Stories about economic

The life of a business reporter

“Journalism is writing,” columnist Aakar Patel once told me, saying I should write more to justifiably be called a journalist. I was then a sub-editor on the Op-Ed desk of The News. After spending four years on that job, I knew I had become lazy, self-satisfied and highly opinionated – characteristics of a typical sub-editor. So I decided to become a business reporter after coming back from a one-year break that I took to do a Master’s degree in Journalism. If you think a business reporter’s job is a piece of cake, try having a direct conversation with a businessman. Ask him about his ...

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For economy’s sake: Can India and Pakistan forgive and forget?

When geography and history become prisoners to politics, it’s destiny that becomes the real victim. A realisation is dawning on South Asian countries that by pandering to narrow political vision they have invited misery, backwardness and suffering for their own people. Their potentiality has become stilted at the altar of political bickering which stunts the economic growth of the region. How can these historical shortcomings be overcome? How can we rewrite a new history of economic integration? Representatives from all the South Asian countries gathered, in New Delhi recently, to mull over a new destiny for the region that shares ...

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Traders paradise or political nightmare?

After a delay of 15 years, Pakistan finally took the decision on the much-talked most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India this week. Technically speaking, the MFN status will automatically be given to India by the end of this year. Pakistan has a negative trade list with India with 1,209 items (items that both countries cannot trade with each other) that will be phased out by December 31, 2012. After that, both countries can import or export anything to each other. According to the Indian minister for commerce, Anand Sharma, now almost 90 percent items can be traded with Pakistan as opposed ...

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Debt and taxes: PPP’s planned loss

Elections are around the corner and the political heat is building-up. Soon there will be rallies, corner meetings and slogan chanting. Despite issues of massive magnitude, PPP’s coalition government will, hopefully, complete its term. But they might not wish to win the next general elections. The case I am trying to make is based on economic realities. Let’s analyse why. In the past four years of government, Pakistan’s economy faced tough challenges; two floods, financial mismanagement and lack of governance in all aspects of government functions, pushing the country into a deep economic crisis. Pakistan’s total public debt, which was Rs.6 trillion ...

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The PIA problem

This article is not written with the intent of defending President Asif Ali Zardari or his party.It aims to illustrate how the hyper personalisation of politics and governance in Pakistan has created unachievable expectations for quick fixes, based on overly simplistic explanations of state failure. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is an illustration of perhaps the biggest disservice the president has done for his country; he allowed himself to become a lightning rod for every explanation of state failure. By explaining the poor performance of the state to the person who occupies the Presidency, we overlook the many structural, underlying and historical reasons that perpetuate state failure. The dominant ...

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The economic reality of US threats

There has been a wave of American threats of war against Pakistan if the latter does not take action against the Haqqani network reportedly operating from the Pak-Afghan border. There is, thus, widespread concern among already economically miserable and politically devastated Pakistanis if an open US-Pak war is about to take place or the current threats are another jugglery of the US to put forward a new do-more agenda. This distress among Pakistanis is feeding upon the ongoing discourse on local and international print and electronic media, and the latter are doing their jobs pretty well to fatten the fear. ...

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Why scientists love the HEC

Science is a process that requires consistency. It takes years to gain momentum before researchers can reap the fruit of the labour – continuity is vital for progress. But in Pakistan, scientific study has already received multiple blows. Mistakes like the devolution of various bodies that support scientific education including the University Grants Commission are being repeated. Devolution hurts the economy Investors and global business leaders look at the total budget spent on research and development before investing into an economy. Low budgets mean they move onto more favourable countries. Apart from the security issues that Pakistan is facing, the ...

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Why do voters elect the same politicians?

Switch on any TV channel, open up a newspaper or log on to a social network and you will see our parliamentarians and their electorate continuously drawing ire of the urban-educated elite. Participants engaging in intellectual discourse on talk shows raise questioning eyebrows over the wisdom possessed by the electorate, and criticise voters’ decision of re-electing the same allegedly tainted politician. This made me wonder; why do voters elect the same politicians every time? After some introspection, I came to the conclusion that the bone of contention is the socio-economic imbalance prevailing in our society. This is a battle between the ‘haves ...

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Talking about revolution: The domino effect

Strolling down the streets of Cairo, I notice the elegant mansions lining the banks of the river Nile and the well-heeled Egyptians in cafes. But the rows of slums and crowds of animated, ragged beggars running alongside asking for “baksheesh” were hard to miss. The yawning gap between the disempowered and the prosperous is all too evident in this bustling and colourful city. But the Cairo I remember from a long ago visit hardly bears any resemblance to the pulsating and fearless Cairo of today. Crowds roaring back at low-flying fighter jets in an effort to intimidate; valiant protestors forcing police back as ...

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Money 101: The lowdown on monthly installments

You know you have money managing issues when you resort to borrowing Rs500 from your maid at the end of the month. Living the urban upwardly-mobile middle class lifestyle is a dream for many and the source of income for businesses ranging from fast food to electronic dealers.  And what I am going to harp on about today are the dreaded monthly installments. Picture this: Ayaz and Aziza are a newly married couple living in one of Karachi’s many high rise apartment buildings. Both are working in the corporate sector and together bring in about Rs150,000 (which is possibly the ...

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