Stories about middle east

As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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Is a Saudi Arabia-Iran thaw a possibility?

The Middle East appears to be in a perpetual state of flux. The constant friction between Iran and Saudi Arabia has meant that the region has devolved into a battlefield where proxy wars are constantly waged, hence only further complicating the already turbulent regional politics. These tensions were only further exacerbated following the attack on two oil plants in Saudi Arabia. Naturally, Saudi Arabia, along with the United States (US), was quick to point at Iran and hold the country responsible for the catastrophe. In this political climate, as Iran becomes increasingly isolated after the collapse of talks with the US, and as ...

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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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Is war between the US and Iran imminent?

Countries often behave like people, with the same psychological forces controlling and driving them. The United States (US) and Iran are no different. They are bitter rivals because of their differing ideologies but there’s something else at play too. From the very end of World War II, the US has tried to dominate the world’s political discourse and has dictated policies to every country it could get its hands on. From North Korea to Venezuela, the diktat has been the same – either accept our political supremacy or bear the consequences of not listening to us. Pax Americana is ...

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It’s 2019 and PMDC is still struggling with emails, while ‘valuable assets’ lose opportunities

Every year, between 1,000 and 1,500 Pakistani physicians leave the country to pursue their advanced medical training. As a result, there are currently thousands of Pakistani physicians working in the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East.   According to the 2016 Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) census, there are more than 12,000 active-licensed Pakistani physicians working in the US alone, while similar estimates for the UK, ranging around 2,300. To continue their academic pursuits, these physicians are required to attain temporary, and eventually permanent, registration with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). One would expect the process of obtaining ...

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PTI’s vague and static foreign policy will only worsen Pakistan’s standing in the world

Historically, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been a domain in which elected governments have been allowed very little space and scope to work in. Our founding father envisaged a foreign policy based on peaceful relations with our neighbours – including India – and one that would value our sovereignty. Contrary to his vision, Pakistan has not been able to devise a balanced policy that can be termed entirely beneficial for its own national interest. The current government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also finds itself in a position where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is symbolically heading foreign affairs while ...

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Remembering Ibne Insha: The man who wanted ordinary people to bring a revolution

The great poet, humourist and travel-writer Ibne Insha passed into literary immortality 41 years ago. While writing in this space on the occasion of his 90th birthday, I had noted that he was not only a literary craftsman who had imbibed the art of creating natural, effortless humour out of the ordinary, but that his travelling had also exposed him to the Cold War machinations of the newly departed colonial powers, especially in the Middle East. Even before Insha was struck by the disastrous Arab defeat to Israel in 1967, he travelled the Middle East. Whatever tragedy he saw unfolding ...

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17 years later, can the US grow out of the 9/11 mindset?

Just about a couple of days ago, on the eve of yet another 9/11 anniversary, I was telling a friend how painful these past 17 years have been for the US. What happened that dreadful September morning was nothing less than a shock to the American system; a jolt of unprecedented proportions that we, as a nation, still haven’t been able to get over or recover from in more than several different ways. September 11, 2001 changed America and the rest of the world forever. It tore apart the settled norms and values. It uprooted age-old beliefs that America must ...

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The curse of the green passport: 4 places to visit this Eid break without any visa woes

English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He could not have been more accurate, as only the bearer of a green passport can truly understand this. However, though it is obviously very difficult to get a visa on a green passport, it is not entirely impossible. If you move away from the Americas and the European destinations to allow for an easier visa, there are several countries that wholeheartedly welcome you despite the colour of your passport. Given the (not so) long Eid holidays coming up, I shall highlight a ...

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Gwadar: From ghost town to gold rush town

From the sky, Gwadar looks like a dust bowl as the ATR aircraft, which regularly flies along the Makran coast from Karachi, circles in for landing. The new airport, currently being designed, will be the largest in Pakistan once it is completed, but for now one has to settle for the old airport. Its VIP section is used often as ministers, senators and even the prime minister and the army chief regularly visit this once sleepy fishing port. They have all proclaimed Gwadar to be the jewel of the upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The drive from the airport along the newly ...

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