Business, Economics and Jobs

India-Pakistan: the King of Bad Times?


A Pakistani truck, pictured after transporting a shipment of goods, drives through the newly-constructed Integrated Checkpost (ICP) at the India-Pakistan border in Wagah on April 12,2012. The first integrated checkpost (ICP) at the Indo-Pakistani Wagah border will be inaugurated by Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram on April 13, with aims of boosting trade ties between India and Pakistan.



Look out, Vijay Mallya!  Now that India and Pakistan are getty cosy, ,Kingfisher may be getting some new competition from the King of Bad Times.

According to the UK's Guardian newspaper, India is finally get to taste the delicious lager produced by Pakistan's Murree Brewery -- which has limped along through 30-odd years of prohibition under Sabih-ur-Rehman, a former major who helps run the brewery and is in effect the Bizarro world Pakistani version of India's self-styled "King of Good Times."

Pakistan natives have told me that the brew's quality goes up and down (at least in the bootleg version). But in the free-flowing confines of the Lahore-based American Club, I rated it the best beer in South Asia. Definitely much better than the weirdly viscous domestic version of Kingfisher, which uses glycerine as a preservative.

Beer is just the beginning, though.

New openness should facilitate a huge increase in the otherwise miniscule legal trade between the two long-time enemies. And while that won't necessarily guarantee peace, or an end to cross-border terrorism, it will add new costs to future breakdowns in relations.

Perhaps the most positive sign yet was the signing of a landmark natural gas agreement between India, Pakistan and Turkmenistan, which is expected to bolster the development of a $7.6 billion pipeline that cuts across Afghanistan. 

Billed as "the Peace Pipeline," the US hopes that it will improve ties between India and Pakistan and thus boost stability in Afghanistan,