Nothing remains constant in Pakistan, not even perceptions. Such is the sad state of affairs of Pakistan’s geo-politics and economy. It was only a few months ago, in May, that Pakistan had been upgraded to the MSCI Emerging Markets status, opening door to global investors and economic analysts. Since then, however, the situation has changed drastically, and we continue to surprise investors at home and abroad, this time with our ability to turn things around for the worse. Despite a 10-year high economic growth and billion-dollar investments under the ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, Pakistan’s economy has yet again revealed how vulnerable it is. The gravity ...Read Full Post
A few days ago, I came across a video making rounds on social media which disturbed me a whole lot. In the said video, a retired major, belonging to a newly formed political party, was openly threatening to kill the former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. In his view, Nawaz, by constantly reaching out to Ahmadis, had become ‘Wajibul Qatl’ (necessary to be killed). I could not believe that someone could so openly express hatred against a minority community and incite violence against a former PM for just displaying kind and courteous behaviour towards our minorities. It was the ...Read Full Post
Following the Supreme Court decision regarding Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his prime ministerial position, the NA-120 seat needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for the Sharifs, the NA-120 by-election results allowed Kulsoom Nawaz to fill this vacant seat. NA-120 has been a stronghold for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since 1985 when Nawaz won and became the chief minister of Punjab. From then onwards, Nawaz’s party consecutively won the NA-120 seat eight times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008, 2013 and now in 2017. The NA-120 by-election results did not only highlight PML-N’s stronghold, but also highlighted the emergence of two far-right Islamist parties – Milli Muslim League (MML) ...Read Full Post
We commend Punjab for banning medical treatment abroad, but will politicians like Nawaz Sharif actually adhere to it?
Despite what the popular opinion may be, the Punjab government must be commended for taking objective measures to ensure austerity in the province. The Punjab government has imposed an extensive ban, restricting all ministers, MPA’s and officials from travelling abroad for medical treatment at the government’s expense. Furthermore, the government has banned recruitment against vacant posts, imposed a complete ban on the procurement of locally assembled and imported new vehicles, amongst various other bans. The ban that I feel is most welcome is imposing a restriction on travelling abroad for medical treatment. Healthcare in Pakistan poses a major problem for every government. ...Read Full Post
Given their (corrupt) record, why is the Sharif family being allowed to skip accountability proceedings?
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with his family, has fled to London. Now, this isn’t surprising news, because everyone’s safe haven seems to be London. But you see, the Sharif family was discovered to be knee-deep in corruption and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has three corruption cases filed against them. The references filed are related to the Sharif family’s property in London and their two steel mills in Saudi Arabia. Since the filing has been completed, NAB can frame charges of corruption against the accused, thus the Sharif family should be in the country, rather than out of the country. Normally, under NAB rules and ...Read Full Post
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi recently remarked that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution may be scrapped with the consultation of all parties. In case readers have forgotten, this particular article had provided the grounds of Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification. Constitutionally, Abbasi is correct, as Article 239 titled ‘Constitutional Amendment Bill’ states the following in clause (5): “No amendment of the Constitution shall be called in question in any court on any ground whatsoever.” Furthermore, clause (6) states, “For the removal of doubt, it is hereby declared that there is no limitation whatsoever on the power of the Parliament to amend any of the provisions of the Constitution.” Therefore, if Article 62 is ...Read Full Post
The voters of NA-120 have given their verdict and have elected Kulsoom Nawaz by a healthy, though reduced, margin of around 14,000 votes. Although I have been following elections for decades now, I don’t recall any election of an individual seat in which the stakes were so high. Normally by-elections are predictable and frankly boring affairs. This by-election, however, was anything but boring or even predictable. It is said that all politics is local and one should exercise a lot of caution in extrapolating the results of one seat to predict the future general elections. Like all constituencies, NA-120 has its own local ...Read Full Post
An impeached prime minister, an overjoyed opponent, scandal relishing media outlets and 197 million whispering spectators – welcome to Pakistani politics. Every day here is better than your average soap opera and provides fodder for your next gossip session. Don’t get me wrong. I am highly sensitive to the ‘delicate junction in history our beloved country currently stands at’. However, I cannot help but question how much we needed to sacrifice in order to get here and if it could have been done any other way. Why do some nations only need the fall of confederate statues to trigger a movement, whereas others have human bodies falling every ...Read Full Post
Last year’s Panama Paper leaks not only exposed the truth behind the corrupt and swindling ways of Nawaz Sharif but also the person he really is. It turns out that behind his false facade of being a selfless father, husband and brother, Nawaz is really nothing more than a self-involved actor who took our country for a ride. Furthermore, he claims to love nothing more than his countrymen and is quick to rise from the ashes like a phoenix (despite being ousted repeatedly), when this is anything but true. Last week, in a great twist of irony, Nawaz finally decided to take us on ...Read Full Post
The empowerment of underprivileged women in the absence of technology is hard to imagine. After all, a basic understanding of programming can encourage them to identify new market trends and eventually embrace entrepreneurship. Similarly, exposure to data analysis and web development skills can afford easier penetration into Pakistan’s booming Information Technology (IT) industry. The industry is home to some of the highest paying jobs in the country, but a dearth of technological training has denied females a level playing field. Therefore, HerDomain has the perfect strategy in place to change that. HerDomain is a non-profit technological startup that provides coding skills and ...Read Full Post