Shajeel Zaidi

Shajeel Zaidi

The author works in alternative financing on Wall Street, and has a fascination with modern history and politics. He tweets as @shajboi (twitter.com/shajboi) and can also be found on Instagram as shajboi (www.instagram.com/shajboi/)

How successful are Imran Khan’s attempts at becoming an international statesperson?

“My son, look for a kingdom greater than Macedonia, for it is too small for thee.” Alexander the Great’s father, Prince Philip, said this to him when as a young boy he reined in the famous horse, Bucephalus, while everyone else who had tried to do so had failed. Now, while Imran Khan certainly is no great conqueror of lands, nor does he aspire to be, it is evident that Pakistan is too small a stage for him to play on. Even if he wants to dedicate himself wholeheartedly towards fixing Pakistan’s manifold problems and shuns all foreign commitments, it ...

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Bernie Sanders spoke up about Kashmir, but does it really matter?

We are a nation that rejoices at semantics, not action. You need only look towards the reaction to Bernie Sanders’ statement regarding Kashmir to get a sense of that. Sanders, who is currently one of the candidates vying to become the Democratic presidential nominee, recently spoke at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in Houston and made some remarks which led to a whole host of reactions. He called India’s actions in occupied Kashmir “unacceptable,” and went onto state, “The communications blockade must be lifted immediately, and the United States government must speak out boldly in support of international ...

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Stop deifying or demonising PTM, just lend them a listening ear

The military’s media wing stated in a recent statement that soldiers manning a North Waziristan checkpoint attacked by Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) workers led by MNA Mohsin Dawar “exercised maximum restraint”. Despite being attacked, the soldiers didn’t harm the PTM workers.  This is a good sign and reflects the maturity of the armed forces, but they should always exercise restraint like this. There are many conspiracy theories out there about how and why members of the PTM allegedly attacked the Kharqamar check post, or whether they attacked it at all. In addition, there are voices in the Pakistani media questioning where the PTM ...

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Is war between the US and Iran imminent?

Countries often behave like people, with the same psychological forces controlling and driving them. The United States (US) and Iran are no different. They are bitter rivals because of their differing ideologies but there’s something else at play too. From the very end of World War II, the US has tried to dominate the world’s political discourse and has dictated policies to every country it could get its hands on. From North Korea to Venezuela, the diktat has been the same – either accept our political supremacy or bear the consequences of not listening to us. Pax Americana is ...

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Pakistan and India have cheap labour too, so how is Bangladesh surpassing them?

Lisbon, Portugal, is a scenic and hilly city which has preserved its old Christian traditions and has a hint of romance to it. It’s also rare to come across any South Asians there, unless it’s a Bangladeshi. So is the case in Madrid, Spain, where I lived for some time. From the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the concrete jungle of New York, wherever I have travelled in the world, I have always come across Bangladeshi people. After some research, I have found out that my chance encounters with Bangladeshis in every nook and corner of the world were ...

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How Modi convinced India to celebrate a ‘surgical strike’ that never actually happened

Sparta, a warrior city in ancient Greece, was known for the ferocity of its soldiers. But while its soldiers might have been the best in the ancient world, its citizens were not far behind when it came to verbal jibes, particularly one-liners. For instance, Philip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great, had conquered almost every other Greek city-state. Sparta was the only one left, and that too, a relatively weak state without walls. Obviously, Philip II dispatched a messenger who delivered the Macedonian King’s message, “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans ...

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Is Pakistan ready to grant citizenship to its Afghan and Bengali refugees?

Policy and governance are most effective when idealism morphs into realism to tackle challenges and go after opportunities in the real world, while also aspiring for utopia. It is in the middle ground between these poles where effective governance happens. Thus, Imran Khan’s announcement that Pakistan would grant citizenship to refugees of Afghan and Bangladeshi origin should be seen in the same vein as his other policy decisions since his victory, many of which he has backtracked on. Atif Mian’s resignation from the Economic Advisory Committee is a case in point. The decision to oust him was a solid ...

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Khursheed Shah should take a look at PPP’s abysmal economic performance before pointing fingers at PML-N

Any accusation, any labels of incompetence hurled at Pakistani politicians have a very easy retort – the other guy is worse. Since a new election is on the horizon, our politicians have taken to this time honed art of mud-slinging with a new fervour. Khursheed Shah has come out with a statement that Pakistan’s economy has significantly deteriorated during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. Perhaps he’s forgetting Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) very dismal economic performance during its last stint. There are many facets of governance and politics which are hard to measure. Fortunately, economic performance is not one of them. ...

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Actually, General Bipin Rawat, nuclear weapons CAN deter war; a deterrence our countries are all too familiar with

Indian army chiefs rarely make policy statements. Thus, on the rare occasion when they do choose to partake in diplomatic posturing, it is taken very seriously. This is exactly why the DG ISPR and the Defence Minister took very stern notice of General Bipin Rawat’s press statement on January 12th, where he said that his force was ready to call out Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and carry out cross-border operations if need be. It must be fun to engage in high-level brinkmanship. Otherwise, it must get tiring to have so much authority and yet not be able to do anything with ...

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How did Pakistan’s stock market go from being Asia’s best to Asia’s worst?

It is a universally accepted truth that the performance of stock markets, or even individual stocks, is determined by a combination of both fundamentals and animal spirits. What a long-term investor must always investigate is whether current prices are driven by irrational exuberance or by fundamentals. However, even a seasoned investor would be hard poised to understand the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). From 2012 to 2016, while Pakistan’s economy just limped along with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of less than 5%, the stock market reached new highs almost every month, reaching its peak on May 24, 2017, by reaching 52,876.46 ...

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