Stories about pakistan

Revisiting Manto’s biting ‘Letters to Uncle Sam’ – Part 2

In this two part series, Raza Naeem translates passages from Manto’s nine Letters to Uncle Sam and discusses their enduring legacy. Read Part 1 here.  ~ Fifth letter In his fifth letter, Manto brilliantly exposes America’s pretensions about maintaining world peace even after acquiring the capability to make hydrogen bombs: “I have heard that you have made the hydrogen bomb just so that there should be absolute world peace. Although God knows better, but I am sure of what you say because I have eaten your wheat and, after all, I’m your nephew. Although the young should readily obey the elderly, but I ask ...

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The Saudi-Iran conflict and the challenges it poses for Pakistan

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, recently visited both Iran and Saudi Arabia at a time when the region is on the precipice of imploding. The timing of the visits was no fortune coincidence. In fact, it showed Islamabad’s intent to maintain peace in the region, further exemplified by its attempts to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the past. Last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the two countries in a bid to ease tensions after drone attacks targeted two Saudi oil facilities. The fact that Pakistan is actively trying to preserve regional stability suggests that there are ...

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What can Pakistan learn from Bangladesh?

Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, ominously dubbed Bangladesh a basket case, and the moniker stuck, causing disappointment and dismay among Bangladeshis. In the 1970s, the derogatory appellation painted a dire picture of a country struggling with negative growth rates, dismal export potentials, empty coffers, and, to top it all off, the burden of meeting the needs of a traumatised population. The future of Bangladesh, at the time, looked very bleak indeed. Five decades later, Bangladesh has come out roaring. It has become one of the leading Asian economies and has, for ...

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Pakistan’s role in the Middle East conundrum

Sitting 8000 miles across the Pacific from my hometown Islamabad, I had to take a break from work for an early afternoon stroll along the Santa Monica Beach to make sense of recent developments in the Middle East and their wider implications. My country of origin, Pakistan, has already seen the aftermath of indulging in proxy wars at a staggering human, social and economic cost. Hindsight in our case has unfortunately never been 20-20. Even after the relative de-escalation of tensions following President Donald Trump’s address last week, one still cannot dismiss the potential of one hasty tweet or one cyber-attack to ...

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Will Pakistan ever rid itself of the polio menace?

Recent reports indicate that six new cases of polio have been registered in Pakistan, thus meaning that currently 148 children are afflicted with the disease. Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which attacks the nervous system, mainly of children and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours, depending on the potency of the virus. The disease is primarily transmitted orally through the mouth, either due to a polluted water supply or contaminated food. The virus finds a conducive environment in the intestine and begins to multiply rapidly. It is then partially excreted out of the body in the form ...

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How can Pakistan’s youth reap the benefits of e-commerce?

In a world which is increasingly relying upon technology to drive both businesses and innovative processes it is imperative that Pakistan’s youth be equipped with the necessary skills required to flourish in this changing landscape. According to my observations regarding the existing e-commerce policy framework, the willingness of the government to collaborate with online marketplaces for export capacity building is apparent. However, it is important that such online marketplaces are able to incorporate a particular aspect of ‘gamification’, which will pay dividends down the line. But in order to fully understand the perceived benefits of the model it is necessary to first engage with the ...

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Trump’s imperial arrogance will have disastrous ramifications

The spectre of war is haunting the Middle East. In the American diplomatic and military circles, there’s only a single line of discussion: how is Iran going to retaliate? The question has moved a little further from ‘if’, and the reason for that is Donald Trump’s addiction to late night news punditry which leaves him with a mad whirlwind of emotions, especially if it has anything to do with a perceived slight aimed at either him or the military prowess of the United States (US). On December 27th, an American contractor was killed because of rocket attacks at a military ...

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How democratic are Pakistan’s democrats?

Dēmokratiā, a system of government invented by the Athenians in around 508 BC, simply means “rule by the people”; demos (people) and kratos (rule). On the other hand, the word politics means the “science of government”, which gets its connotation from the name of Aristotle’s book, “Ta Politika”. However, it appears that our elected representatives have redefined these terms, because of which a vacuum persists in our democratic system, leaving it both vulnerable and weak. In today’s Pakistan, politics connotes the appeasement of one’s party leadership; the more vocal and aggressive one is in rebutting a point asserted by a political opponent, ...

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What will be the consequences of the rising US-Iran tensions?

In the popular TV show House of Cards, American President Franklin Underwood faces a hostage situation with a group of extremists loyal to the Islamic Caliphate Organisation. The loyalists can easily be taken out and the hostage freed, but the president uses the public death of the hostage as political capital. Because of investigations into the president’s tainted past, he raises an effective disinformation campaign against the terrorist organisation, rallies Congress, and declares war. The American people are scared and choose to place their faith in the president, forgetting any accusations of foul-play, corruption, and murder. In the real world, ...

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Lessons in tenacity: Why Pakistan should learn from Turkey

When faced with the seemingly unyielding support of its ostensible NATO ‘partners’ for Kurdish secessionists in the Syrian-Turkish border regions, Turkey faced a veritable conundrum. Turkey’s  successful October 9-24, 2019 Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria against entrenched, US military-protected Kurdish fighters came after setting red lines regarding its national security, acknowledging that lack of respect afforded to those red lines by traditional partners necessitated threatening core foundational assets of its ties with them, recognising its advantages and constraints and hedging its bets with new foreign allies. In numerous ways, Turkey’s negotiation of the ordeal vis a vis the Kurds and ...

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