Shajeel Zaidi

Shajeel Zaidi

The writer works in alternative financing firm on Wall Street, and has an interest in world politics and history. He tweets @shajboi (twitter.com/shajboi)

Trump’s impeachment acquittal is in Pakistan’s best interest

While many in America lament the increasing likelihood of President Donald Trump being acquitted of all the charges which have been levied against him over the course of the impeachment trial, one could argue that Trump staying in office would actually benefit Pakistan. For years, America had kept Pakistan on a leash, and relations between the Pakistan government and the United States had soured during the Obama administration as a result of what has popularly been referred to as the ‘Obama Doctrine.’ Repeated American drone strikes during Obama’s years in office and an inability on part of our leaders to effectively communicate our national ...

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Should Faisal Vawda be given the boot for his eccentric antics?

Just when you think Pakistan’s politics could not get any more embarrassing, some politician will decide to surprise you by stooping to a new low. Recently, Faisal Vawda, the federal minister for water resources decided to place a military style boot on the table during a political talk show in an attempt to theatrically mock the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Admittedly, politics does involve a certain degree of theatrics the world over, but in Pakistan, it is purely melodramatic. Issues of genuine significance are rarely discussed and most politicians do little more than point fingers, accusing each other of being ...

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Trump’s imperial arrogance will have disastrous ramifications

The spectre of war is haunting the Middle East. In the American diplomatic and military circles, there’s only a single line of discussion: how is Iran going to retaliate? The question has moved a little further from ‘if’, and the reason for that is Donald Trump’s addiction to late night news punditry which leaves him with a mad whirlwind of emotions, especially if it has anything to do with a perceived slight aimed at either him or the military prowess of the United States (US). On December 27th, an American contractor was killed because of rocket attacks at a military ...

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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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