There appears to be great excitement in Pakistan, particularly within the business community and financial institutions, following India’s decision to allow direct investment from Pakistan. In keeping with India’s growth rate and the dismal economic conditions at home, the various chambers of commerce and businessmen are extolling the opportunities which investment in India will offer. Before Partition, for those who lived in the part of India which is now Pakistan, the Bombay Stock Exchange was the only institution which offered an opportunity of investing in the private sector. And so they did.
But after Partition, the bank accounts and shares in Indian companies of the people who chose to stay in Pakistan were sequestrated by the government of India. These were treated as “enemy property.” Attempts to claim these assets by their rightful owners or their successors were met with the reply that this was not possible. So, after almost 65 long years, the beneficiaries of these assets have not received the benefits of investment in India which their elders had hoped for. Now that the government of India has decided to permit direct investment from Pakistan, wouldn’t it be proper to enquire what it intends to do with the assets of Pakistanis held by the custodian of enemy property in Mumbai?
Albert J Godin