The consequences of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s words

Prime Minister Imran Khan finally paid a visit to Iran upon the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and the two-day visit was very important considering the strategic importance of both countries combined with the extreme tension between them on their over 900-kilometre long border. During his visit, apart from meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Imran addressed a joint press conference with Rouhani in which both countries stressed upon the importance of improving relations through bilateral dialogue, especially to combat the threats of drug smuggling and terrorism. This was a rather strange joint presser, as both Pakistan and Iran have ...

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The deliberate collapse of education in Sindh, courtesy of PPP

The Sindh government budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 witnessed an increase in spending on education, with the Rs208.23 billion allocated for the education sector showing an increase in spending of 14.67% from the outgoing fiscal year. Since the incumbent ruling party in Sindh took the reins of power years ago, budgetary allocations kept increasing every year compared to previous years, while education standards remained stagnant, or rather, deteriorated. For instance, an estimated 52% of children in Sindh are still out of school. Despite billions of rupees being ‘spent’ every year on education by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) provincial government, ...

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Imran Khan’s 8-month conundrum: Taking the right decision or the popular one?

Ever since Imran Khan has been sworn in as the prime minister of Pakistan, somehow his administration has never failed to supply flabbergasting news every now and then. His right-hand man on the economy and star finance minister, Asad Umar, has stepped down, followed by a major reshuffle in the cabinet in which various cabinet members saw their portfolios changed. For instance, Fawad Chaudhry is now the Minister for Science and Technology, despite brushing off such rumours just a few days ago. This may smell of chaos inside the administration, but I seriously doubt it. I actually welcome the move because ...

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With Asad Umar gone, who will Imran Khan blame for his government’s failure?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has, after much criticism, finally shuffled its cabinet. Many federal ministers, such as Ghulam Sarwar, Fawad Chaudhry and Shehryar Afridi, have been given different portfolios, while Finance Minister Asad Umar refused to accept a cabinet position and has thus stepped down from office. Though Umar’s removal did not come as a surprise – his performance was heavily criticised and his departure was expected – it is the timing that is questionable. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles, relying heavily on the bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Umar had been negotiating for the ...

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How many Ahsans, Amals, Aqsas, Intezars, Nimras, Sajjads will we lose to police encounters?

Conducting encounters to catch criminals, only to end up killing innocent people, has become a favourite pastime for our law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Just a few months ago, we saw the brutal massacre of four people, including a woman and her teenage daughter, in Sahiwal. In yet another case of the innocent paying the price for police negligence, a toddler has lost his life after being fatally shot during an encounter between the police and dacoits in Karachi. Two-year-old Mohammad Ahsan Shaikh was travelling in a rickshaw with his parents when a bullet hit him, and when his father got ...

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Why Pakistan made a blunder by blindly surrendering to India’s Khalistan movement

Sikh civil society groups have condemned Pakistan’s decision to ban activities of Sikhs peacefully campaigning for ‘Referendum 2020’ in which Sikhs plan to defy New Delhi and exercise their democratic right to vote on the issue of self-determination. Next year, Sikhs intend to vote either “yes or no” on the question of whether Khalistan should be formed as an independent state that would separate from the Indian state of Punjab. Similar votes have happened throughout the world with a wide array of results. We condemn the Pakistan Govt & ISI for appeasing India it’s time they chose a side enough ...

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Was Hanif Abbasi only arrested to benefit PTI in the 2018 General Elections?

Hanif Abbasi, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader from Rawalpindi, has finally been given some relief as the Lahore High Court special bench suspended his life sentence in the ephedrine quota case and granted him bail. It was always expected that Abbasi would be freed whenever a higher court would take up his appeal, as the prosecution never submitted any solid evidence in the court of law. In fact, the way Abbasi was awarded a life sentence by the anti-narcotics court was strange and unprecedented. The judge who awarded this sentence admitted that he took the help from Google to ...

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PTI’s ‘dollar hoarding’ witch-hunt may be worsening the problem rather than solving it

Devaluing your currency is a relatively benign measure; however, to openly launch a hunt for ‘dollar hoarding’ is a radical step by any metric. In macroeconomic terms, corrective mechanisms have usually focused on one’s own currency through what the practitioners call fiscal and monetary policy. This has usually been done through taxing or printing more of your own money and encouraging people to borrow or save more. These steps have been taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, now with this new policy of a crackdown on ‘dollar hoarding’, we see an authoritarian turn to macroeconomic policy. Government has directed ...

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It’s 2019 and PMDC is still struggling with emails, while ‘valuable assets’ lose opportunities

Every year, between 1,000 and 1,500 Pakistani physicians leave the country to pursue their advanced medical training. As a result, there are currently thousands of Pakistani physicians working in the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East.   According to the 2016 Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) census, there are more than 12,000 active-licensed Pakistani physicians working in the US alone, while similar estimates for the UK, ranging around 2,300. To continue their academic pursuits, these physicians are required to attain temporary, and eventually permanent, registration with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). One would expect the process of obtaining ...

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The ghosts of Imran Khan’s past: When PTI criticised PML-N for petroleum price hikes

The rising inflation, the dwindling foreign reserves and the growing current account deficit have all practically halted the progress of the country’s economy for the last seven to eight months. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government still seems clueless about how to put the economy on the right track again, and in order to collect more revenue to generate resources for its expenses, it has now increased the prices of petroleum products. After a price hike of Rs6, petrol now stands at Rs98.89 per litre. At a time when the masses are finding it almost impossible to manage necessary expenses ...

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