movement arrd better trade relations.  ' UJe have one history, similar culturalroots anci perhaps same forefathers  but at a turn rn history we divrdcJ oirrselves in two separate natiolrs closrng  out allwindows and possibrlitres for cornmunication. Now hrstory is agarn taking  a turn and at the fag end of thc. current  t century there is a dritrncl possrbrlity tlrat  a new dawn willemerge, a new'sauera'  will perhaps lead us to a pornt wherr forgetting the mutual hatred we will develop  friends across the border.  Easing of tension betweerr the  two arch rivals on the subcontinent lras  special significance for Punjab and  Punjabis, they being in the middle of it.  They were the worst sufferers at the time  of division and now when the borders  will be opened Punjab, especially  Amritsar, would once again become the  gateway of lndia for trade with central  Asian countries. ln Mr. Gujral's words  "The coming century belongs to Punjab".  This might not be too difficult since both  Nawaz Shariff and Rafiq Tarar hailfrom  Punjab and would try their utmost best  to dismantle structures heraldirrg the  grourth of the regron.  Now the Commonwealth of lndepenrlent States (ClS) ar"e looking to lndia as the most developed i'ration in Asia  . to open tl'ie trade channels. \ Jith the  emergence of South Asia Preferential  Trade Agreenrent (SAPTA) it can be expected that trade and business relations  would eventually lead to better exchange and interaction at the mass level  too.  A similar prophecy is made by a  man who does not believe in boundaries separating the sub-continent ln different nations. "These barbed wires shall  cease to exist by the end of next ten  years" he says. Hailing from nbighbouring Pakistan and now a Swedish citizen, 
a scholar turned businessman and a  marketing personnel, Asif Syed was recently in Amritsar to fulfill his ardent desire to hold a doctoral thesis from Guru  Nanak Dev University. He speaks and  writes in five languagps viz. Swedish,  English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi and  has travelled round the globe either attaining degrees or learning newer skills  but all the time sharpening his mental  faculties and internalising global relations which finally have become a passion with him.  The realities of international economics totally changed his perspective  of looking at everything. lt became almost Iike re-interpretation of an intellectual in him'a new engine to my [ntellectual being i.e. marketing was provided'  says Asif Syed who likes to be known  as a free-lance salesman and journal 
ist. ln these times when everyone is  talk ing about globalization this man of  self learning has his own philosophy  and way of looking at issues which have  concerned the intelligentsia for a while  now. Some of his ideas do seem surprising, even intriguing especially when  he convincingly talks about demolishing of the mental borders of the subcontinent. He feels, these, in the first  place, exist because of the "unseen iib  stract enemy" and the moment people  will be able to see each other in pe:snrr  the hatred sowed by the politicians L,r.-rii  change into compassion for each oti:,,:r'  Then even a manipulative politiciit:; !t{,  shall have to resign and adopi .:i inritual benefit scheme of peacefui e:<ist  ence. 
Q. Throughout the world people are  tightening therr  belts to gear up for  the next century.  Where do you see  lndia and Pakistan  in this whole scenario?  Today. at the fag errd  of the twentieth century whrch has seerr  so much bloodshed.  two shattering wars  and worst forms of  violence because of  political borders. it  can be predicted that  peace is inevitable in  ille lrearfuture of both  these corrntrres.  '"Yorid politics has surr enri*red to the rnarket and stnce market  i,.as power actions of  v-arrous countries are  decrded by the market  forces. Secondly,  economic and military  power is shrfting from  West to Asia. ln the  rrear future greater  Cheen (China, Hong  Kong, Bangkok) will  emerge as a formidable super power And  to balance this super  power there will be  subcontinent power. 
