SATIRE: A New SAARC for a New South Asia

Mushahid Hussain (PML-GHQ)Fresh from a successful diplomatic mission to Washington which probably brought global condemnation to India’s nefarious anti-Pakistan activities in Kashmir, Pakistan Muslim League (GHQ) Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed has devised another ingenious strategy to advance Pakistan’s interests and deliver a solid slap to India’s face. Sen Mushahid Hussain has taken up  the issue of SAARC Summit which was temporarily postponed due to every member state boycotting not feeling worthy to come to Pakistan.

“SAARC as it exists does not properly represent whole South Asia” the Senator explained to a group of journalists who received a phone call instructing them to attend. “The current arrangement is dominated by Indian proxies such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.”

“A greater South Asia is already emerging,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed. “This greater South Asia includes China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Azad Kashmir, Palestine (Gaza Strip), and especially Twitteristan as well as the millions of loyal and patriotic overseas South Asians whose voices are being unfairly silenced under the current system.”

Mr Hussain said that the obvious solution was to make each of these New South Asian states permanent voting members of SAARC. South Asia’s Permanent Representative to Twitter Farhan K Virk would be allowed to vote either by hashtag or Twitter poll, and independent votes would also be cast by representatives of overseas South Asians with a valid CNIC under special arrangements by the Defence Wings of Pakistan’s Embassies.

“The improvement of this new arrangement for democracy is obvious to anyone who is not a paid Indian agent and will surely receive the blessing of the international community”, explained Mr Hussain. “We have now solved the SAARC crisis just as we solved the crisis in Kashmir.”

In response to a question, Mr Hussain noted that it is also being investigated whether Russia is actually a South Asian nation also.

 

We Cannot Rely On China Alone

US and ChinaThese days China is making headlines in our news almost on a daily basis. We Pakistanis in an effort to move away from under the US shadow, somehow feel much better to look to China for help. Noted as a true and an all weather friend, the relationship between the two countries has been described by Hu Jintao as “higher than the mountains and deeper than oceans.” Recent articles in our print media have also been talking non-stop about how China will look after our interests and watch our back and that is what prompted me to explore further into the myth.

Considered to overtake US by 2016, China is well underway to economic prosperity as well. With a population of 1.3 billion and 17.6 percent of this number being the age group of 0-14 years, China has roughly 234 million potential job seekers in the coming years. Please also note that China currently has an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.

Coming over to Pakistani demographics now, we have a population of 180 million. Out of this 180 million population, 60 percent (roughly 112 million) are between the age group 15-64. We have a literacy rate of 49 percent, and an unemployment rate of 15 percent which is substantial and which puts us only a couple of spaces over Iraq and at the bottom end of the totem pole for unemployment in the world. We have had a demographic explosion and we need a boost in the economy that requires this unemployment rate to be lower than what it is. This means that more jobs need to be created to offset the unemployment percentage.

Now the point I’m trying to make is this: China no doubt is a good friend and alliance with China is important – but let us not indulge in this fantasy world where we think China will overlook its own population of potential jobseekers in the coming years. There are a finite number of jobs and resources available globally to roughly 350 million job seekers combined. China also has a low enrollment rate in school. This means that, unless things change, Pakistan and China will both have growing populations competing for the same jobs in the global economy. China will obviously first look to provide jobs to its own citizens before turning to Pakistan and addressing its economical problems.

We cannot rely on China alone. Pakistan needs to develop good relationships with not just China but other powers including EU, SAARC and US etc. Cutting ourselves off from the US, who remains the world’s largest economy and a major economic partner of China, is limiting our friends and allies and will be detrimental in our effort to expand on all our options in the future. We should be working with all the major economic powers to find areas where our interests overlap and then try to improve our education system and expand our access to markets across the world. This will help us advance our country’s economy, which in turn means better way of living for an average citizen. Depending on just one country and putting all our hopes and dreams on it, hoping that it will be our saviour, is not a good approach economically or otherwise.