India granted MFN Status to Pakistan in 1996.This was a unilateral gesture and has survived almost every instance of war or friction between the two nations.Some of these are listed below :-
1. 1998 – Pokharan nuclear tests by India and Chagai Hills nuclear tests by Pakistan.
2. 1999 – Kargil War
3. 2002 – Parliament Terrorist Attack
4. 2008 – Mumbai Terrorist Attack
5. 2016 – Terrorist Attack on an Indian Army Camp in Uri
Trade Posts : Attari , Wagah , Port Qasim and Mumbai
Trade Facts : Pakistan Outbound – $303.58m in 2015-16 ,
India Outbound – $1.779 billion in 2015-16.
Trade Key Items :
India – skimmed milk, vegetables, chemical and products, tyres, cotton, fabrics of mixed or manmade fibre.
Pakistan – dry dates, gypsum, cement, chemicals, petroleum oil and oils obtained from bituminous minerals.
Clearly its advantage India by a 6 fold margin and this trade is growing silently.Now what isn’t documented anywhere is that Indian Satellite Television Content is lapped by 3.5 Million DTH Subscibers in Pakistan.Despite multiple attempts by the Pakistan Interior Ministry and the Pakistan Army , the beaming of DTH Channels has boomed.The inbound remissions to Indian Banks from Pakistan for DTH content is estimated to be Rs.25 Crores a Month.
Pakistanis form their opinion about India from Bollywood , Television Soaps and Indian News Channels.In some cases they trust Indian Channels more than their own.This is the kind of Soft Power that India has been exploiting and continues to exploit till date.So when India successfully launched the Mangalyaan , Pakistan was stunned.Modi is a household name and they sure love him for being strong and direct.A source of awe but discomfort too.
Their military exposed to the same soft power now consider India technologically much superior and evolved adversary.Their glitterati who feel suffocated in their own nation sing paeans of Indian Democracy and the Freedom of Expression.Infact some of them secretly express guilt for the acts of their Army against India.
This is the kind of moral upper-hand that soft power gives us.Much like how American Forces were initially welcomed in Iraq during the Gulf War.Much of that guilt emanating from watching CNN where Saddam was condemned as an evil dictator 24×7 for attacking Kuwait.
The MFN status of Pakistan may or may not be revoked.But it is an enabler , a Trojan Horse.The security shenanigans in New Delhi know this and this is why it has survived.
BY ANSHUL ANAND