  Q.What would be 
He left Paxistan in 11i77 r.rl'ierr it irecarne drffi
cult to prodlrce horrest. creatlve prograrrlrltes  on Lahore I V freely and tnen pernranently scr  tied in Srr,reoen.and for" ilris he has come {li)  with a ne'rt iheory of proetic syslem and lv::rrls  to study tite [-ri:cla rri i:'tirjab. F{e feels f.:oetrv  being cultirral systrnr snould be relnterprelecl  Bcrn on npril 15. 1948, Asrf wrlnt ttu  frrrson in 1971 y7i:sr1 he sLroke anci wrr;ie i:cenis agitr"lst killrrrqs.:n [Salrgladesh. lfri:,r ire  i:ecan-le a producer ori Lahore -IV. 'Urrra L;i'r.;,;,  Flalra Par' arrd'[t4pri r;rrrrlli nr;tcldni L.alrwa r,<-,r,I  tnein chan-cirtur drrri r-idh:i' are s;onre popuiur"  sollgs prodttcerl l-ry i11i1r  Hc leurnt :i!'/cdtsh film science alrd dis,  COVere.l tllil ;) irn\rl i;tiCtr:rlV ivas enterging r)n  the interrr;:ttriirr;rl sriorte ilre lrtformation sc,-:r.ety ln crt.-(.f ii) frr.ld ilti)re ,rtid rrti-rre abcrut lf ris  rlew S(iclel:,, tlt: be1lan t0 l(rarn t;0nillUler Sys.  tenrs. Tlteri hi: tr-rtnect rlrlo a bl;siiri:sr; rir.rrr..  started his own tlotiier: t.lrilirr stotes itt':;,il:..t.::,1  tha,t rtrarket;ng is ,rs lrnporlant as, lt-r, ';, ,il,ri  or arr iult:a ire Si;iri his bttt.rrtesi (il:u !,'r',,',,'l  into intcrnatrorrai nrarketing i' ; l 
this sub-continent power ? 
Bangladesh shall form a unlt ,:rr i{-l ivoi iid  be known as subcontinent'pov',,r:r 'W+stern econonrists alrd exper-ts on rnter  national relations have caii:ll;rleC ttriil  by the year 2O2O Chin;i i^;rii $s '.r.,io lLr  three times richer than tlir USA ir,iith 
a scholar turned businessman and a  marketing personnel, Asif Syed was recently in Amritsar to fulfill his ardent desire to hold a doctoral thesis from Guru  Nanak Dev University. He speaks and  writes in five languagps viz. Swedish,  English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi and  has travelled round the globe either attaining degrees or learning newer skills  but all the time sharpening his mental  faculties and internalising global relations which finally have become a passion with him.  The realities of international economics totally changed his perspective  of looking at everything. lt became almost Iike re-interpretation of an intellectual in him'a new engine to my [ntellectual being i.e. marketing was provided'  says Asif Syed who likes to be known  as a free-lance salesman and journal 
ist. ln these times when everyone is  talk ing about globalization this man of  self learning has his own philosophy  and way of looking at issues which have  concerned the intelligentsia for a while  now. Some of his ideas do seem surprising, even intriguing especially when  he convincingly talks about demolishing of the mental borders of the subcontinent. He feels, these, in the first  place, exist because of the "unseen iib  stract enemy" and the moment people  will be able to see each other in pe:snrr  the hatred sowed by the politicians L,r.-rii  change into compassion for each oti:,,:r'  Then even a manipulative politiciit:; !t{,  shall have to resign and adopi .:i inritual benefit scheme of peacefui e:<ist  ence. 
Q. Throughout the world people are 
tightening therr  belts to gear up for  the next century.  Where do you see  lndia and Pakistan  in this whole scenarlo?  Today. at the fag errd  of the twentieth century whrch has seerr  so much bloodshed.  two shattering wars  and worst forms of  violence because of  political borders. it  can be predicted that  peace rs irrevitable in  tirq: rrearfuture of both  these corrntrres.  '"Yorid politics has surr en(iL,red to the rnarket and srnce market  iras povrer actions of  v-arrous countries are  decrded by the market  forces. Secondly,  economic and military  Fower is shrfting from  West to Asia. ln the  rrear future greater  Cheen (China, Hong  Kong, Bangkok) will  emerge as a formidable super power And  to balance this super  power there will be  subcontinent power. 
