raza.habib

Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

Who will invest in Pakistan if its head of state constantly highlights its corruption and desperation?

Prime Minister Imran Khan, after taking oath, has so far been on six foreign trips despite initially stating that he would not go on any foreign trips for the first three months. Perhaps given the economic dire circumstances, these trips were inevitable. The extent of success of these trips, with respect to obtaining economic aid and attracting investment, is still being debated in the national media. However, another thing which is under discussion is the way prime minister conducted himself on these trips. Like all rulers, Imran has also tried to market Pakistan by pointing towards its large young population, ...

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Master of U-turns, leader of none

A few days ago, a statement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan started to generate a lot of interest on all media forums. Imran, who is also satirically called “U-turn Khan” for his habit of retracting his lofty statements, tried to defend this practice by stating that a true leader always takes a timely U-turn. Elaborating, he then came up with the analogy of Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte’s fatal decision to continue their advance into Russia instead of taking a U-turn, an error which resulted in heavy casualties. According to Imran, “One who doesn’t take decisions according to the demand of ...

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Neither Republicans nor Democrats, the women of America won the 2018 midterm elections

I still remember the night of November 8, 2016, as I waited for the major results of the elections to come in. At the time, I had been in the US for around five years and had started to consider it my home. Owing to the fact I am a person of colour belonging to the Muslim faith, the elections held special significance for me. This was only natural, as before the elections, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had constantly whipped up hatred against people of colour, immigrants, and of course, Muslims. I identified with all three. But I was not the ...

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‘Naya Pakistan’ – PTI’s best-selling joke

The verdict of the 2018 by-elections is in, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) losing some of the seats it had previously won in the General Elections. Yes, their supporters will say the party has won more seats than the opposition, but the fact remains that losing seats which you previously won, and that too in the by-polls (which always favour the sitting government) is a bad sign. Things are not going well, and the electorate is noticing the sheer incompetence and cluelessness of the PTI government. I am trying to recall, but despite my best efforts cannot remember a comparable level ...

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Points Of Entry: Dissecting Pakistan’s ‘real’ history, one page at a time

Nadeem Farooq Paracha, or NFP as he is often called, has been one of the profound influences on my intellectual development. I have been an avid reader of his columns since the early 90s when he started making his mark as a music critic. As a keen reader, besides his regular columns, I have also read all of his three books. Not only that, I also reviewed his first book titled End of the Past for Huffington Post and also had the privilege of interviewing him about his second book for Express Tribune. His third book, which I have recently finished, is linked ...

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Reality check: Atif Mian did not need the post – the EAC and Pakistan needed him

Several days ago, when the controversy around Atif Mian’s appointment was beginning to erupt, a friend sent me a brief clip of Fawad Chaudhry’s press conference. In this clip, Chaudhry can be seen defending the government’s decision to appoint Mian as a member of the newly formed Economic Advisory Committee (EAC). My friend, who unlike me is an ardent supporter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), shared that clip to prove that liberals – or fake liberals/ libtards/ pseudo-liberals as he calls them, which of course includes me – have been generally unfair to the PTI. To be honest, when ...

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If religious parties were not elected into power, is the Pakistani voter thus “moderate”?

The 2018 Elections are over, giving a healthy but controversial victory to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). These elections were, according to many independent correspondents, one of the “dirtiest” in living memory, mainly due to the tactics employed by mainstream parties and the extreme political polarisation in the electorate. Besides other things, one crucial aspect that truly distinguished these elections from previous ones was the intense whipping up of religious sensitivities – like bringing up the Finality of Prophethood (pbuh) – by several parties. Although this issue had been raised earlier as well, it took centre stage during the elections. Due ...

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The Turkish Republic, as we know it, is dead

In perhaps the most important election of the past two decades, Turkey has given its verdict, electing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the president and also giving his party, Justice and Development Party (AKP), who fought the elections in coalition with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a majority in the Parliament. President Erdogan called an early election because he was expecting to win at this time, and therefore, wanted to use the opportunity to consolidate his presidency, which after last year’s referendum had become an extremely powerful post. Just to reiterate that presidency after the referendum is no longer a ceremonial post but gives ...

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Out with the new, in with the old: Is Imran Khan sacrificing his “Naya Pakistan” to win the elections?

As the country approaches the all-important elections, the selection of candidates by all major parties is almost complete. This is an extremely important stage of the electoral process, as the eventual legislature will be formed out of the pool of these candidates. Moreover, in a democracy like Pakistan’s, whom you give a ticket to is extremely important for both pragmatic as well as normative reasons. From a pragmatic aspect, while candidates are important in every democracy, in countries like Pakistan they are even more significant. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, Pakistan follows a majoritarian model as opposed to proportional ...

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Ahsan Iqbal was shot but the bullets were provided by the very hands he shakes

As I write this, the country is still reeling from the shock of an assassination attempt on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. I am grateful that the minister has survived and is on his way to recovery. The accused attacker, who has been caught, claims to have attempted this assassination on the pretext of protecting “Khatm-e-Nabuwat” (finality of Prophethood). Considering the fact that Ahsan himself is a religious and a very decent person, this is an extremely dangerous development. It shows that now, literally, anyone could be a target, if some fanatic believes that he or she has violated the sanctity ...

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