Pak-UK: United by wealth & separated by ideology?

Written by: Radha Radhakrishnan

Pervez Musharraf
There is a popular notion in India about having a criminal record being the perfect passport to enter politics. In neighboring Pakistan it can be tweaked to - anyone can enter politics as long as they can launch their political career from the United Kingdom (UK).

A slew of who"s-who of Pakistan have announced their arrival on the country"s political scene from UK. The latest to launch his own party, All Pakistan Muslim League is former Pakistan President and General Parvez Mushrraf. Living in self-imposed exile in London, Mushrraf launched his party this month and vowed to usher in a new political culture in Pakistan. 

His party is 'targeted" at young Pakistanis and those disillusioned with current political system in the country. The General believes people are waiting for change and he is giving them the perfect opportunity!

Politicians tend to believe public memory is short. It suits them perfectly fine to believe so. This in some senses gives them the right to assert they are meant to do public good in the future even though their past record is nothing to speak positive about.

Mushrraf is no exception. He apologized for his past political mistakes and boldly admitted Pakistan abetted terrorism in a recenet statment and quickly retracted the statement. He also heralded himself as the saviour of Pakistan, someone who can help it overcome its current challenges.

People are questioning the credibility of the man who had a good opportunity to govern Pakistan for 8 years and uhserin meaningful change. What also needs questioning is why is the UK being the favouirote ground for Pak politicians – be it to live in exile or to launch a political movement? What is UK-Pak relationship all about? Is it only the political consideration at play or there is more to it?

Most international relations has a monetary undertone to it and Pakistan and UK relationship is no different. Consider these facts:

  • There are a million people of Pakistani origin living in UK. They are considered very influential and necessary for both countries.
  • Pakistan-UK bilateral trade was 1.1 billion pounds sterling in 2009
  • The UK"s FDI (Foreign Director Investment) to Pakistan was 174 million pounds sterling in 2009
  • UK is the fourth largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) exporting country to Pakistan
  • UK is one of the top 4 exporting markets in the world for Pakistan and remains one of the top three markets with balance of trade in favour of Pakistan
  • UK is a major aid donor to Pakistan, having pledged 665 million pounds to Pakistan from 2009-2013
  • In Feb 2010, UK launched a 50 million pounds sterling project in dairy sector.

To boost and stabilise international relations, Pakistan has floated the 'Friend of Pakistan' group that includes countries like UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. For Western countries like the UK, Pakistan is very much needed in their efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.

Recently UK Prime Minsiter criticized Pakistan"s habit of aiding terrorism in India. That he made this statement on Indian soil seem to be a bigger sore point for Pakistan.

Both UK and Pakistan do not share the same ideology and this fact gets highlighted from time to time though actions and political statements. But they certainly seem to be bound by monetary and economic considerations. Treat it as a peculiar form of international realtions or simply call it United by Wealth and separated by Ideology.

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*The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not necessarily represent those of or of Greynium Information Technologies Pvt Ltd. *

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