  Q.What would be 
He left Paxistan in 11i77 r.rl'ierr it irecarne drffi
cult to prodlrce horrest. creatlve prograrrlrltes  on Lahore I V freely and tnen pernranently scr  tied in Srr,reoen.and for" ilris he has come {li)  with a ne'rt iheory of proetic syslem and lv::rrls  to study tite [-ri:cla rri i:'tirjab. F{e feels f.:oetrv  being cultirral systrnr snould be relnterprelecl  Bcrn on npril 15. 1948, Asrf wrlnt ttu  frrrson in 1971 y7i:sr1 he sLroke anci wrr;ie i:cenis agitr"lst killrrrqs.:n [Salrgladesh. lfri:,r ire  i:ecan-le a producer ori Lahore -IV. 'Urrra L;i'r.;,;,  Flalra Par' arrd'[t4pri r;rrrrlli nr;tcldni L.alrwa r,<-,r,I  tnein chan-cirtur drrri r-idh:i' are s;onre popuiur"  sollgs prodttcerl l-ry i11i1r  Hc leurnt :i!'/cdtsh film science alrd dis,  COVere.l tllil ;) irn\rl i;tiCtr:rlV ivas enterging r)n  the interrr;:ttriirr;rl sriorte ilre lrtformation sc,-:r.ety ln crt.-(.f ii) frr.ld ilti)re ,rtid rrti-rre abcrut lf ris  rlew S(iclel:,, tlt: be1lan t0 l(rarn t;0nillUler Sys.  tenrs. Tlteri hi: tr-rtnect rlrlo a bl;siiri:sr; rir.rrr..  started his own tlotiier: t.lrilirr stotes itt':;,il:..t.::,1  tha,t rtrarket;ng is ,rs lrnporlant as, lt-r, ';, ,il,ri  or arr iult:a ire Si;iri his bttt.rrtesi (il:u !,'r',,',,'l  into intcrnatrorrai nrarketing i' ; l 
this sub-continent power ? 
  Bangladesh shall form a unlt ,:lr i{-l i"loi iid  be known as subcontinent'pov',,r:r 'W+stern econonrists alrd exper-ts on rnter  national relations have caii:ll;rleC f triil':  by the year 2O2O Chin;i i^;rii $s '.r.,io lLr  three times richer than tlir USA ir,iith 
  i$t'{f..'tmr'  t':': its population touching hundred.million  , it will be the biggest 6snsumer,power.  ,r On the other nanO population of the subcontinent too wilt increase and'with sustained economic development they will  counter the Chinese power. 
a Till nowpopulation has beenseen  as a negative factor, rather a hindrance for ecoiromic development.  Since Asia, including China, lndia and  Fakistan are considered,over-populated' how can we say they would be  a threat to the so called-.developed'  nations?  It is true that population till now was a  negative factor. but by the next decade  this same population number will becotre a positive factor. There is a very  sound logic behind this. ln the west conqumjng ability has reached a saturation  poin! People over there cannot be coerced to consume any more. Advertisement and all other market tools have  been used to the maximum and have  now almost exhausted in creating more  ' GonsurTlers. At the same time they are  going on producing more and more consumer goods thus they require markets.  For that they will come to Asia. 
alter allthat. There will be a"universality  never seen before. For how long the feudal forceswill survive? Politiciins *ay  have whateverfaces on either side, economic compulsions will make them see  reason and disiolve'petty hatred. tt  should not come as a surprise that teaders of both lndia and Pakistan decide  to abolish border in the near future. As  I see it there will be no custom duty, no  visa and tradewillbe encouraged. people will 
:  be able to see each other face to face  and the feelings of hate emerging from  ' .an "unseen abstract enemity" shall  evaporate. Common sense shall pre_ vail and boundaries will be dissolved.  Q. Who will take the initiative? Atready many afrempb have been made  and hav6 failed. Besides thefe are  some sensitive issues like'Kashmir  involved in which it is more of prestige on the either side which. is at  stake. So which politician will take the  risk of initiating the process?  lnitiatives have already begun. As I said  earlier, economic compulsions will rule  the politicians. Be it Gujaral, Nawaz  Sharif oranyoneelse, they might belong 
Q. But is it possibte for ittiterate, poor l"^.?lY^":1":r their decisions will  peopre suifering many diseases to 11:lo.b."thesame.Atthe interLuy'such proOuitse national level the inevitability of  Wiit arrd see. Our politicians will have lit ^!l?. already been realizedto change their prefere,nces roon. tttr- Conflict scares investors and bejor chanles will have to be brougnt aoout 31-"-t negative forforeign investiot acqulring literacy and better "or.r- 1e1ts Political stability, amity  tion opportr]nities. This one tactor wiit and sound infrastructure are a neatter the employment and heatth .."n". ;""Tl,rJ:lhs'rr#,: *i.;:?:,$n are 
