Farhan Zaheer

Farhan Zaheer

A reporter on the business desk of The Express Tribune.

Pakistan’s murder: Aftermath of Nanga Parbat massacre

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), a thinly populated area in the northern parts of Pakistan, is solely dependent upon tourism and agriculture for its sustenance. Commonly known as the mountaineers’ paradise on earth, it is safe to assume that the world’s top mountaineers and trekkers know this region better than most Pakistanis do, since a majority of the Pakistanis do not know a lot about G-B, other than that this land hosts five of the world’s tallest 14 peaks, which are above 8,000 metres. Last week, G-B was in the media spotlight as 10 foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide were killed by ...

Read Full Post

Can Pakistan learn from Belgium?

Is Pakistan the only country in the world that is facing sectarian violence in today’s world? Can we expect Pakistan to overcome it in the coming years? With a huge population, widespread poverty and various non-state actors, it may take Pakistan many years to fight this menace but it is not impossible to take this challenge head-on. We have the example of Belgium before us, which resolved this problem successfully. Belgium – a small but ethnically diverse country in the heart of Europe consisting of French, German and Dutch-speaking population – took over four centuries to learn the lesson of peaceful ...

Read Full Post
February 17, 2013
TOPICS

Which political party is closest to the business lobby?

With general elections ahead, every leading political party claims to have the solution for the country’s chronic economic problems in their ‘economic agenda’. While some parties have revealed their economic agendas in the last few months, many have not bothered to fulfill this basic formality. There is not a single political party in the country that can claim to have the confidence of the business community. The failure of the Pakistan Peoples Party government in handling the economic affairs of Pakistan has compelled a large number of businessmen to look at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Sensing ...

Read Full Post

Avoiding aviation disasters

On November 18, President Asif Ali Zardari finally woke up and took notice of an emergency landing by a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane and demanded a “comprehensive” report in three days. The organisations that have been asked to submit a report to the president — the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA — are politicised to the core. Through his spokesperson, President Zardari expressed “deep concern over the recurring reports of emergency landings of PIA aircraft mostly due to technical reasons”. Since this is the case and precious lives are at stake, independent people should be appointed to head ...

Read Full Post

Budget 2012: What about tax collection?

Dr Hafeez Shaikh is a helpless man. He says powerful lobbies in the country do not want to pay taxes. This is true, but it’s nothing new for us. What duty is the current elected government performing, if not tax collection, to run the country? Everyone wants the budget to provide some form of relief but nobody is willing to pay tax. Unfortunately, those who do end up paying their taxes in Pakistan, the salaried class, are being further burdened, while the powerful people in agriculture and services sector are free of any societal responsibility. It is well known that government ...

Read Full Post

Traders paradise or political nightmare?

After a delay of 15 years, Pakistan finally took the decision on the much-talked most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India this week. Technically speaking, the MFN status will automatically be given to India by the end of this year. Pakistan has a negative trade list with India with 1,209 items (items that both countries cannot trade with each other) that will be phased out by December 31, 2012. After that, both countries can import or export anything to each other. According to the Indian minister for commerce, Anand Sharma, now almost 90 percent items can be traded with Pakistan as opposed ...

Read Full Post

Let’s promote ‘religious tourism’

Over 8,000 Sikh pilgrims from various countries visited Pakistan recently to celebrate the 543rd birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. This is not the only occasion in the calendar year when Sikh pilgrims come to Pakistan to visit their religious sites. The federal government has always been sensitive to the needs of Sikh pilgrims, but few in government may have thought that this traditional hospitality can also be converted into a source of earning. Since so many Sikhs visit the country throughout the year, it can use their arrival ...

Read Full Post

Caught between US and Haqqanis

The US has publicly said that the Haqqani network targeted their embassy in Kabul with the assistance of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. This is perhaps the strongest accusation of double-dealing in the ten years since Pakistan chose to side with the US in its war on terror. The charge that Pakistan is not fully on board in this conflict is somewhat unfair. After all it is Pakistan, a relatively poor country, which has lost over 35,000 innocent citizens and security personnel in this period. The US, the world’s sole superpower, has not suffered anywhere near this number of casualties. ...

Read Full Post

Why Pakistan and India must increase bilateral trade

Since 2008, Pakistan has been experiencing the lowest average GDP growth of all South Asian countries, at 3%. Few will disagree that this is perhaps among the biggest challenges that Pakistan is facing at present. China and our arch-rival India are both booming, both experiencing over 8% GDP growth for the past few years. It should be borne in mind that both countries have been rivals themselves and had a border dispute many years ago that erupted into a war. However, both have realised the mutual benefits of trading with one another and whatever disputes they may have had are ...

Read Full Post

SOS call for higher education

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has functioned brilliantly in recent years. It had numerous achievements, but one of the more tangible ones was the significant improvement in the quality and quantity of the research work undertaken in universities across the country. The present government has announced that it will devolve the HEC to the provinces, while stating that this was required under the 18th Amendment, and that education will now be the sole domain of the provinces. HEC officials however dismissed the proposed devolution under the 18th amendment, while maintaining that the commission was an independent institution that was functioning directly ...

Read Full Post