Pakistan’s economic options during the coronavirus crisis

No matter what form of lockdown prevails in Pakistan, one thing is for sure, it will hurt the economy at large with the poorest households being affected the most. As the pandemic pushes the world towards a recession, thousands may lose jobs. According to the last census, a majority of our population, particularly those living in rural areas, earn around Rs 5,000 or less, which already greatly reduces the purchasing power of such households. Most daily wage labourers, both skilled and unskilled, are the most vulnerable and may slip further into destitution during the lockdown. Let us try and estimate ...

Read Full Post

Should Pakistan release its prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic?

Every person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond any shadow of doubt however, the fate of 48,008 prisoners who are under trial but still languishing in Pakistan’s jails, hangs in the balance. Not only were they already vulnerable because prosecutions, many a times, fail to prove charges, long after a sentence has been served, or worse, the accused has died in jail. But now with the pandemic, they are also more susceptible to the coronavirus outbreak, as many jails are filled to more than capacity. In times of enforced social isolation and distancing, prisons in Pakistan are ...

Read Full Post

Was Nawaz Sharif really soft on India?

Former Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam in a recent interview claimed that not only was former prime minister Nawaz Sharif soft on India himself, he directed the Foreign Office to not highlight India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Balochistan or mention Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian spy who had been arrested in the same province. She also went on to allege that Sharif was soft on India due to his business interests in the country. These claims have since been rubbished by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Khawaja Asif, while Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has seconded the allegations.  Was Sharif ...

Read Full Post

Should Pakistan be investing in carbon capture? – Part 2

This article is the second in a two part series which looks at Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and talks about the efficacy of using it to reduce our carbon footprint. Read part one here.   Public engagement with regards to the efficacy of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is important because it can mitigate the opposition to the development of the largely untapped technology. However, to achieve this, a greater and more meaningful collaboration between engineers, politicians and social scientists is required. Such meaningful interdisciplinary engagement will overcome the bias that may exist amongst various disciplines for the misunderstood carbon ...

Read Full Post

Should Pakistan be investing in carbon capture? – Part 1

This article is the first in a two part series which looks at Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and talks about the efficacy of using it to reduce our carbon footprint. ~ Before the coronavirus turned our lives upside down, climate change was one of the most pressing issues that the world and our country was facing. Despite commitments made by world leaders to mitigate carbon emissions, greenhouse gas levels continued to rise. Ironically, due to the onset of the coronavirus, we have seen air pollution levels fall drastically due to the shut down of industries all over the world. Regardless, ...

Read Full Post

Dissecting the political future of PML-N

It is naturally impossible to speculate upon what the future holds for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) if one is first unable to understand the history of the party. PML-N was founded by Nawaz Sharif, a Punjabi businessman turned politician, who gained popularity in Punjab in the 1980s during the dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq. His loyalty to Zia resulted in Sharif being appointed the chief minister of Punjab after the non-party elections of 1985. After the demise of Zia, Sharif fought in the elections on the platform of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), and in 1990 he managed to become ...

Read Full Post

Dissecting the political future of JUI-F

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) made waves once again when Maulana Fazalur Rehman threatened to dislodge the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government through a long march and sit-in last year. It seems that Fazal has a knack for ensuring that the JUI-F remains in the headlines, for better or for worse. JUI-F is a faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) which was headed by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in 1947 after parting ways with the Markazi Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Fazal’s party came into existence during the martial law of General Ziaul-Haq, when Fazal split with Maulana Samiul-Haq, who later formed his own faction of the party called Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami ...

Read Full Post

Dissecting the political future of PPP

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect military interventions. The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be. However, since the demise of Benazir, the PPP, which once enjoyed a strong vote bank in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is not doing so well there during the recent elections. It seems that PPP has now only been limited to the province ...

Read Full Post

Aurat March: A historical and legal perspective

International women’s day and by extension, the Aurat March can trace its history to a parade held on March 3, 1913 when 5000 women marched from United State Capitol towards the Treasury Building in Washington DC to fight for the right to vote. The parade itself was spearheaded by Alice Paul under the banner of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. At the time, the behaviour of the men spectating the march  was extremely unruly who continually tripped and grabbed the protesters and jeered at them while they proceeded through the streets and the police did little to stop the overtly ...

Read Full Post

Is a PML-N resurgence on the cards?

On Tuesday, the stalwarts of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal were both granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Given that PML-N has adopted a much softer line of political rhetoric and has completely ditched its narrative of “respect the vote” in an effort to mend fences with the powers that be, Abbasi and Iqbal receiving bail was not particularly surprising. It appears that a new power-sharing deal between the PML-N and the establishment is being negotiated through the back channels. However, the Punjab government’s decision to recommend to the federal government to not extend Nawaz Sharif’s bail came ...

Read Full Post