Nothing remains constant in Pakistan, not even perceptions. Such is the sad state of affairs of Pakistan’s geo-politics and economy. It was only a few months ago, in May, that Pakistan had been upgraded to the MSCI Emerging Markets status, opening door to global investors and economic analysts. Since then, however, the situation has changed drastically, and we continue to surprise investors at home and abroad, this time with our ability to turn things around for the worse. Despite a 10-year high economic growth and billion-dollar investments under the ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, Pakistan’s economy has yet again revealed how vulnerable it is. The gravity ...Read Full Post
Lesson from the past: Why learning Mandarin is the precautionary measure that Pakistan needs to enforce right now
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was originally valued at $46 billion and is expected to be a game changer for Pakistan’s economy, has been viewed with much scepticism since the day it was green lit. Some Pakistanis believe CPEC to be the equivalent of the Marshall Plan, an American initiative to aid Europe economically post World War II. Others believe that it is simply another East India Company (EIC) in the making, equivalent to calling CPEC a vehicle for colonialism. If you think about it, the idea that the Chinese could become the new British for us is not at all far-fetched. While the British ...Read Full Post
To quote the Chinese proverb, “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves – one for his enemy and one for himself.” Afghanistan is in a state of utter chaos. Unless there is a drastic change in the current Afghan strategy, this proverbial ‘graveyard of empires’ seems set to add the United States in the list of countries that failed to control this area. Donald Trump’s aggressive policies on North Korea and Syria have shown that he is not a man of dialogue or negotiation. Thus far, he has followed the militarist route for resolving international issues, with little to no success to show for it. After Trump’s election, the US ...Read Full Post
It was reported in the Washington Post that the US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said the following words, “I would like to assure the North Koreans that the USA is not their enemy; does not want any harm to come to them; they have nothing to be afraid of; the US does not seek regime change or the forced unification of the Korean peninsula, and the North Koreans need have no fear of any military invasion from the USA.” He then went on to say that the North Korean ballistic missile program is a serious threat to the US. Therefore, it is exerting peaceful pressure ...Read Full Post
Can Pakistan’s economic stability and businesses survive Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar’s disqualification?
In one of his first public appearances, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reported to have said the following: “During my tenure, the stock market increased from 19,000 to 52,000.” So, is a rising stock market really a barometer of a strong democracy or just a number game for a selected few? We surely cannot say at the moment. To all the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) sloganeers, Nawaz is gone, but is prosperity, not tabdeeli (change), around the corner? Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was primarily the only major political party that was known for their pro-growth temperament. Despite never being able to complete their full term, businesses cheered on the so-called economic focus ...Read Full Post
Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident, died of liver cancer on July 13th while serving an 11-year prison term for ‘inciting subversion of state power’. His imprisonment and subsequent death illustrates China’s total disregard of world opinion on human rights, sitting oddly with the volume of its morally correct rhetoric on climate change. Neither Xiaobo’s international stature nor Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi could protect them. Xiaobo’s 2009 conviction earned him an 11-year prison sentence and the Nobel Peace Prize, which strengthened the determination of China’s dissidents to obtain multi-party rule. Six years after Xiaobo’s imprisonment, this movement had started alarming China’s leadership. Accordingly, China’s ...Read Full Post
Game of zones: Why India must resolve its issues with both its nuclear neighbours, Pakistan and China
While framing this piece in my mind, I was stuck in a conundrum. Why am I writing a blog at a time when everyone is probably watching Game of Thrones (GoT)? Simply enough, an answer came to mind. Apart from the very few people who do not watch the series, everyone is interested in real life power struggles as well. Hence, the name game of zones, conflict zones to be exact. I read an article recently, which quoted a Chinese analyst saying that the Indian government should avoid opening two fronts. This was of course an apparent reference to its neighbours, Pakistan and China. Pakistan has ...Read Full Post
Earlier last month, the Indian military showed up in the Dokalam region to stop the Chinese from building a road. This area falls under the Bhutan tri-junction which is a sliver of land where China, India and Bhutan meet. The incident came into light when some Indian pilgrims, on their way to Tibet, were sent back to the border. Since then, both countries have been providing their own version of the same tale. The eastern border of India with China is governed by an 1890 agreement brokered by the British. It has been fairly uneventful since then, except for the 1962 border skirmish between the two nations. Since the incident with the pilgrims, India and China ...Read Full Post
What better way of diverting attention from Donald Trump than by blaming Pakistan for all the ills of the world?
The world awoke earlier this week to another one of Donald Trump’s controversial insinuations. I call this an insinuation because the American president didn’t make any official statement himself, but had senior members of his staff hint at the possibility of his administration “hardening the line” against Pakistan. The revelation made to Reuters comes across as nothing new. Pick up any article printed in any paper from any country about the US-Pakistan relationship and you will find the exact same content, phrases, threats and arguments. It usually revolves around the US lamenting that Pakistan is not doing enough and is in cahoots with militant groups that are bent upon hampering the ...Read Full Post
Pakistan had been eyeing a spot on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) bench ever since its inception. The SCO has always been touted as the Eurasian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) minus the allied army, intercontinental missile shields and funding. Still, a seat on the SCO council would mean getting into an agenda pushing position with two regional powers, China and Russia. After remaining an official observer for the past many years, Pakistan was recently officially inducted into the SCO as a full member. China made a major push for the inclusion of Pakistan despite some reservations of Pakistan’s alleged ties to terrorism. The kicker has been that ...Read Full Post