A dealer in hope: Why Imran Khan’s leadership has become invaluable for Pakistan

According to Napoleon, a leader is a dealer in hope, which is something Pakistan dearly needs in these testing times. And for us, Imran Khan is the leader who can instil that sense of hope and pride back into our people. For a nation that turned numb to pervasive misgovernance and rampant corruption, and had resigned itself towards inefficiency and incompetency as the hallmark of the political system, this vision of a new Pakistan presented by Imran is nothing short of revolutionary. The style of governance we have become accustomed to over the years in our nascent democracy has failed ...

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If Pakistan has not run out of gas, why are we in the midst of a severe gas crisis?

The country is in the grip of a gas crisis. A shortage of natural gas has meant that millions of people do not have gas to cook or hot water to bathe with. There are mile-long queues at compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. Half of Karachi’s buses, which run on CNG, are off the roads, creating chaos in the city’s public transport system. There was even a report that a rickshaw driver set fire to his vehicle in protest, as he’d not been able to feed his family for a week because he could not get CNG to run his ...

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The year of the judge

Sylvester Stallone is a great actor, especially after he’s had a few punches to his jaw. If you were a kid growing up in the 80s, Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the primary Hollywood heroes giving young men around the world bodybuilding goals. It was, of course, better to watch them than the flogging of criminals on national television during the Ziaul Haq era. One particularly provocative Stallone film which turned out to be a cult classic over the years was Judge Dredd. The idea that a police officer had the authority to carry out justice on the streets – ...

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Nawaz Sharif has been imprisoned yet again – but will he stay in jail this time?

The Accountability Court has finally announced its verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. For the second time in a year, Nawaz has been sentenced to prison, this time for seven years in the Al-Azizia corruption reference case. According to the court, Nawaz was not able to produce a money trail in this case, while he has been acquitted in the Flagship reference as the court deemed the evidence provided by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to be insufficient. The Flagship corruption reference was based on the allegation that through his son’s offshore companies, Nawaz received his salary in ...

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As bodies pile up in IoK, strong condemnations are appreciated, but they are not enough

December 15th was just another Saturday, but nobody knew then that it would be a bloody one. News came that an encounter broke out between forces and militants in the Sirnoo area of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) Pulwama district. Then, at around noon, news emerged that one civilian had been killed by the forces. The toll only stopped at seven as the day passed. At the end of day, seven civilians had been killed and around 250 were injured with pellets and bullets. That night people slept in anger. As news of a massacre arrives from home in Kashmir, I realise it’s ...

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How the US pushed Pakistan into the arms of China and Russia

The US has always had a curious but quietly spoken relationship with Pakistan. At one point, Pakistan was the third largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving over $3.5 billion from the US in 2011 alone. While this aid has been steadily decreasing since the aforementioned peak in 2011, US-Pakistan relations took a sharp turn for the worse at the beginning of this year when US President Donald Trump decided to herald in the new year by launching a Twitter tirade against Pakistan. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 ...

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“Udhar tum, idhar hum”: When Bhutto pushed Bangladesh to the edge of Pakistan

The fall of Dhaka is one of those events in our history that we’d rather forget. No one talks about it nowadays, because it was the result of our own follies. But those who are still alive will never be able to forget TV newscaster Shaista Jabeen’s tearful announcement that dreadful night in December:  “According to an agreement, Indian soldiers have now taken control of Dhaka.” The people in what remained of Pakistan were shocked beyond belief. For days they had been told that everything was normal in the eastern wing, despite the BBC giving a contrasting picture. As always, ...

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While Balochistan’s natural gas keeps the rest of Pakistan warm, its own residents are freezing in silence

On a cool and sunny November afternoon, Ahmad Habib sat behind his shop, located in Quetta’s main Liaquat Bazar, accompanied by a handful of other local shop owners. They sat together, enjoying the traditional kahwa with gur (jaggery), a drink designed to keep their bodies warm for long. Unlike the past four years, this year’s winter is warm and appealing, mainly due to an abundance of sunny days. More often than not, mid-November is a time when the strength of the heat gradually weakens and cool, dry wind arrives for an extended stay. These cool winds slowly whisper and signal the ...

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Pakistan’s economy: Rising through the storms

In Pakistan, the financial year ends on June 30th. However, since the conventional year is about to end, we look back at how the new government fared at handling the economy and also make some policy prescriptions along the way. The incumbent government is being judged rather harshly on its performance in the first few months. Let’s just make this clear: there is no silver bullet that could end Pakistan’s economic woes within 100 days. Given that the government has inherited a ‘broken’ economy, I’d say that they have performed quite well. A common way to find out how well a country ...

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Human Rights Day: What will you ‘celebrate’, Pakistan?

Every year, December 10th is marked as the Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists down basic human rights guaranteed to the population of the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this resolution. It is important to note that sustainable growth is not achievable until and unless the human rights of the world are protected. Besides commemorating 70 years of the resolution, we should vow to stand for the civil, economic, political and cultural rights of our people; after all, ...

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