farooq.tirmizi

Farooq Tirmizi

The author is an investment analyst. He tweets as @FarooqTirmizi (twitter.com/FarooqTirmizi)

The MQM is dying because Muhajirs don’t need it anymore

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) is dying. And no, Raheel Sharif and the Pakistan Army have absolutely nothing to do with its death, though they certainly seem gleeful at the prospect and appear to be doing everything within their power to hasten the demise of the party that claims to represent the interests of Muhajirs in Pakistan. To put it simply, the MQM is dying because it has no reason to live anymore. And while some of its supporters still cling on to its slogans as comfortable relics of the past, and its machinery of death and destruction can still ...

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The government cannot do everything for you

It is a paradox that I have failed to understand: Pakistanis tend to hate their government, think of it as corrupt and incompetent, but at the same time, we feel that the government should do absolutely everything for us. The average Pakistani sees absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of the government setting prices in energy and agriculture. They see nothing wrong with the government blatantly discriminating against some industries by giving others preferential treatment in the tax code and regulatory structure. And most people do not seem to have a problem with the fact that the government owns vast swathes ...

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When the victims are buried in mass graves, it’s genocide

When they need mass graves to bury the victims, it is time to start calling it a genocide. I have seen gut-wrenching images of poor Hazara men and women mourning their loved ones who were killed simply for being Shia. I saw horrible images of the scene of violence of the bomb blasts this past weekend in Quetta. But nothing moved me quite like the picture of the mass grave that was dug last month to bury the 93 victims of anti-Shia savagery. To my mind, nothing encapsulates just how low we have sunk than the fact that we now have ...

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Maya Khan and the barbaric arrogance of fundamentalism

It is apparently not enough anymore to discriminate against religious minorities in our laws or to attack their houses of worship or places of residence in random, unprovoked acts of violence. People like Maya Khan now want to use the few remaining religious minorities in the country for entertainment too. Many publications have rightly pointed out that the televised conversion of a Hindu man named Sunil to Islam was an act that was incredibly insensitive to religious minorities in a country where forced conversions and abductions are far too common. But I have a far deeper problem with just the ...

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How golden was Ayub Khan’s era?

The numbers do not lie: in terms of economic growth, former President Ayub Khan was not the best ruler Pakistan ever had. Admittedly, he is in second place and beaten only very narrowly by former President Ziaul Haq: Ayub averaged 5.82% growth during his eleven years in office compared to Zia’s 5.88%. Still, the myth of Ayub’s “Decade of Development” persists and so it is worth examining (on what would have been his 105th birthday), what his record was and how he compared to the rest of Pakistan’s rulers. Perhaps the single biggest reason people remember Ayub’s era fondly is because ...

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Trade with India, for a better Pakistan

If the choice facing Pakistan is abandoning its claims on the Indian side of Kashmir in exchange for free trade with India, then I see it as an automatic choice: the economic future of 180 million citizens of Pakistan is not worth sacrificing for the sake of some vague political aspirations of a fraction of the 12 million or so who live on the Indian side of Kashmir. The hyper-nationalists that populate a surprisingly large segment of Pakistani cyberspace will no doubt argue that this is “selling Kashmir down the river”. Has anyone ever thought of the fairness of it ...

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Why Memogate doesn’t matter

If you held a gun to the head of any prominent Pakistani journalist and asked them to explain the energy crisis in the country, the overwhelming majority would be unable to tell you what actually caused it. Yet ask any one of those same people to explain to you exactly what happened in the Memogate scandal and almost all of them will be able to give you a blow-by-blow account of what happened and their own views on what was most significant about the whole affair. The problem with most of us in the media is our absolute obsession with the ...

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Liberty must trump security

How safe is safe enough? As terrorist attacks have hit nearly every major city in the country over the last four years, this is a question that almost nobody has asked. We now accept random police checkpoints, and intrusive security measures at places that were once significantly more open. A small price to pay for security, some might argue, but I only have one question: for how long? Exactly when will it be safe enough to take them all down? When there are zero bomb attacks in the country? We have had several months of those. A whole year, maybe? What ...

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Capitalism need not apologise

To those who have watched the financial crises of the United States and Europe unfolding with glee and pronounced with unabashed joy that capitalism is about to die, or at the very least, humbled, I have some very bad news: capitalism is very much here to stay and is not about to apologise to anyone for the mess the world is in. Most Pakistanis do not think about how the economy should be organised, but it is surprising that amongst the few that do, a large number does not believe that the nation’s economic foundations should be built upon the ...

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Why 9/11 was inevitable

Anyone who was paying attention to the news coming out of Afghanistan and Central Asia in the late 1990s and the early part of the decade could tell that something had to give. Collecting the world’s most hardened militants in one country and allowing them to train together was never going to go on for too long without something breaking and some powerful country getting very upset. To be sure, nobody predicted 9/11, not even Ahmed Rashid who probably studied the subject of militancy in Central Asia more closely than anyone prior to that event. But the alliance of al ...

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