Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

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

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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PTI calling the kettle black: What they call ‘tabdeeli’ in Naya Pakistan is mere sloganeering in old Pakistan

The appointment of Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari as a special assistant to the premier has shocked many, even within the ranks of the Pakistan-e-Tehreek Insaf (PTI). His designation is in many ways equivalent to that of the minister of state, and he will subsequently be availing the perks and privileges given to a minister of such a position. On the face of it, Bukhari came close to Imran Khan when he assisted him in finding forensic companies to investigate the business dealings of Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz. As a result, he quickly became Imran’s blue-eyed ...

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RIP Kulsoom Nawaz: An embodiment of ‘when they go low, we go high’

The death of Kulsoom Nawaz, three-time former first lady and wife of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is a loss deeply felt by all, but especially by those who have an inkling of her role in our political history. Kulsoom was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2017, and she passed away in London at the age of 68 after fighting a long and strenuous battle. The entire nation prays she rests in peace. Kulsoom will undoubtedly always be remembered as the woman who stood against the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, and pushed him on the back foot by not ...

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Damage control: Why Imran Khan needs to put foreign diplomacy before domestic issues

In the globalised world of today, the foreign policy of any state is the most vital component to its progress. This is how states interact with each other and negotiate their interests, as you have to figure out how to fulfil your national interest while also giving other states a way to fulfil theirs. In Pakistan, it has been the control over foreign policy that has been the cause behind major rifts between civilian governments and officials of other institutions. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were all elected leaders thrown out of power due to their efforts ...

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