Stories about Foreign Minister

Khawaja Asif’s disqualification is not a case of victimisation, but nice try, Nawaz Sharif

The season of disqualifications is on the trot for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The disqualification of Pakistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Khawaja Asif, is just the latest blow to not only the PML-N, but also to Pakistan’s reputation. In its verdict, the Islamabad High Court has stated that Asif was found guilty of not declaring his iqama (foreign work permit) in his nomination papers. As per the Constitution, every elected representative has to submit an affidavit at the time of filing their nomination papers to declare they will not engage in any other job. As per our law, ...

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Making Pakistan (un)proud: Too consumed by domestic issues to care about overseas Pakistanis, Khwaja Asif?

Blunt and evasive are two adjectives that best describe Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s recent conversation with the Asia Society. It was held in union with the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Asif, a vocal critic of Donald Trump’s version of American foreign policy, admitted that Trump’s position on the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AfPak) region was an “utter disappointment”. However, I personally felt that his elusive response to the question regarding Pakistani-Americans was an utter disappointment. The interviewer, a world-renowned journalist and author, Steve Coll, mentioned the increasingly polarising nature of the American society, which the foreign minister sharply labelled as a bad sign for the future. Coll also referred to the ...

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Mr Nawaz Sharif, you should not be the foreign minister of Pakistan

Since a foreign minister represents his or her country at all international conferences, he or she has to be highly educated. Sometimes a very experienced diplomat is appointed as foreign minister, at other times a popular politician is selected. Pakistan, being a nuclear armed state with plenty of problems of its own, is in urgent need of a foreign minister. But at present, it is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (NS) who is doubling as the foreign minister of the country. We have had some very good foreign ministers, one of them being Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, the longest serving foreign minister of the country. Besides being a retired general, ...

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Congratulations, Pakistan!

There are certain positive developments in Pakistan that I wished to extend my solidarity with as a liberal from across the Indo-Pak border. But as I set out to write this piece, we had the news of the arrest of an Indian on espionage charges in Balochistan, fanning hatred in both Pakistan and India. Apart from this, we had some sad news coming in at the global level from Brussels,  Ivory Coast, and the blasts in Lahore on Easter. However, negativity has to be fought with positivity. We, the liberals, have to move forward with our actions to defeat the agenda of those coming in our way rather ...

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Been there, done that: How ‘Naya’ will Naya Pakistan be anyway?

Can big names and old faces bring a revolution and change the system or are they just another step towards decadence? This question needs to be asked about the leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) trying to win ‘freedom’ for the people of Pakistan and who are also, directly or indirectly, equally responsible for the current condition the people are in. PTI’s top leadership is notorious for jumping parties, and loyalties, but the party has yet to deliver what it has promised to the masses – even after governing a province for the past 14 months. Most people lost hope when many old ...

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Does Afghanistan really need a Pashtun leader?

As I am writing this, the people of Afghanistan have already casted their votes in what is arguably the most important election in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. The whole world’s eyes are fixated on the upcoming results, which will be announced on April 24 and finalised on May 9. So I also asked a friend from Afghanistan which candidate his family voted for and he replied, “Of course, they voted for a Pashtun because we need a Pashtun leader. After all, Pashtuns constitute the majority of the Afghan population.” In fact, all eight candidates in this presidential run are from ...

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Prince Faisal’s visit to Pakistan

“I have not come here for any sort of deal with regards to the former president, Pervez Musharraf,” Prince Faisal declared to the media. He was sick and tired of these countless questions about his supposed involvement to get Musharraf out. He simply did not care – he wasn’t even sure why he was in this godforsaken country. The king and some advisors had decided that he had to go, and so he was here, just a man who was going to shake some hands, smile to the cameras, have some whiskey and go back. Even the two days he had to ...

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Thank you for letting me travel to India!

I am a Pakistani. My best friend is an Indian. We have spent many nights last year during our time at college in New York making reunion plans. However, every time the conversation would come to an uncomfortable halt when it boiled down to the issue of obtaining visa entry to each other’s homeland. Each time, the conversation ended the same way. We would conclude with promises of meeting on neutral territory such as Dubai or Sri Lanka. On particularly dark days, when the media stirred up a fresh concoction of past tensions, we would make peace with sustaining the friendship ...

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For Shah Mehmood Qureshi, it’s about logic, not emotion

Shah Mahmood Qureshi finally decided which party to join. He held a large rally, and in true political style announced that he was joining PTI. While Qureshi was making this announcement, I could imagine Marvi Memon smiling to herself, thinking she is likely to take a similar route. Now, here is the thing; firstly anyone who thought this was not going to happen was kidding themselves, and secondly what Qureshi has done and what Marvi Memon and many other are going to do is the smart thing to do — joining a party that ...

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On the shores of the Bosphorus

In a photograph laced with references, thirty-odd men, and two women, squint at the glaring sun as they pose on the European shores of Istanbul, the Asian side of the city rising over the choppy Bosphorus in the background. The subjects in the photograph were foreign ministers and representatives of 20 countries that participated in the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan this past week. Pakistan stands out in the setting not just metaphorically, given its regional role post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but also quite literally — its foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, is one of the two women, and possibly the ...

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