Stories about policy

What is so similar about Pakistan and Turkey?

You have a neighbouring Islamic country whose government you don’t seem to like much. You would appreciate if its rulers changed. The United States of America shares the same opinion as you. They want you to help settle a few scores of their own. You collect motivated youth from around the world, all aligned in a certain sectarian direction. You provide them with military know how, modern weapons and defence strategies, in your own backyard. You send them charging to your neighbour, hoping that these motivated proxies will overthrow their government for you. While doing all this, you never calculate the ...

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Washington may be broken, but it’s not broken enough to let thugs like Trump enter the Oval Office

It seems just like yesterday when a far-right Republican, who I had the misfortune of knowing, told me that he’d rather vote for a donkey than vote for President Barack Obama. That was back in 2012 when the president was running for his second term against Mitt Romney. Now, Romney may not have been as eloquent or academically gifted as Obama, but he certainly was not dope. He was a former governor, an established businessman and the backbone of the Mormon faith. Donkey he certainly was not. Fast forward to today’s campaign season, it appears that the Republican prayers have been answered. Thanks ...

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Why conditional state funding of madrassas can be a sound policy move

A heated debate has ensued over the allocation of PKR 300 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government in the 2016-17 budget announced recently. The critics view this as a reward for a seminary that is notorious for its regressive world view and alleged support for violent extremism that earned it the title of ‘University of Jihad’ from Washington Post. Yet, there are plenty of reasons why conditional funding of madrassas, if pursued with caution, can be a prudent policy move by the provincial government to tackle religious extremism.   It is important to remember here that ...

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An Ángel in disguise for Manchester United

Much has been said about Manchester United’s transfer policy for the last two years, the majority of which is negative. Last season, United had to replace two individuals, who have been part of the fabric of the club, for a good part of a decade, regardless much was expected. What ensued was a virtual train wreck; without completing even one season, David Moyes was given the boot. The chief executive of the club, Ed Woodward, also had to shoulder a great deal of the blame due to his failed exploits in the transfer window. Fast forward one year: Manchester United is in the hands of the experienced Louis Van ...

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Why did Modi cancel talks with Pakistan?

This question has always been there right from the beginning: will Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk the talk? Will his huge electoral mandate be able to transform a Hindu sectarian leader into a national statesman? Will the early promises of out-of-the-box thinking usher in a new era of development in the Pakistan-India relationship? The rhetoric never matches with reality. Words don’t match actions. Oratory is not a substitute for a vision. Modi has all the germs to be a great sectarian leader. He has proved time and again that he lacks the gene to be a leader that suits India’s mood ...

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Five ways to improve US policy in South Asia in 2014

If there’s one word that defines South Asia in 2014, it’s transition. Elections are scheduled in three countries – Afghanistan, India and a controversial one already held in Bangladesh on January 5. Newly elected governments face their first full year in office in four others – Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. And hovering over this all is the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Amid this change and uncertainty, Washington’s chief objective for South Asia will remain the same – attaining stability. It’s an admittedly ambitious goal in a region cursed by interstate and intrastate tensions alike, and flushes with security threats that range from ...

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Imran Khan: Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Imran Khan is a dying phenomenon. He seems to be losing the fan base that he had gathered up in the last five to six years. His supporters and voters seem to be losing hope in him and the young generation, especially first-time voters, feel like they have been left in limbo with nowhere else to go. There was nothing surprising about Imran’s ascent in the political arena. People were tired of the same old faces, the same broken promises and needed a new ideal to latch on to. Consequently, most people followed Imran blindly, without giving any consideration to his ...

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What do we owe Afghan refugees?

The Af-Pak situation is a much detested thorn in the side of American foreign policy, and understandably so. It is volatile and exceedingly complex. Foreign policy discourse is saturated with different viewpoints on how America can harness political and military potential. The ongoing debate is both crucial and relevant with the upcoming withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in 2014. What disturbs me, however, is one critical issue absent from grander schemes on how to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan – that of refugees. There remains little analysis of how top-level decisions affect those that flee over borders by the millions ...

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Why the Pakistan Army makes state policies

It is difficult to assess whether the Pakistan Army is naïve or strategically calculated to step in the Supreme Court on the Memogate scandal. Obvious, however, is the fact that the critical step has brought the Army out in public, where previously only politicians and bureaucrats were mocked and sorted out. The Pandora’s box has popped open and an influx of articles criticising the unlimited power of the armed forces on defense, foreign and domestic political policies of Pakistan have been unleashed. While political pundits have declared the notion that the army makes the foreign, defense and domestic political policies of Pakistan as a ‘fact’– ...

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What you need to know about Hina Rabbani Khar

After keeping the slot of Foreign Minister vacant for more than five months, the government has finally woken up and decided to appoint Hina Rabbani Khar as the next Foreign Minister of Pakistan. It will not be an alien territory for Ms Khar, as she has been performing her duties as the Junior State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs till now. But, there will be an additional set of responsibilities that will come with the promotion. Even though she is familiar with the portfolio, it will be very difficult to speculate, at this stage, how much she would ...

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