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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Why every prime minister has failed to ‘fix’ the civil service of Pakistan

Every prime minister of Pakistan has promised to ‘fix’ the civil service. The issue has enjoyed support from parties across the political spectrum. After all, who wouldn’t like Pakistan to have a better civil service? The citizens demand it. The politicians want to do it. The experts know how to do it. Why, then, has every reform effort either failed miserably or been shot down in its infancy? The short answer is that it is easy to talk about civil service reform but is much more difficult to do it. The long answer is that the civil service problem has ...

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Religious persecution under the guise of free will?

How does it feel to be a child one day and a woman the next? How does it feel to take a different name for the deity you believe in? How does it feel to begin a daily ritual in a new language, with new customs? For you and me, this may seem difficult. But for a child who is forced to give up her name, identity, relations as well as her faith, describing the experience as catastrophic would be an understatement. After a prolonged cold spell of winter, as Pakistan basks in the warm sunlight of spring, the Hindu ...

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Why the time to invest in Pakistan is now

Being a capital market participant, I have seen quite a few ups and downs during the past decade. I have experience of evaluating a large number of companies listed at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). I believe, at this point in time, most of the listed companies are trading well below their fair price, thus, offering good return potential and strong dividend yield. Historically speaking, every time our stock market experienced a downturn, it bounced back with more power. Even though the downturns are often abrupt, recovery usually takes a while. Nonetheless, once our stock market comes out of crisis, ...

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Who decides Usman Buzdar and other lawmakers’ salaries?

Last week, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a bill within five minutes which increased the salaries of the chief minister, speaker, deputy speaker, MNAs and MPAs to an incredible extent. According to the details of this bill, the speaker’s monthly salary was increased from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000, while his deputy would receive Rs185,000 instead of Rs35,000. The MPAs, who used to earn Rs18,000, would earn Rs80,000 every month. CM Buzdar’s own salary was increased by Rs59,000.  After the matter was taken up by social media, Imran expressed his sheer disappointment and termed the decision ‘untenable’. The Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also labelled the development ...

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Why repealing Article 35A will bring unmanageable chaos for India

In 2014, the non-governmental organisation ‘We the Citizens’ attracted a large audience when it filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the validity of Article 35A. This was not the first time this article was questioned in court. It was also brought into the spotlight when Dr Charu Wali Khanna, a Kashmiri Pandit woman by ancestry, filed a petition to change the constitutional provision of Article 35A. She wanted succession rights in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), despite being adjusted outside the state. Since then, this article’s hearing has been postponed by the court, considering how this ...

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Mother of all U-turns: Why is PTI protecting tax evaders instead of punishing them?

I suppose we should have expected it, given the number of U-turns the government has already taken. Finance Minister Asad Umar reversed a good tax-collecting measure introduced by the previous government, a measure that would have brought many tax criminals into the net. Instead, bowing to the pressure from the powerful auto industry, he has allowed non-filers to buy vehicles of all sizes. Non-filers, it should be noted, do not pay income tax nor do they file tax returns. By law, they should be punished. Instead, they are allowed to pay just 0.6% tax on the amount they spend to ...

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Why Israel is pushing for Pakistan and India to go to war

On February 27th, Israeli news publication Haaretz reported that India’s Air Force had used Israeli-made bombs in its recent Line of Control (LoC) violation against Pakistan, citing local news websites which had been briefed by Indian security sources. The reports allege that ‘five Mirage jets armed with Israeli-made Spice 2000 smart missiles attacked what New Delhi says was a terrorist training camp’ in Pakistan. While quietly hidden by the mainstream media, it actually transpires that Israel is a key weapons supplier to the Indian Army, with its current relationship estimated at approximately a billion dollars each year. In fact, India has ...

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Why must Pakistan wait for international pressure to mount to tackle extremism?

The state has finally come out of a long slumber and has launched an operation to eliminate the religious extremist groups who are allegedly using Pakistan’s soil to create disturbances in India, Iran and Afghanistan. In the wake of the rift between Pakistan and India, this can be termed as a positive development since Pakistan is now keeping its word and investigating these non-state actors. According to Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, 44 people affiliated with extremist organisations, including Masood Azhar’s son and close relatives, have been arrested. The matter is under investigation and further action will be ...

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Before chanting ‘Geneva Convention violations’, India should look in its own backyard

Last week saw tensions between India and Pakistan escalate further, as India launched an attack on Balakot and Pakistan responded the next day by downing two Indian jets and capturing an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. Soon after, a video circulated on social media in which the captured pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, can be seen blindfolded, his face bloodied as he shares his name, rank and service details on camera. The video was later taken down, but the Indian forces, in a joint conference, began to allege that Pakistan had violated the norms of the Geneva Convention. The same Indian ...

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