Stories about Bangladesh

In conversation with Noam Chomsky – Part 3: Pakistan, India, religion, and climate change

This conversation with Professor Noam Chomsky is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers American culture and politics. Part 2 covers media, intellectuals and imperialism, along with science, language and human nature. Part 3 includes a conversation regarding religion and spirituality, alongside a discussion about the Indian subcontinent, climate change and the migration crisis. ~ Religion and spirituality Hassan Mirza (HM): Did religion have any big influence on you when you were growing up? Were your family members religious? Noam Chomsky (NC): Judaism did, religion didn’t. My parents were not religious in the usual sense. Deeply rooted in Jewish/Hebraic culture, somewhat observant. HM: What do ...

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What can Pakistan learn from Bangladesh?

Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, ominously dubbed Bangladesh a basket case, and the moniker stuck, causing disappointment and dismay among Bangladeshis. In the 1970s, the derogatory appellation painted a dire picture of a country struggling with negative growth rates, dismal export potentials, empty coffers, and, to top it all off, the burden of meeting the needs of a traumatised population. The future of Bangladesh, at the time, looked very bleak indeed. Five decades later, Bangladesh has come out roaring. It has become one of the leading Asian economies and has, for ...

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What does Pakistan’s improved ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking mean?

The World Bank’s latest rankings of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) is out.  Pakistan did well, considering it moved up 28 rungs on the rankings ladder, from 136th place to 108th.  In this latest round, Pakistan is one of 10 countries (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria) that have improved the most across at least three of the 10 factors that go into constructing the EDB rankings. The annual report received wide publicity on its arrival because the rankings matter. They reflect how conducive the regulatory environment is for opening ...

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How did we let the Counter-Terrorism Department get away with murder?

Justice remains a luxury in Pakistan. The acquittal of the Punjab Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials involved in the Sahiwal massacre case has endorsed the fact that Pakistani laws have double standards depending on which party involved has greater influence – thus only making the cracks in our crippled criminal justice system all the more apparent. The way the court has released the CTD officials by giving them the ‘benefit of doubt’ makes one wonder that how the murder of a family in broad daylight can be so callously dismissed without any repercussions. Unsurprisingly though, this is not the first case, nor ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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Pakistan’s population conundrum

Amidst all the politicking over economic recovery, a crucial element that is missing from the mainstream narrative is the uncontrolled population growth in Pakistan. The recent census revealed that Pakistan’s population has skyrocketed to approximately 208 million. This is an alarming situation because any effort to stir economic development will be undermined if the population keeps growing at this rate. Realising the constraints overpopulation can have on a developing country’s socio-economic development, most countries in the region implemented policies that significantly decelerated population growth in a relatively short amount of time. As a result, Bangladesh currently has an annual population ...

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Why should Pakistan change its export policy?

In the current inhospitable economic climate prevailing in Pakistan, leading to rising inflation alongside a worsening trade and fiscal deficit, the nation desperately needs a solution to these growing list of problems. While it is fairly simple to understand that an increase in exports will benefit the economy, the method through which this can be achieved is a slightly more tricky question to answer. Exports will help pave the way towards economic prosperity by improving Pakistan’s Balance of Payment (BoP), but policies which try to lead Pakistan in this direction can only be implemented once we address the question: why does Pakistan have ...

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Is culling dogs the solution to Sindh’s rabies crisis?

Twelve-year-old Mir Hassan Abro died in the arms of his helpless mother last week because the hospital where he went for his treatment had no anti-rabies vaccines available. While Abro’s death is only the latest incident representing the poor state of affairs in Pakistan’s healthcare sector, it is also a stark reminder of the sheer volume of rabies cases which Sindh is afflicted with. The shortage of anti-rabies vaccines continues to compound and further aggravate a problem which could be resolved if the state and the provincial governments ensured that hospitals in Sindh were better equipped to deal with the growing number ...

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Kashmir proves why the Two Nation Theory was necessary

“Us Pakistani liberals have long defended India, so much so that it has almost become a reflex, but honestly an India that has sunk into such depths just cannot be defended: dishonest journalism, joke of a secularism, knee-jerk Hindutva reactionism.” Us Pakistani liberals have long defended India, so much so that it has almost become a reflex, but honestly an India that has sunk into such depths just cannot be defended: dishonest journalism, joke of a secularism, knee-jerk Hindutva reactionism. https://t.co/6pyrZW6yMP — Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak) September 4, 2019 These words are so reflective of the way monumental and rapid changes in India ...

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How the NRC further widens the religious fault lines in India

What happens when a myth comes face to face with a harsh reality? A nation which has been fed a myth feels betrayed when that lie is finally exposed. The National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise intended to compile data about the citizens of the Indian state of Assam, has been chasing a myth.  The original aim of the NRC was to determine which individuals who settled down in Assam after 1971 are illegal immigrants, regardless of their religion. But with time, the NRC became an exercise aimed at weeding out illegal Muslim immigrants who had come in from ...

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