Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

To solve the economic crisis, PTI will have to move beyond optics and IK’s persona

The Pakistani rupee plunged against the US dollar yet again last week, this time by almost Rs10. The sudden fall of the rupee, which traded for around Rs140 against the dollar, gave birth to speculation and as a result also led to the stock exchange witnessing a sharp decline in index points. On Monday, the Karachi Stock Exchange saw another bloodbath as it lost 1,355 points. The premier’s statement regarding the possibility of early elections and the forecast by the State Bank of Pakistan that 2019 will slow economic growth from the projected 5% to 4% played a crucial ...

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Walk it like you talk it: What (little) did PTI achieve in its first 100 days?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has finally completed its first 100 days in power. While the number itself is insignificant to judge any government’s performance, it was Imran Khan and the rest of PTI that created the hype over the 100-day agenda to begin with, even before the party won the General Elections. It was perhaps this promise and this plan that played a role in the PTI winning the elections. However, contrary to expectations, these 100 days were not smooth sailing for the PTI. On the contrary, they were marked with controversies, cases in the Supreme Court, U-turns, ...

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Why is Pakistan’s information minster so misinformed?

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has come across yet another controversy after he was banned from entering the upper house by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. Speaking on the floor of the house, not only did Chaudhry accuse Mahmood Achakzai of corruption and of making anti-state statements, he also accused the former governments of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for embezzling funds given to Balochistan during the last 10 years. This ended up disrupting the senate session, as Achakzai’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), PML-N and PPP retaliated by levelling accusations at Chaudhry. The ...

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While PML-N, PPP drown in accountability and PTI figure out how to run the country, TLP fills the vacuum

Ever since his release from jail, Nawaz Sharif has been visibly absent from the political arena. He is seemingly cautious while talking to the media, his tone is softer, the victimisation narrative is no longer brought up, while he also does not delve into his plans for the future, or that of his party. A similar change can be witnessed in his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, who has practically disappeared from the limelight. Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif is under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), battling for political survival by defending himself on all the charges levelled against him ...

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No, the balance of payments crisis is not over – all because PTI did not do its homework on China

Imran Khan’s recent visit to China has now become the most discussed topic in drawing rooms, in the media and in the business world. This was touted as a monumental visit, given that this was the premier’s first visit to China, Pakistan’s most important friend and a significant player on the geopolitical front. With the current financial crisis in the background, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was also looking to get an immediate loan from China for economic assistance. This visit would thus determine the relationship between Pakistan’s new government and China, and set the tone for the next ...

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In the case of common man vs misuse of power, history will remember which side Imran Khan chose

Hardly a day goes by without the incumbent government making a mockery of itself with its own poor decision-making. The latest in line of a string of controversies came through its the decision to transfer the Islamabad Inspector General Police (IGP) Jan Muhammad, which came straight from the premier’s office. Getting directly involved in the bureaucracy yet again without proper procedure has proved that behind the face of the Naya Pakistan resides the same old face of power politics and nepotism. After all, this recent transfer is rumoured to be all over a cow. It all began when a ...

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The “desperate” begging bowl is no longer metaphorical

The saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ is quite clichéd, and yet it teaches a lesson from an individual level to that of societies and nations. To states, it is a reminder that while there may not be a choice when it comes to taking foreign aid, it inevitably compromises their sovereignty. Pakistan has remained trapped in the vicious cycle of taking short-term loans from international bodies for decades. Throughout his electoral campaign and even after assuming power, Imran Khan constantly maintained that the biggest hindrance towards Pakistan’s development is debt servicing and taking external loans. In his first speech ...

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NAB’s ‘selective accountability’ is only adding fuel to PML-N’s ‘victimised’ fire

Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) right before the by-elections raised legitimate concerns in the opposition regarding the impartiality of the accountability institution. Currently, the leader of the opposition and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shehbaz has been charged with misusing his former authority as chief minister of Punjab and for his alleged involvement in the Ashiyana housing scam. While he is currently under investigation by NAB, a perception has been created in the country that the PML-N is seemingly being targeted and punished for crimes other parties and politicians are exempted from. The spin wizards ...

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We can go to the IMF for loans all we want – it still won’t fix the economic crisis

With the rupee falling against the US dollar, the stock exchange crashing, and foreign currency reserves hitting a new low, it is not out of place to suggest that Imran Khan’s government has been unable to hold a firm grip over the economic crisis. They may have deteriorated the situation further with the hike in electricity and gas tariffs, which has badly affected the middle and lower middle class as the prices of essential commodities is also on the rise. Then, of course, there was the perpetual indecision over going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), only to finally ...

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(Un)clean and (dis)honest: When karma paid a little visit to Jahangir Tareen and Imran Khan

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has finally dismissed Jahangir Khan Tareen’s review petition, filed by him after being disqualified for life alongside former premier Nawaz Sharif. Tareen was found to be dishonest under article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA, due to him concealing SVL, an offshore company also known as ‘Hyde House’, which he failed to declare in his nomination papers. By submitting an untrue statement – that he had no beneficial interest in SVL – he proved his dishonesty in the eyes of the law. Tareen always maintained that the verdict against ...

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