Syed Nadir El Edroos

Nadir teaches Economics at Bellerbys College, London and is interested in Pakistani politics and current affairs. He tweets @needroos (

Will Bahrain’s sectarian divide impact Pakistan?

Mubarak’s exit was the start of the revolution, not the end. Egyptian protestors gathered after Friday prayers last week, to remind the military that it is them (the people) who had brought down the Mubarak regime. Even though they may have vacated Tahrir Square, the message was that they would not settle for anything less than their original demands. Commentators have attempted to establish whether similar conditions exist in Pakistan for a revolution, drawing parallels and identifying differences. But if comparisons must be drawn then the the ongoing protests in Bahrain are perhaps of greater relevance for Pakistan than events in Egypt. What Bahrain learned from Egypt The ...

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Whose country is this anyways? (Part III)

Corruption is the one word that explains government failure, greed, misallocation of public resources, abuse of power and undeserving state patronage. However, depending on who is involved, the degree of condemnation varies, which is a curious anomaly in what should be outright condemnation and a clear recognition of right from wrong. A dog’s life Recent reports have suggested that Pakistan’s Defence Ministry is demanding Rs1.66 billion to establish a National Canine Centre to train dogs.  3,260 dogs are to be trained over a period of 10 years, which works out to Rs2.7 million per dog. The army already manages a well regarded dog-training ...

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January 12, 2011

PPP destined to complete its term

First, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) withdrew support from the government. Then the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) pulled out and we counted the minutes, waiting for Prime Ministers Gilani’s government to collapse. The Oil and Gas Regulation Authority’s (OGRA) intimation of an increase in petroleum prices in the New Year came as no surprise to economists watching the steady rise in global petroleum prices, though ever the opportunist opposition parties rallied to condemn the government’s move. Commentators had been predicting an increase since the middle of December, while the formula for calculating oil prices is widely known. Should we have repeated the mistake ...

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Tax contribution: Show me the money

Taxation forms the backbone of state finances. The military, as an arm of the state, relies on state finances for its budgetary requirements. As I am often reminded, the Army is in a state of war, so one should support it without any criticism. However, any commentary that comes through the media or official sources, everyone agrees that the military is underfunded. A political hot potato While we are in a state of war, the RGST has become a political hot potato. The opposition has jumped on the anti-RGST bandwagon, while other parties such as the TI and JI prefer the, “taxes imposed under foreign diktat” line of argument. Whether the RGST is required or not, is a debate for another article. Why those patriotic Pakistanis that should ...

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Criminal negligence: Needless death at Bahria Town race track

On Sunday, five people died as a speeding car lost control and crashed into a group of spectators. What is extremely unfortunate is the fact that these deaths and injuries were completely avoidable. As details emerge, attention will focus on young reckless drivers. Our roads proliferate with underage drivers who, due to a combination of parental wealth, a grotesque sense of entitlement and teenage hormones, not only break the law, but are often involved in needless accidents. They drive around locally “suped up” cars, with little or no quality control. That however is one side of the coin. This tragedy took ...

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It’s the education, economy and environment, stupid!

The dominant national narrative encourages the diversion of resources to meet the needs of our nation’s military. The budget statement is incomplete without statements that go something like: the government is more than willing to offer whatever resources the military demands to meet the nation’s defence. Whether we should sign a blank cheque and then allow the audacity to dare to question where the money is spent is an argument that creates much passion; however, as time passes by, it is becoming increasingly clear that the perpetuation of such policies is making our nation both internally and externally insecure. The shrinking ...

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Bowing to Arab pressure: Nature pays the price of politics

The “West” is by far Pakistan’s favourite whipping boy. Many view the Pakistani state as subservient to Western demands, compromising its interests and the welfare of its citizens to please its “master”. Closer to home are another set of masters who have made Pakistan their playground and its peoples its servants. The rulers of many Gulf States have for long relied on the cheap labour that has built their palaces, roads, buildings and filled the rank and file of their military. Not content with the rabid exploitation of the Pakistani labour class, endangered species such as the houbara bustard famous in ...

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General Kayani, the real man in power

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was recently included in the Forbes World’s Most Powerful People. Ranked at 29, General Kayani is Pakistan’s only representative on the list. The authors of this list took account of four broad criteria. First, Forbes looked at the number of people the individual had influence over. General Kayani’s decisions undoubtedly affect every Pakistani. As the guiding figure behind Pakistan’s defence and foreign policy, his decisions directly affect the conflict in Afghanistan and by extension, the nations who have a stake in Afghanistan’s future. Second, the editors looked at whether “they have significant financial resources relative to their peers.” ...

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Whose country is this anyways? (Part II)

My second blog for The Express Tribune was titled “Whose country is this anyways?” At the time, the Supreme Court was hearing a case regarding the construction of the Citizen Club. The Club was meant to be an alternative to the oversubscribed and packed Islamabad Club. Articles such as “Will there be a Citizen Club in F-9 Park” claimed that the citizens of the twin cities (those who were eligible for membership that is) were eagerly awaiting the opening of the club as it offered excellent facilities including: an auditorium having 475 seats, three conference halls, two banquet halls, one party hall, ...

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Dear elitist, don’t take away my vote

Musharraf’s return to politics and the MQM’s land reform bill has brought the ubiquitous villain, feudalism, to the centre of political debate. Hand in hand, a view that has been aired vociferously is the notion that “illiterate” and “poor” people waste their votes. It’s the fault of those “damn illiterate people” who choose the wrong people, some say. Others have argued that it’s a shame that “A PhD and an illiterate farmer both have an equal vote”. In a nutshell, it seems that a strand of the urban English-speaking elite believes that the electorate doesn’t know what’s best for them; that they are responsible for bringing in the current “democratic dispensation” of crooks ...

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