Stories about PTI

Spilling tea with Asad Umar: Being a finance minister is ‘tough’

Right after his meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, I had the opportunity to sit down for tea with Finance Minister Asad Umar at the Pakistani consulate in New York City. We talked about his negotiations with the IMF, unpacked his outlook on the Pakistani economy as well as the personal toll this job is taking on him. The second thing I noticed about Umar when he entered the room was how tall he actually is in person. The first thing I noticed was how visibly exhausted he looks. By nature, he is an irrepressibly optimistic ...

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Federal minister of style: 4 great appearances by Faisal Vawda that nobody asked for

Pardon my political naivety, but who asked Mr Faisal Vawda to do anything more than his actual job as the minister of water resources? Regardless, we have been blessed with an impressive array of performances in Pakistan’s robust political theatre this year. It seems unjust to not acknowledge the many contributions of Vawda, who has worked hard to establish himself as more than just a federal minister. The greatest of these performances are being listed here for the convenience and amusement of our nation’s proudest patriots or theatre-enthusiasts. 1. The punisher Some may argue that it’s unusual for an armed federal minister ...

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PTI’s ‘dollar hoarding’ witch-hunt may be worsening the problem rather than solving it

Devaluing your currency is a relatively benign measure; however, to openly launch a hunt for ‘dollar hoarding’ is a radical step by any metric. In macroeconomic terms, corrective mechanisms have usually focused on one’s own currency through what the practitioners call fiscal and monetary policy. This has usually been done through taxing or printing more of your own money and encouraging people to borrow or save more. These steps have been taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, now with this new policy of a crackdown on ‘dollar hoarding’, we see an authoritarian turn to macroeconomic policy. Government has directed ...

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Renaming BISP: PTI’s art of turning non-issues into controversies, because any publicity is good publicity

The art of turning a non-issue into a controversy seems to be a favourite habit of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. From the moment it came to power, PTI has only been good at changing the names of projects initiated by former governments and trying to re-launch them under its own name. The inauguration of the Lahore to Multan Motorway and the opening of the Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Karachi are examples in this regard, for the latter was already inaugurated while the former was a project almost completed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. As the prime minister is a media-savvy person, ...

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If BRT Peshawar is still incomplete under PTI, what chance does BRT Karachi stand?

Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) seems to be a never-ending project as once again Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’ s (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has postponed its launch. The inauguration ceremony of the BRT was supposed to be held on March 23rd, but because the project is yet to be finished, K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, after consulting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, decided to cancel the opening ceremony. Ever since PTI announced to launch BRT in October 2017, the project has seen many delays because of the inefficient management. The BRT is a 26 kilometre-long bus corridor designed to carry thousands ...

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When will people like Khateeb stop using a peaceful religion as a tool for violence?

A frightening incident recently took place in Bahawalpur in which a student fatally stabbed his teacher. The teacher wanted to organise a welcome party which the said student considered ‘un-Islamic’ due to the intermingling of males and females. In a chilling confessional video, the student alleged that the late professor used to ‘insult’ Islam on a regular basis. He showed absolutely no remorse for his action, and when asked as to why he didn’t take the legal route, his answer was that courts in Pakistan are freeing ‘blasphemers’. A student of 5th semester at Govt Sadiq Egerton College in Bahawalpur who identifies himself as Khateeb Hussain when ...

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3 lessons Pakistani politicians can learn from Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders announced his second shot at the presidency of the United States last Tuesday. In 2016, he lost to the then-candidate Hillary Clinton in a close contest that pitted ‘big money’ against ‘big people’. Later it was discovered that the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the organisation that oversees the nomination of the Democratic party, had heavily favoured Clinton when they were supposed to stay neutral. This left a sense of unfinished business for Sanders’ supporters who felt cheated by the DNC. Big money won that time, but this time it’s different. After announcing his run for presidency, Sanders has ...

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Alamgir Khan should #FixIt more like an MNA and less like a rebel

Karachi has been facing serious water and sanitation issues. The sitting government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) seems to be completely unmoved and unconcerned about the plight of the common man of this city. A plethora of promises were made, cosmetic measures were taken but to no avail. Despite bringing in Chinese contractors for lifting and disposing garbage, the city still paints a sorry picture. A picture of neglect and abandonment. FixIt was a movement initiated by Alamgir Khan, a resident of Karachi and a business graduate of Iqra University. He came into the limelight with his legendary manhole ...

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The Information Mystery: Is PTI caught in social media’s spinning web?

The current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government seems to be at crossroads once again as debate on media and press freedom takes a dark turn with each statement spurred by the Information Ministry headed by Fawad Chaudhry. Speaking at an event recently, Chaudhry warned media houses that “their current model would not last long if they didn’t change their ways”. Rather than appearing to be an advice from the concerned federal authority, it seemed to be soaked in threatening tones. “The news media wants government advertisements and sponsorship, but what would happen to its freedom if the media looks up to the ...

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Sindh PAC: PPP’s mute watchdog?

In the Sherlock Holmes short story, The Adventure of Silver Blaze, a race horse named Silver Blaze disappears and its trainer is killed. Holmes figures out that it had to be an inside job since the dog didn’t bark, which it is supposed to if there was a stranger involved. The same seems to be true for the watchdog in Sindh called the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Over the last nine years, the auditor-general of Pakistan has unearthed irregularities of Rs957 billion in the Sindh government’s accounts. Meanwhile, the provincial PAC has not barked once in a decade. Not a single ...

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