Q. Asia is fragmented on retigious y:.:.9i19-ilaroe chunk of their budget  lines. There ri" r"ny other differ- IT?ondefenceinsteadofoneducaences too. So where do you """ tt " y:']T now with a shift in business of  unity in ttre regionz ,'.v weapon industry to other spheles in  unity or more irury peace is a neces- Y::'::?Tentration willbe qn maximum  sitv' rhe new stosan for internatiollt ffi:i.l['ft1] ffi,?iffiXilil",".tffI  business is "Peace is good for business ning in a toss and no one wants it to be .  and from this perspective conflict can- ;;;'.;;;;;,;ji;ffiffi{il. ;'J,.,:"  t:ii:.Uil,1[f, :i ii : xH ffff5tt ;w';'"",5'ln,ti.:i:i,#i:  :ffi,?,l':?,1,:',#::i,:"[i*iil:##;i;yi:Xim,3;t.truj;"g*  -,_---'r'--.  q r:;) lrlol"€ and more efficient ways of aCgofn- '  , plishing the tasks. Uneducated people  can not handle such work and if 'that  technology has to be transferred to lndia and Pakistan education is inevitable. A European proverb says 'one fo6t  in work and one foot in the ctass room'  i.e. education is a life long process. Besides, in the West education is seen as  a pro(uct and hot as a virtue. As I said  eartier, literacy and high-tech education  is one factor which will make,a[ the 
,, S,tange.-,This'will bring about another  , t |$f,,:t revolution unfathomed yet,  Q. How can masses in both these  countries (lndia and Pakistan) be educated at such a rapid rate and what  of social, conventions.  This is alla political game which will have  to change now. Again the leaders of both  countries will have to re-think their strategies. Education cgsts and this cost will  have to be borne by money from various sources including the defence expenditure. Education will bfing enlightenment, people will get consciousness.  Communal differences will become  weak and then stronger forces for ail  round development will emerge. 
Q. lsn't it utopian?  Not at all. You witl see how gradually  systems will change and make space  for the right shape of capitatism to  emerge. Tolerance and harmony will  become a necessity. 
 
Q. So, canwe hopefordisappearance  of the barbed wire?  lndeed. Barbed wire will vanish as nuclear arms factor is becoming very important. lt coutd develop into i catastro  ptie which either side cannot afford.  Jhele- are some otherfactors as well. tn  . nelr future,the region,. including middle  , €ds[,.v.vil! beeome a big,market.'Middle  eastrhag,"worldid only gas and oit resoufces. Vlestern countries and uSA,  .th'e ricftqst in the woild, would wish to  dxploit,them to the maximum extent. Due  ,to geo-political conditions this can only  '.be nirq"gsible through Pakistan. Since  USA and European countries will be  ' spending on these products they would  like to get back the money. f-gr this all;  efforts will be made to convgit illiterate  urideveloped society into;'ionsumers :  w.!th purchase powerwhoBpn buy goods  produced in USA a1d Eqlgpe- Some of  these consumer products will be mantr-.  factured in lndia py multi-nationals and  would pass through Pakistan to the middle east. Passage of goods is.only possible if situation between neighbouring 
countries is congenial. ln the longer run  Pakistan will become a middleman  which will hike the price of the product  'and it wiluld be better if there are no  trade restrictions between India and  Pakistan to avoid unnecessary tax-tariff, custom duties etc. 
Q. lsn't there any. danger of regionalism then?  I fbel that with money and technology  all regions will develop. 
  Q. What about Punjab? ls there anY  speciql role for it in this scenario?  Punjab, both West and East, will have a  very important rolq. ln fact the next decades are for this region. ln lndian Punjab agricultura! development has  touched an alltime high and in the Punjab on the Pakistan's side, i.e. Western  Punjab, ihdustrialization has made the  local economy stronger. When both  these will be combined there will be no  looking back for this region. lt will  emerge as an economic force to be reckoned"with. That is why politicians will  have to take steps in the right direction.  They will have to sit across the table and  find solutions to petty problems and take  major decisions in the interest of greater  humanity. 
