Stories about China

Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

Read Full Post

Is the wicked game of Chinese Whispers destroying Pakistan’s beauty?

Pakistan’s current political situation discussed in dining rooms, gatherings and media is beginning to resemble an advanced version of Chinese Whispers; a popular game played worldwide in which entertainment is derived from the errors in retelling a message through a series of shared whispers.  Regardless of the authenticity of the source, people are increasingly discussing the deteriorating law and order situation, Talibanisation, bombings and violent street clashes in Pakistan, all of which paint a disturbing picture of what is actually happening in the country. Despite the dismal pictures being painted and reinforced by my surroundings, I wanted to go explore my country and see it for myself. ...

Read Full Post

An interview with Moazzam Husain: We ‘discovered’ iron ore – what now?

While serving on the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, Moazzam Husain led a small team of experts, businessmen and stakeholders to develop a technical and commercial strategy to harness Punjab’s iron ore resources. The first draft of that road-map was published in April 2010. Then following further rigorous consultations in August 2010, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved the strategy for implementation. I caught up with Mr Moazzam Husain in Karachi to discuss the recent developments around Punjab iron ore. Moazzam Husain Erum Shaikh (ES): According to media reports, the Punjab iron ore resources were identified decades ago. Yet ...

Read Full Post

In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

Read Full Post

Playing god in the land of the pure

People everywhere look for answers in stark black and white, and love the comfort that gives them the ability to use it as a club against others. For some reason, people keep recreating the very issues in their religions that the founders of those religions sought to eradicate. True spirituality should bring complete humbleness and love. What is common to all of us is how we struggle for an authentic faith without taking refuge in the absolute; that, to my mind, is the classic source of apostasy. There is nothing I ever read about Islam that didn’t pertain equally to other religions’ ...

Read Full Post

Dear Pakistan, let America and Saudi Arabia fight over oil prices because it works in your favour!

Oil prices are way down these days. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than $50 per barrel in international markets in the last six months. From $115 in the middle of June, 2014, the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen to $65, as of the second week of December. On November 27, 2014, the prices took a definitive downward turn when Saudi Arabia – the largest and strongest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – refused to mitigate production. And since none of the other OPEC nations are cutting back, there isn’t a way to eliminate the current ...

Read Full Post

Held by the CIA, a fictional account

Dear World, My father went missing while on a market errand three years ago. Our wait for him was endless. The law enforcement authorities were approached to find him. Days after filing a missing person report, we were contacted by someone in the government that he was in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was fine. We were told that he’d return soon and was just being interrogated for something. I was just 10-years-old at the time. I hung on the hope that he’d be back in a few days. But those around me, especially my family, didn’t ...

Read Full Post

Interfaith gestures: Moral placebos or progress?

On November 14, 2014, Muslims prayed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. South Africa’s US Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a sermon and declared that, “never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith,” and media observers heralded this breakthrough in interfaith relations, though not all cheered. The prayers were interrupted by a heckler screaming that America was “founded on Christian principles”. Reverend Franklin Graham described the event as “sad”. Dr Sebastian Gorka at Breitbart.com accused the Muslim Brotherhood of taking over the cathedral, inexplicably bringing in the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire; all this in the ...

Read Full Post

Will Ashraf Ghani be able to restore ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan?

There is no denying that foreign policies in the subcontinent region are rapidly transforming from what they were a few years back. One major factor for this are the new heads of states, especially in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, who have been elected over the past two years. What these new heads do will decide the fate of, not only this region but, all those who are connected with these countries. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of bad blood between Pakistan and Afghanistan; the two countries share a long history of mistrust and perpetual animosity, caused by a myriad of factors, including ...

Read Full Post

Is the New Silk Road really an economic corridor for China and Pakistan?

While the world is busy tackling the ISIS and its look-alikes in the Middle East, China, on the other hand, has other plans to chase. One such plan is reviving the centuries old Silk Route, or the New Silk Road – a series of routes that were important in the past for cultural interactions and trade between the East and the West. As part of this revival, China recently announced working on a high speed train from Lanzhou to Urumqi, capital of the troubled Xinjiang province. It is also rumoured that the train may, in future, reach out to regional states including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, along with ...

Read Full Post