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The importance of economic transparency in Pakistan

The boisterous wrangling over the post-Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), and the adoption of an assertive economic nationalism by the United States (US) in the ongoing trade disputes with other major economies have quickened the pace of realignment and reconfiguration in the global economy. The ensuing volatility and uncertainty have been compounded by the staggering challenge of coming up with a sustainable solution to climate change, managing the inexorable spread of coronavirus, and rationalising the network of relations in the global supply chain. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded to these developments ...

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In conversation with Pervez Hoodbhoy – Part 3: South Asian politics and culture

This conversation with Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers Pakistan’s education system. Part 2 discusses Pakistan’s language conundrum . Part 3 includes a conversation regarding South Asian politics and culture. ~ South Asian Politics and Culture Hassan Mirza (HM): Was India ever a proper democracy? Pervez Hoodbhoy (PH): India was a secular democracy in its first few decades but, like Pakistan, is now becoming a majoritarian democracy. That’s very dangerous for minorities. There’s a real danger of the two countries becoming mirror copies. For example, last year I arranged a talk by the anti-Modi Indian liberal politician, Mani Shankar Aiyar, at Forman Christian ...

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China coronavirus: Is Pakistan at risk?

As the coronavirus forces the authorities in China to place 12 cities under lock-down, including the reported epicentre of the virus – Wuhan, just how wide-ranging the ramifications of this virus can be are slowly coming to light. While China attempts to grapple with this worsening health epidemic, it is quickly becoming evident that this is not simply a problem which will remain confined within the borders of China. Thus far, more than 800 cases of the coronavirus have surfaced in China and 26 individuals have already lost their lives due to it. But fears of the virus spreading have only been ...

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What does the future hold for Inam Butt?

Pakistan has been fortunate enough to be home to a lot of talented and dedicated individuals. These countrymen have raised the national flag in various fields including sports irrespective of having little or no support from the government. Inam Butt, the wrestler, is also one of these men. He is continuously making the nation proud by winning medals at various international wrestling events. Despite that, the authorities, especially the Pakistan Wrestling Federation, is not giving him the facilities and financial support he deserves. Butt a product of Gujranwala’s local akharas (wrestling rings) came in the limelight when he won a gold medal during the 2010 ...

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Calling Iran’s bluff: Who are the real winners in the Gulf tanker crisis?

Iran has shot down what it claims to be a United States (US) spy drone in the Strait of Hormuz, accusing Washington of violating its airspace amidst escalating tensions between the two nations. Two days earlier, the US announced that it will deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in response to Iran’s “hostile behaviour”. The attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week marked a tipping point in their steadily deteriorating relationship, and although both countries insist that they want to avoid war, there are fears that recent developments could inevitably result in military confrontation. ...

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9 times PM Imran Khan made us cringe and laugh our way through ‘Naya Pakistan’

There has hardly been a moment of peace over the past eight months since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, given the sheer number of controversies he has caused on a regular basis. Imran is famous for speaking extemporaneously and saying whatever comes to his mind; facts and reason be damned. It doesn’t help that his army of cult followers do not have the ability to think past his persona and move beyond the Kaptaan fan club. But Imran often moves beyond saying controversial things to making statements that are absolutely ridiculous, resulting not only in national embarrassment but also ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

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Serena Williams will always be an icon and a champion, but her outburst had nothing to do with sexism

Will you forget it? I think not. After all, the US Open 2018 is not one to forget anytime soon. The tournament was thrilling from the start, with remarkable displays of tennis, alongside upsets and firsts. However, what will remain etched in our collective memories is the women’s singles final; a certain Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and the chair umpire. The 20-year-old Osaka – who had never won a grand slam before – was playing with her idol. Williams, on the other hand, is no ordinary idol. The 23-time grand slam champion is an enigma. Not only is she a ...

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It’s not you, it’s me: Why did India refuse Pakistan and UAE’s aid?

The Indian state of Kerala, known as God’s own country, has become the victim of nature’s wrath and is experiencing the worst floods of the century. Thus far, the floods have left 445 people dead and dozens missing. In the hilly regions, floods have caused landslides which have exacerbated the destruction of homes, bridges and road networks. Around 1/6th of the population of the state has been directly affected, and the central government has declared it a level-3 calamity, which clearly indicates the severity of the catastrophe.  First of all, it is worth exploring why God’s own country has come under God’s ...

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