Despite its recent defence of Pakistan against the United States on the issue of terrorism, China seems to have taken a surprising new turn on the issue. This week, the declaration adopted by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) at their summit in Xiamen has not only condemned terrorism but also named three key Pakistan-based terrorist groups – the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) – in a larger list of terrorist groups responsible for violence and insecurity. Beginning with a condemnation of violence against “innocent Afghan nationals”, the declaration went on to firmly back the Afghan national government, ...Read Full Post
Understanding Muslim nationalism and ‘The Pakistan Anti-Hero’ through the eyes of Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Nadeem Farooq Paracha is one of Pakistan’s prominent liberal journalists. His plunge into the field began in the 1990s, even though he initially gained fame as a music critic. However, over the years, his writing has become fairly eclectic and he has touched upon many cultural and political aspects. Furthermore, he has also excelled as a satirist. He is the author of two bestselling books as well, titled ‘End of the Past’ and ‘The Pakistan Anti-Hero’. The first book was centred on the way Pakistan started to transform from a moderate and pluralistic society to a more hard-line one. The latter, which was released recently, traces ...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
In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...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
The proposition that the currently under way China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in fact a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company is certainly fraught with massive inconsistencies. As has been prudently observed by many before me, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese state is going to use the garb of trade to forcefully occupy Pakistan, seize administrative control and establish a colony as a jewel in some sort of neo-Maoist Empire. Notwithstanding the ineptness of the Chinese at duplicating western artifacts, this might be a step too far, even for them. The simple corollary of these observations is that any attempts to draw a ...Read Full Post
The dominant view from Indian-held Kashmir is that the disputed region could greatly benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Provided both Islamabad and New Delhi declare all parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B)) as a ‘single free economic zone’. Cutting across the ideological lines, leading stakeholders from India-held Kashmir argue that, “Kashmir can in fact become a gateway for India to be part of the CPEC, provided there is a settlement of the dispute first.” Without a whisker of doubt, the multi-billion dollar CPEC will definitely impact the socio-political and economic landscape of a certain part of the erstwhile ...Read Full Post
With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size. The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...Read Full Post
The verdict of the top United Nations (UN) court ordering Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav until it makes a final judgment in the case, has stirred discontent and debate across Pakistan. Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016, is a retired Indian naval officer who confessed to espionage and terror activities in Pakistan. In a video that went viral, Jadhav confessed to have aided terrorist and separatist activities in Pakistan, particularly by fuelling insurgency in the province of Balochistan. He further exposed his country’s top intelligence agency’s role in funding activities with an aim to destabilise Pakistan. Pakistan’s military ...Read Full Post
China hosted a massive two-day international event between May 14 and 15 in Beijing to formally launch its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which plans to connect Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. More than 65 countries participated in the summit and nearly half of them were represented by their heads of state and government. World powers such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even Japan too were in Beijing. Apart from Bhutan, which does not have any diplomatic ties with China, all other South Asian countries took part. However, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government decided to give it a miss in spite of China’s repeated overtures. Nothing can explain this self-inflicted isolation of India except PM Modi’s ...Read Full Post