Stories published in November, 2019

Shaukat Yousafzai proves why the PTI government is comedy gold

The current government has many detractors. Words like inept and clueless get bandied about all the time. But as this government drives the nation into the ground, and as you get repeatedly pummelled in the face by the nation’s growing economic woes, take solace in the fact that you will more often than not have a smile on your face during your destruction. While the first year or so in office for a new government is usually seen as an opportunity to lay the stage upon which the ruling party will build upon in the coming years, the Pakistan ...

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The extension fiasco: Who won, who lost?

On Thursday, the nerve-wracking court proceedings regarding the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa finally concluded. The comedy of errors unleashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team meant that the government almost shot itself in the foot, insisting on committing blunder after blunder. From the simple clerical mistakes in the drafts presented in court to not being able to convince the court as to why Bajwa’s extension was essential, the antics which ensued have surely left PTI red-faced. The court has provided Bajwa with a temporary lease by giving him a six month extension ...

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The Clean Green Pakistan Index: A futile exercise?

Pakistan’s cities are ridiculously congested. They often feature a polluted water supply, over flowing garbage and toxic air pollution. As many environmentalists point out, they are gradually becoming unlivable, which is why many of us have welcomed the recent introduction of the Clean Green Pakistan Index. This index aims to encourage competition among Pakistan’s cities on various indicators like access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management and tree plantation. The index was launched in Islamabad this week and Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the example of his home-town Lahore which, in his younger days, was ...

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The ban on political activities in UoB underscores the importance of the Students Solidarity March

On November 26th, a notification issued by the governor’s secretariat in Balochistan called for a plenary ban on all political activities and gatherings inside the University of Balochistan (UoB) campus in order to ensure a “conducive environment” for teaching. Such a demand is ludicrous and is a blatant attempt to try and negate the work being done by students who are trying to raise a voice against the injustices they have to encounter and flies in the face of the growing demand to hold educational institutions accountable for their actions. What makes this statement even harder to digest is the fact that UoB has been at ...

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Sindh’s quick, cheap and ludicrous tribal courts make a mockery of justice

The recent tussle between the judiciary and the government has reignited the debate over two distinct systems of justice for the eminent and the poor. In his book the Animal Farm, George Orwell writes,  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” That would seem to be somewhat true in light of the recent decisions regarding Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharaf. Nevertheless, there is another oft-forgotten system of justice that runs parallel to the mainstream court system: the tribal elders’ council of justice. However, this alternative mechanism only comes to the fore when an unfortunate incident like ...

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The blasphemy law and Junaid Hafeez’s forgotten plight

Given that Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa is currently preoccupied with whether or not General Bajwa should receive an extension, it is possible that a recent letter addressed to him may have slipped through the cracks, passing by his radar undetected. On November 26th, the parents of Junaid Hafeez wrote to Khosa asking him to provide justice to their son who has been in jail since 2013 on blasphemy charges. Belonging to the district of Rajanpur, Punjab, from a young age Hafeez excelled academically and eventually decided to teach English Literature at his alma matter, the Bahauddin Zakariya University in ...

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Is Pakistan’s e-commerce framework effective?

The E-commerce Framework of Pakistan highlights nine different aspects which require the government’s attention. The first one is the e-commerce regulations section. The policy outline for these regulations appear to have been created after much introspection and investigation. However, as someone who has seen e-commerce evolve and flourish in countries such as China, UK and finally Pakistan, I believe that a suitable perspective must be adopted when formulating these regulatory policies. E-commerce in Pakistan is still in its infancy. A McKinsey research states that the lack of funding opportunities in Pakistan is the first major bottleneck in the development of ...

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When will Imran Khan get his own house in order?

Prime Minister Imran Khan can often be heard insisting that he will not let any corrupt politician go scot free and that at no cost will he grant NROs. Sadly, with Nawaz Sharif departing for London this past week, it is apparent that the premier’s claims ring hollow. However, Imran continues to reiterate these assertions with increased vigour. It seems he has lost touch with the political realities that have clearly changed since he took over the reins of the country. Not a single day goes by without Imran constantly complaining about the supposed corruption of his opponents, which he ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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Can Pakistan reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution or 4IR, for short, is altering human development through the advent of rapid-progressive technology. The Internet of Things (IoT), AI powered computers and big data are just some of the manifestations of this technological transformation. In simple terms, the 4IR is the amalgamation of the digital, physical and biological aspects of our daily lives. This was preceded by a digital revolution which primarily involved computers and information technology. What differentiates 4IR from its predecessor is the speed of the relevant technologies and its expansive effects on our day to day lives. Unfortunately, developing economies such as Pakistan ...

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