Q. How do you find a parallelwith the  Berlin war?  ln Germany also some similar issues  were faced. ln this region China and Pakistan will not lift the border because  there is so much cultural difference but  it is podsible for lndia and Pakistan since  there is a social, cultural and linguist continuity. 
Q. lsn't lndia's condition different  from Germany's?  Some differences are definitely there.  There is socialdemocracy in lndia. Secondly there is a strong trade union culture here but now lndia is not facing any  labour problem and for any economy to  develop, peaceful industrial relations are  very essential.  Q. So do you visualise a Western  style development here? Doesn't that  mean we shall be invitin$ woes of that  society also?  Development here has never been on  thewestern line norwill it be. ln the West,  alienation has emerged and that is why  they are turning to eastern pattern of  spiritualism. Our society will not have the  same irnpact of development since we  have the western example in front of us  and the Asians will have to be very foolish to imitate the west and invite the 
chaos of that ,society. I am  ',confident thdi'qeithlr: Pa- .  ' kistanis nor lndians are that  foolish. We will have our  own styte and pace of eco- ,  nomic and cultural growth.  Time is a majorfactor here. ,  : 
Q. I am still not clear as  to how this will help in  removing the border.  See growth and development means higher inter- I  action. Through mass com- '  munication the borders  have already been shattered. ln our two countries  the unseen abstract factor ,  is very important. lt is hu- I  man nature that the mo-'  ment we see the enemy in ,  flesh and blood and find"  him/her very much like us the hatred  disappears. Now you have seen me, do  you hate me? You know me as any other  person. There was an iron curtain earlier  but now that windows have oPened  through TV screen/radio. Wait; when the  real impact of internet will become evident,  the contact will be direct then. There will  be no politicians giving their own hues and  shades.  I am sure that in ten years from now  the mental border will totally vanish. The  change process is moving fast and fast,  means of communication has made life and  exchange much faster. Technology's impact can be seen in building construction  which is much faster now. Same is true of  road, air or railtransport. So who can stop  the wave of change? 
Q. You seem very sure and enthusiastic but what about indifferent politicians  and ineffective administration?  lf politicians have to survive they have to  play their game fairly and provide effective administration minus corruption. After  all politicians are also aware of the world  Situation today. A politician works for the  market. There is no force which can stop  it.  l-et me return to China now. China  is a nationalist country. They have the capital as well as knowhow. We have the knowhow but we do not have the means to use  that knowhow. After allwho are the scientists in the USA but Asians giving alt the  technical development to that country and  making it a super power? Our nations are  not ready for them yet but when the right  time will come and the situation will change  not only we will be able to absorb the nationaltalent more but those who have gone  too will come back. Mind you this is not  just a hope but a very well calculated doc
trine which I am soon going to publish in  my book. Some of these ideas have been  written and published also. I am regularly  writing in Jung the biggest daily of Pakistan on these topics. 
  Q. Again I come back to my apprehensions about the world market especially  the role of international trade organizations in the form of controls by IMF and  WTO which lfeel are big hurdles in making the sub-continent any power at all? 
  World Trade Organization is based on  free trade. lts policies are not against subcontinet. As faras protected entrepreneur  is concerned there is no economic growth  .possible,with such policies hence in any  case these have to be abolished. On the  other hand any industrialist who believes  in competition  considers it fair. Capitalism does not believe in protectionism and parasites remember these factors. They are a burden for national economy. The protective  entrepreneur will have to find ways and  allow for competition otherwise our nations will be isolated. Economic growth is  possible only under capitalism and since  communism has as yet failed we have to  flnd.otherways and means to overcome  social inequalities.  As far as world economics is  concerned export is main threshold.  Lei our nations produce quality goods  ahd compete. We still have time to use  cheap labour and cheap transport so  we have time to coBe up with the developed economies ftt. 
(Photographs by:- Dr. J.P;S.,Jolly) 
 


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