Stories about economy

Dear finance minister, your new budget is killing us

Dear Finance Minister, I belong to the class of ‘common men’; some people also call us ‘mango men’ or ‘aam admi’. Ours is a species that is found in abundance everywhere in Pakistan. If you ever look out of your bullet proof BMW, you will notice one of my fellow beings selling something or the other on a footpath. We are also found polishing shoes, unloading trucks, offering window covers during a traffic signal, pouring hot tea in a cup at a tea stall, pushing a fruit or vegetable cart or driving a donkey cart loaded with a number of things. There ...

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Will Modi be able to make peace with Pakistan?

This is the first time since 1994 that a Pakistani head of state, during his trip to India, did not meet any separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. During his two-day-long stay in New Delhi last week, prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, confined himself to conversations only with the Indian leadership. Is this a change in Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir? We all know the answer. For Islamabad, Kashmir is very much an inalienable part of its foreign policy and domestic agenda. However, Nawaz understands that raking up controversial issues only accentuates the differences between the two nations. It leads to the wastage of ...

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Definition of a ‘traitor’ in Pakistan: An honest army general

Pervez Musharraf’s indictment in the high treason case has opened up a Pandora ’s Box; with this, our corrupt politicians will no longer fear an army clamp down on their evil doings, only because now they know that the judiciary already provides complete shelter to their corrupt practices. The army will obviously stay away regardless of how much the public may plead. But this is what Pakistan wants, right? This indictment will also ensure that the title of ‘traitor’ is exclusively reserved for an honest army general who sent a group of corrupt politicians packing, gave strength to a failing state by giving ...

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The memory of partition must become invalid now

During our Aman Chaupal initiative, where we invite a representative from Pakistan to interact with students in India, this time I got the opportunity to meet Mr Aamir Nawaz. Nawaz is the president and artistic director of the MAAS Foundation, a leading theatre group of Pakistan which showcases plays on several social themes. One of their prominent themes is Indo-Pak issues. As a part of the Aman Chaupal, we showed the video of one of MAAS’s plays to students of the South Asian University (SAU), which was followed by a discussion on the theme of the play. The play, named Permasher Singh, was based on ...

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Banish the CII

In a more civilised society where progress is equated with innovation, technological advancement and competitiveness, the recent ‘suggestions’ put forth by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its band of brothers would certainly have been political suicide. This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. The clerics, who constitute the CII, and many of their kind elsewhere, have served one and one purpose only: societal control for self-fulfilment. Because ...

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Should we be concerned about the almighty dollar game?

As someone who works in the finance industry, I am frequently asked, at social events, about where I think the dollar is headed. Although I’m not sure if people are genuinely showing interest in our economy or just trying to count their dollars their loved ones sent them from abroad. Regardless of their reasons, I value their intrigue nonetheless. The greenback affects our lives whether we like it or not. Pakistan looks to the US for just about everything – aid, trade, political arm twisting, you name it. So it’s important to understand how our economy reacts to the dollar game. But whether ...

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Pakistani housewives and the economy: Converting rupees to dollars… for handbags

A couple of days ago I was confronted by an alarming fact. I was sitting with a group of housewives and was told that every month, 30% of those present, converted their pin money into US dollars every month. I was so surprised that I blurted, “But why do you do that?” One of the housewives replied very innocently, “Well, every year when we go on holiday, I buy myself a handbag. Recently, I realised that the value of the dollar is going up and I end up paying more PKR for a handbag each year. So now I just convert my savings into US dollars each month.” What ...

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Is it time for Pakistan to reconsider the US as its ally?

Close to 50,000 deaths, over $100 billion in losses, and growing insecurity and fear among the citizens with each passing day. These are few of the highlights of Pakistan’s involvement in the US-led war on terror that has now been fought for more than 12 years.  This war which was initiated to target the militants in Afghanistan has haunted and continues to haunt, many innocent civilians, not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. The United States, along with its allies, began this war to hunt down the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden and to put an end to the Taliban regime and its activities. However, in ...

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Pakistan, a song of love and brotherhood

History tells us that all great nations were once not great. A nation like America had been war struck for more than 100 years. Racial inequality was at its peak in America. The economy was badly affected eight years ago. England too was war ridden for many years. China was once a collection of divided people with vastly differing aims. All great nations faced a plethora of problems before they became truly great. A citizen of the great Pakistan. Photo: Salman Javed I am citizen of a country where, Every day, Earth witnesses blood, The sky witnesses injustice, The sun sees poverty, The stars see slums. And the ...

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Can the banking sector help Pakistan’s education crisis?

Pakistan is going through an economic crisis. It has been years since the nation has been suffering. For more than 60 years, the nation has put up with different politicians and military dictators. We have no one but ourselves to blame. We are the one who welcomed each of these rulers as our saviours. Despite all of these governing problems, we see that the private sector has sustained itself, and is growing no matter what the circumstances may be. A recent study shows that large private sector organisations can impact the country’s GDP by working on becoming more efficient and improving ...

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