Our bets on CPEC may not necessarily pay off

In Pakistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been trending for a few months. Like ‘Brexit’, CPEC is also a big step. Hence, any news related to CPEC spreads like fire. If you are attending an intellectual gathering, be up-to-date with the project. I’ve observed that CPEC is a hot topic at these get-togethers. There’s no doubt that CPEC is important for Pakistan and it plays a pivotal role in regional politics, but it has been blown out of proportion thanks to print and electronic media. It seems that clock manufacturers in Switzerland are more concerned about CPEC than the precision of their clocks. And drug ...

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A Lahori’s first visit to Karachi

This summer, I had the chance to pay a short visit to Karachi – a city I’ve never had the opportunity to visit before. Soon after landing and taking a cab to the hotel, we started hearing stories of locals out and about in the city. This aged driver, who drove us to our hotel, told us how, for the last few months, Karachi has been a lot more peaceful because of the Rangers’ operation. He also said, “This operation should be extended to the entire province to ensure complete implementation of law and order.” That driver was not the only one who felt that the Ranger’s ...

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The 24th amendment does not benefit anyone but Nawaz Sharif

A few days ago, a blog published on this website argued that the proposed 24th amendment by the government was the correct political and legal step in the current environment. Firstly, the author claimed that due to the exceptionally high stakes in the current Panama leaks proceedings, it is necessary that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is allowed a chance to appeal in the case of an unfavourable decision. Secondly, it was asserted that the 24th amendment, all political considerations aside, was a legal necessity to ensure that the requirements of justice and a fair trial were guaranteed. I respectfully disagree on both accounts. It is pertinent ...

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Why are you silent on the amnesty bill for property sector thieves, Imran Khan?

It has finally happened. For the past five months, our government strongly resisted pressure from property sector players to grant them amnesty to retain stolen money. This week, the National Assembly – composed mainly of crooks – approved a bill which will enable these thieves to whiten their black money by paying back only 3% of the amount that they have looted from the nation. Property investors and builders are jubilant. This scheme allows them to whiten seven trillion rupees instantly, while paying a piddling amount to the exchequer. Prices of their plots, bungalows and apartments will undergo a phenomenal increase, making it impossible ...

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Why PML-N is right to propose the 24th amendment

Right now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court where the future of the present prime minister is being decided. Although it is difficult to predict what the honourable court will decide, implications of an unfavourable decision would be far reaching, not only for Nawaz Sharif, but also for the political trajectory of Pakistan. Cognisant of the possibility of an adverse decision, the Nawaz government has started to take precautionary steps, one of which is the constitutional amendment which proposes a right to appeal against an order of the Supreme Court. The proposed amendment also stipulates that the appeal “shall ...

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Pakistan’s new army chief: A reality check

To many in Pakistan, Qamar Javed Bajwa is an unknown soldier. Yet yesterday, he became arguably the country’s most powerful person when he swore in as its next army chief. Testimonials about Bajwa are overwhelmingly positive. Those who know him say he’s a proponent of strong civil-military relations – the main reason, according to one account, why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a man who has often sparred with the army, selected Bajwa for the job. He’s not seen as reflexively hostile to India, and he once served under an eventual Indian Army chief while on a United Nations mission in Congo. He’s regarded as low-key and camera-shy, yet also ...

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Volunteering at KVTC helped me more than I helped them

I spend all my days and nights looking for a purpose in life and though I might be 20, I feel the burden of not giving back to life after everything I’ve been blessed with. It might sound clichéd when I say that I can’t imagine a life without purpose but I kid you not when I say I have trouble sleeping at night on the days I feel I took more from life than I gave back to it. With the recent exponential growth in negativity around the world, I found myself soaking in negativity and breathing it out, both ...

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Do our ministers really deserve a shameless 146% increase in salary?

I have to interact frequently with our tax collectors, and since our lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they have no idea of the torture the average businessman has to suffer. The following dialogue explains how the common man is taxed heavily and, since lawmakers don’t have to pay taxes, they thought it fit to increase their salaries recently: Tax collector: What do you do? Common man: I run a business. Tax collector: Well, pay professional tax then! What are you doing in your business? Common man: Selling goods. Tax collector: Pay sales tax then! From where are you getting your goods from? Common man: ...

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Will the new COAS be able to fill General Raheel Sharif’s shoes?

If there are no late November surprises, then on November 29th, the present Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif, will retire, paving way for his replacement. A lot has already been written on his achievements which made him an extraordinarily popular person. He cracked down on terrorism and also on criminal elements in Karachi, much to the respite of many. Moreover, he is also retiring on time, setting a very good precedent. Despite considering myself a critic of the army, I am personally an admirer of General Sharif. He is one of the finest soldiers to ...

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If you think Trump is racist, come to Pakistan

Muslims in the US and across the globe are condemning, in the strongest possible words, the US President-Elect Trump, for his anti-Islam rhetoric during the election campaign. And now that the British and American people have made the seemingly impossible possible, in the form of Brexit and Trump’s victory respectively, Muslims have every reason to be worried about a substantial increase in Islamophobia in the West. But while the concern for our Muslim brethren living abroad is completely legitimate, let us introspect and have an objective, impartial discussion about Pakistan’s own covert affair with bigotry. One of the reasons Pakistan was founded was for ...

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