Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

Why must Pakistan wait for international pressure to mount to tackle extremism?

The state has finally come out of a long slumber and has launched an operation to eliminate the religious extremist groups who are allegedly using Pakistan’s soil to create disturbances in India, Iran and Afghanistan. In the wake of the rift between Pakistan and India, this can be termed as a positive development since Pakistan is now keeping its word and investigating these non-state actors. According to Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, 44 people affiliated with extremist organisations, including Masood Azhar’s son and close relatives, have been arrested. The matter is under investigation and further action will be ...

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Will returning IAF pilot Abhinandan stop India from attacking?

It seems that the situation between Pakistan and India is gradually settling down, as Pakistan has agreed to return the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot to India as a goodwill and peace gesture. Addressing the parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he will be sending Abhinandan Varthaman home on today and also made it clear that Pakistan’s desire to deescalate should not be mistaken as weakness. This move has been welcomed by New Delhi, who had been calling for their pilot to be returned to them safely. Many from the international community have also commended the decision, including ...

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Our hospitals aren’t good enough for Nawaz Sharif – whose fault is that?

In an important advancement on Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected the appeal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was seeking suspension of his sentence due to his medical condition. A two-member bench of IHC involving Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani read the short request of the court decision saying that the appeal was dismissed because it holds no credible grounds. It further informed that Nawaz is being given the best medical treatment and the court does not feel that his case is that of unusual circumstance. The court in its nine-page decision additionally expressed that ...

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#BalakotAttack: Should Pakistan strike back?

Today, Indian fighter jets violated the Line of Control (LoC) and entered the Pakistani air space, albeit for a few minutes. This incident has further raised the tension between both the countries in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. Both countries are showing their citizens different pictures of the air attack and overall the situation seems confusing. Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 25, 2019 The Indian side maintains that it successfully destroyed the training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) during the operation. ...

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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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