waqqas.iftikhar

Waqqas Iftikhar

An economist who works in a foreign bank in Karachi. He writes about sports.

Spot-fixing: Will PCB investigate others?

In light of the convictions of the three Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir the most important course of action for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to not sweep the remaining garbage under the rather large and dirty carpet available to the world of cricket. Repeatedly, throughout the trial, and even before, there was the ubiquitous presence of Kamran Akmal around Salman Butt and Mazhar Majeed. Now Majeed has disclosed that another ‘un-named’ Pakistani cricketer also met him along with Butt to discuss the possibilities of spot-fixing way back in 2009. ...

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Mourinho’s faltering tactics and how football was ruined

Watching Jose Mourinho coach this Real Madrid team is like watching a slow descent into madness, a football version of Apocalypse Now if you will. Tuesday night was not much different, even though the Spanish Super Cup can be regarded as the equivalent of England’s Community Shield, generally thought of as a glorified pre-season game. However, this time round, these games were contested by bitter rivals: the Community Shield saw Manchester United clash with Manchester City but the atmosphere was nowhere near as explosive as what transpired at Camp Nou. Focus not on football Football became a sideshow, an act not witnessed ...

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Who will speak up for Syria?

Over 1,700 people have died since  mid-March in Syria, with tens of thousands injured. Why? Because they have the temerity to ask for their rights, demand the freedom to go out and vote, to elect their representatives and to lead a life without the perpetual fear of the dreaded Mukhabarat (secret police). Syria, is one of the reclusive countries in the Middle East, slightly more open to the world than the consummate autarky that is North Korea. The country has been ruled by the iron-fisted Assad family and their Ba’athist associates since 1966 with Hafez Al-Assad, the current president Bashar Al-Assad’s ...

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Breaking down the KESC strike

The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has been embroiled in a dispute with pockets of its unionised labour force for a while now. We have witnessed unbelievable scenes involving violent protests at the central office of the KESC, followed by accusations and counter-accusations from both sides. Now, the management of the electric supply company has stated that they were unable to procure additional supplies of furnace oil due to an ‘emergency’ situation, thus jeopardising the supply of electricity to the city. On the other hand, the roundabout near the Governor House has become a campsite, inconveniencing motorists on one of the ...

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El Clasico: God’s gift to mankind

Football enthusiasts around the world, and particularly ones partial to La Liga, have a feast of beautiful football to look forward to in the next two weeks. In case you have been living under a rock for the past week or so, an unprecedented deal of four El Clasicos were scheduled in the span of four weeks. Two have already taken place with Barcelona and Real Madrid involved in a 1-1 stalemate in the league. As both goals came from the spot, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo finished with honours even. The second was a match-up in the Copa del Rey ...

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Bye bye Ireland: What the ICC doesn’t see

With its decision to exclude Ireland from the 2015 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is hearkening back to the days when it was called the Imperial Cricket Council – when the ‘natives’ had to prove themselves to stand at the top table of world cricket. In those times, it was India and Pakistan who had to fight for the right to have legitimate Test tours and deference was given to other Test teams. This time around, it is the Emerald Isle who is the victims of the ICC’s Ejaz Butt-esque levels of incompetence. Unfair ICC Instead of encouraging Irish cricket ...

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Uncle Sam on Egypt: The truth in the rhetoric

The Egyptians are unhappy with Mubarak and the Tunisians have already rid themselves of Ben Ali; the Jordanians succeeded in pushing their monarch and the Yemenis are demonstrating against their long-standing ruler. There finally is some life in the corpse that has been the Muslim middle-eastern polity. Nonetheless, none of these ‘revolutions’ would have been possible without the tacit approval of the US, that bi-polar policeman of a uni-polar world. Uncle Sam tells you what you want to hear Uncle Sam has a long history of supporting regime change in various parts of the world from Cuba to Iran, Iraq and Pakistan ...

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Liberals then, and liberals now

The lack of pluralism within our society is emblematic of our intolerance in general. I hate to be cynical, but it has always been this way and I fear that it shall remain so. There has been talk on these pages of a ‘liberal movement’ or ‘liberal activism’ as well as ‘liberal fascists/ liberal extremists’. The fact of the matter remains that left-of-centre social and political thought has never been the ‘done’ thing in this country. Ghosts of a leftist past In the early 50’s right up to the 60’s and 70’s, this country had some semblance of leftist thinking. There was ...

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Media coverage: Shock, sell, forget…

The other day, one of the major TV news channels was doing a story on the two brothers, Mughees and Muneeb who were beaten to death by a frenzied mob in Buttar village, Sialkot. The program did short interviews with residents of Hajipura, where the boys were from, and with their families. This is probably old news and will not “shock” or “sell” but it was encouraging and depressing in the same breath. It was encouraging because television channels do not usually follow-up on their stories. Something horrible happens, someone does something inhuman, there is a hue and cry, “analysts” and ...

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Give the girls a chance!

Amidst all the allegations surrounding the men’s national cricket team – the spot-fixing controversy, selections rows, and the general consistency with which they implode, it was a pleasant surprise to see the women’s team win some laurels. Forget the fact that they beat China and Japan, not really the mightiest opposition in cricketing terms, forget the fact that, from what we saw, the cricket seemed to be of a ludicrously pastoral standard (although I would not mind some of the women fielders in place of Imran Farhat in the ODI side) – the fact of the matter is that this ...

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