Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

The writer is a columnist and writes for various English and Urdu publications. He tweets at @rjimad (twitter.com/rjimad)

We let Kulbhushan meet his family and you let Shakirullah die in prison – where’s the justice, India?

In what can be termed as an inhuman and barbaric act, a Pakistani prisoner named Shakirullah was beaten to death in Jaipur Central Jail at the hands of Indian prisoners. Shakirullah hailed from Sialkot and was serving life imprisonment in India. It was no coincidence that he was murdered in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, which claimed the lives of atleast 44 Indian soldiers. Since the attack, the Indian government and Hindu nationalists are threatening Pakistan of dire consequences whilst harassing Kashmiri Muslims across India. According to Jaipur Central Jail’s official, Shakirullah got into a quarrel with his ...

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Give PTI six months, they said – now we have Rs2.42 trillion added to our debt

A historic problem in Pakistan, one it has been facing for quite some time now, is the debt trap. Each successive government in Pakistan keeps borrowing for temporary fixes, which only helps in the short-term but has made us worse off in the long-run. However, even before it was elected to power, the incumbent government consistently maintained it would get Pakistan out of this trap once and for all (but only they knew how). Thus far, not only has the government been entirely unsuccessful in getting us out of this mess and bridging the gap between expenditures and revenue, it ...

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Will we get #JusticeForIrshadRanjhani or will his killer get the Rao Anwar treatment?

The entire nation is by now familiar with Irshad Ranjhani’s name. He was the Karachi President of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST), and was shot multiple times by Rahim Shah, the Union Council Nazim of Bhains Colony who also belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A video that surfaced on digital and electronic media on Friday showed Ranjhani lying in a pool of his own blood on the road in broad daylight. He was still alive then, but instead of taking him to the hospital and helping him, most of the bystanders were busy making videos and taking ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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Imran Khan or Ayub Khan: Is PMRA the new tool to curb freedom of press and control media?

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government in the centre recently approved the formation of a new regulatory body, known as the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA). From now, all media, including print, electronic and social, will be simultaneously regulated by this newly established body. Organisations such as the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have already disapproved of the formation of the PMRA and have cautioned against it, terming it an attack on the freedom of press and expression. The PFUJ categorically rejected the PMRA and termed it ...

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PTI’s third finance bill in six months and yet no relief for the common man in sight

The highly anticipated second mini-budget or the third finance bill for the current fiscal year (whatever you may like to call it) has, at last, been revealed. Finance Minister Asad Umar, feeling the heat from all ‘concerned’ quarters, made an attempt to appease by announcing tax concessions to the banking sector and the business community at large. On paper, the bill looks acceptable, as it is aimed at restoring the confidence of the business sector in the economy. Abolishing the withholding tax, abolishing the super tax on the non-banking sector, continuing the 1% reduction per annum in corporate income tax, allowing capital ...

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Imran Khan has attended 6 out of 34 NA sessions, yet blames opposition for wasting taxpayers’ money

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have been on the receiving end of disapproval since they assumed power in the centre. The inappropriate behaviour and foul language of the federal and provincial ministers and their inability to accept criticism has landed the PTI government into many controversies. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan has still not been able to move on from the ‘opposition mindset’, and every now and then has passed statements that have actually ended up embarrassing his own office and cabinet. Another such statement came to the limelight through the prime minister’s recent tweet. On Monday, the opposition walked out of ...

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Dear PEMRA, it is our society that is ‘indecent’; our dramas are merely a portrayal of it

The performing arts are considered a tool for providing entertainment, relaxation and catharsis to society. Before the invention of the television, stage dramas, dancing and poetry were all important mediums in people’s lives, showing just how necessary entertainment is for us. Pakistan’s first official TV channel was launched in 1964, and we soon saw the rise of our drama industry with classic plays like Ankahi, Waris and Tanhaiyaan. However, after General Ziaul Haq’s martial law and the subsequent Islamisation of society, the entertainment industry was not spared either. As a result, the film industry gradually vanished and dramas became more ...

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With a no tolerance policy on criticism, how is the PTI government different from an authoritarian regime?

The announcement that Dr Farrukh Saleem is in fact not the spokesperson on economic and energy issues is the latest event in the chain of comedies produced by the incumbent government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Saleem was appointed as spokesperson for the government on economic and energy issues in October. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted about Saleem’s appointment, and since then Saleem appeared on TV many times as the spokesperson for the government. Ministry of Information is pleased to announce that Dr Farrukh Saleem will be the Government’s spokesperson on Economy and energy issues, notification shall follow accordingly @SaleemFarrukh — Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) ...

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The PTI fallback formula: When in doubt, blame PML-N

Ever since Sheikh Rashid has been given charge of the Ministry of Railways, he has been busy making a hue and cry about the railways department being ruined by the corruption during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s tenure. In every single press conference, Rashid levels allegations of mass corruption on members of the PML-N, particularly former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique. However, on Wednesday, December 27th an audit report by AF Ferguson was presented in the Supreme Court (SC) by Rafique’s lawyers, which stated that no corruption or irregularities were found in the railways department during the five-year tenure of ...

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