Stories about UK

India’s absence from the OBOR forum is testimony of Modi’s failed foreign policy

China hosted a massive two-day international event between May 14 and 15 in Beijing to formally launch its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which plans to connect Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. More than 65 countries participated in the summit and nearly half of them were represented by their heads of state and government. World powers such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even Japan too were in Beijing. Apart from Bhutan, which does not have any diplomatic ties with China, all other South Asian countries took part. However, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government decided to give it a miss in spite of China’s repeated overtures. Nothing can explain this self-inflicted isolation of India except PM Modi’s ...

Read Full Post

The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

Read Full Post

Netanyahu bans the Azaan and Pakistan bans Christian channels

Religion is once again being dragged into the profane world of politics as a deflective show of force while people choose other avenues to preserve what is sacred. On November 13, The Times of Israel quoted Prime Minister Netanyahu: “…excessive noise …from prayer house announcement…in many European cities… (and consequently) in the Muslim world… they limit(ed) the volume of the calls out of consideration for the general public.” The following day, The Independent reported that citing: “noise pollution, representatives of Israel’s Knesset have given their approval to what is known as the ‘muezzin bill’ banning religious leaders from using loudspeakers or public address systems to summon worshippers for prayers.” A ...

Read Full Post

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?”

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?” Those are the words of Filzah Sumartono from AWARE – a group dedicated to women’s rights – when she tries to talk about the taboo subject with members of her community. It is astounding that people avoid this topic with a wave of the hand, branding it as a “small cut” especially when the effects of such a procedure can be damaging – both physically and mentally. According to Orchid Project, girls and women can suffer from emotional distress throughout their lives, not to mention having feelings of fear, helplessness, ...

Read Full Post

Churchill’s face on the new £5 note is an insult to the Commonwealth

Like 2.5 million others from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal and millions more from Africa and South East Asia, my grandfather fought with the British military in World War II. Tens of millions of others across the old British Empire gave precious resources to aid the war effort, many millions losing their lives in the process. They accepted the call to join the Allied forces to help defeat the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Germany at the door step of the United Kingdom. Winston Churchill, the war time prime minister, told them to ‘brace themselves for their duties’ and this would ...

Read Full Post

The EU multi-ethnic European military force will only be effective on paper

The European Union (EU) seems set for another cul-de-sac of quarrels over the hastily tossed military salad of EU battle groups with rotating battalions and leadership. Accordingly, Hungary and the Czech Republic have openly called for the creation of an EU army, strongly opposed by the United Kingdom. On this issue, the Council of Europe would be well advised to define policy, delegate the business to France, and sit back. Four issues have made a re-evaluation of the need and role of European direct military intervention an imperative of defence and security which only French expertise can ensure. Firstly, acts of terrorism on European soil have diverted the ...

Read Full Post

What is so ‘filthy’ and ‘unnatural’ about reproductive sex, Pakistan?

A close friend of mine recently had an STI (sexually transmitted infection) scare. Despite being in excruciating pain, she was scared to ask her husband how she got the infection. After a few days of discomfort and suffering, she consulted a doctor who put her mind to rest by confirming that she had a yeast infection because of diabetes. But during this whole episode, I was surprised to find out how ignorant she was about sexual health. First, she was adamant that she couldn’t get an STI from her husband because he was absolutely fine, which is irrelevant and factually incorrect because some STIs ...

Read Full Post

Corruption is now accepted as a fact of life in Pakistan

Perhaps the greatest danger to Pakistan is corruption. We can stand up to any hostile army trying to invade our sacred land, but corruption is eating away at our foundation, like termites which ultimately cause houses to collapse. Owing to corruption, the government is not able to collect enough revenue, making it necessary to borrow from the IMF, which ultimately makes the country poorer and adversely affects our ability to defend the nation from terrorists and hostile enemies. Corruption has enabled Pakistanis to invest Rs85 billion during the past six months and Rs512 billion in the past two and a half years ...

Read Full Post

Will China ever allow India to be part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

Before the start of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary session in Seoul on June 24, 2016, the word was out that China would not be supporting India’s membership into the NSG. China had exhibited a similar reluctance towards India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Although China managed to stonewall India’s application, what came as a total surprise to them was that out of 48 countries, 44 countries openly supported its membership; evidence of India being recognised as an emerging global power. In fact, the Chinese negotiator was pulled up because of the unprecedented support India received at the meeting. Those who have been following ...

Read Full Post

Brexit’s stunning coup

The decision of British voters in Thursday’s referendum to leave the European Union will have vast consequences for Britain, for Europe and for the world. For a day, the British people were the government, and by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, they took the decision to go. I was a British prime minister who believed completely that Britain’s future lay in Europe. I was the prime minister responsible for legislating substantial self-rule in Scotland so that it would remain part of the United Kingdom. I negotiated the Good Friday Agreement so that Northern Ireland could be at peace within ...

Read Full Post