Stories about trade

How the Kashmir crisis threatens Russia’s interests in Pakistan and India

The world watched with bated breath as Pakistan and India narrowly escaped full-blown military conflict last week. But the Kashmir crisis demonstrates more than a bitter dispute between two nations. This volatile frontier provides a springboard from which a historic rivalry between two nuclear states could culminate, with potentially seismic consequences for its surrounding neighbours. Moscow’s readiness to mediate the tensions therefore comes as no surprise, with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcoming Russian Foreign Minister Viktorovich Lavrov’s offers to host talks. As an ally of both countries, pressure mounts on Russia in particular, to abate tensions in ...

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Why India may not be a big fan of Pakistan’s new visa policy

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ just passed legislation loosening the country’s previously difficult visa procedure. This legislation allows most of the world’s nationalities to either receive a visa on arrival or electronically, which will not only boost tourism and facilitate business dealings, but also show the international community that Azad Kashmir is truly free and not ‘Pakistan-occupied’ as India falsely alleges. This is all part of Imran’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ vision of revolutionising his country’s domestic and foreign affairs. This legislation is expected to immensely boost Pakistan’s tourism industry and facilitate the clinching of international business deals along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 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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Are Modi’s trips to the Gulf States an attempt to sabotage Pakistan’s ties with them?

The Pakistani media was abuzz this week with the Indian PM’s recent visit to our ‘brotherly’ ally Saudi Arabia. PM Modi’s visited the Kingdom for a short, but sweet, two days to discuss bilateral agreements of various natures with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his son Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The Indian media, along with the policy makers in New Delhi, were overjoyed by the visit – hailing it as a strategic attempt to further isolate Pakistan – its arch nemesis – from its “brothers” in the Gulf, the visit is said to have opened further avenues for New Delhi. Some Indian officials also ...

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Why the floods in Chitral are not a natural calamity

Last week marked the most devastating surge of floods in Chitral in over a decade. The destruction has been, according to the word of mouth, “everywhere and colossal”. Infrastructure has been grounded, a number of roads have almost disappeared, electricity has been out for days, and for days to come, clean drinking water will be a scarce commodity. People living along the river bank have lost their homes and land, and economic activities in majority of the areas have been hampered. As many as 60,000 people have been displaced in 26 flood-hit villages. While we have heard stories of unbelievably huge floods from our parents and grandparents, ...

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Memories of Shikarpur, the Paris of Sindh

The news of a bomb-blast at an imambargah in Shikarpur rocked the nation on Friday. But the attack was particularly shocking for my family. They remember a different Shikarpur – a land of peace, tolerance and Sufism, a land once called the ‘Paris of Sindh’. Many a wars have been fought by people coveting dominion over the emerald city. In the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1841, Lieut. Postans describes Shikarpur as, “The most important town in the country of Sindh in point of trade, population and influence”. My father was born in Shikarpur, my grandfather was born in Shikarpur, as was his father ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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Pakistani dramas: Trade in your jeans and career for some chooridars and a rolling pin

Imagine a scene from a typical Pakistani drama. On one side, we have a shareef (innocent) damsel in distress and a prince charming, who is too busy admiring his good looks to actually use his brains for intellectual purposes. And on the other is the mandatory villain – usually a conniving, evil best friend – who tries her best to create barriers between the couple with hopes that the guy would pick her over the damsel. Since we are all too familiar with the damsel’s fluttering eyelashes and the prince’s flirtatious smiles, let’s focus our attention towards the villain for once. As opposed ...

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If I were prime minister of Pakistan in 2014 I would…

The year 2013 has been heavy on all of us. We’ve gotten through drone strikes, kidnappings and the elections, and had to suffer through the likes of Sahir Lodhi on our radio. On a more positive note, there were a record number of people at this year’s elections. There were talks of better relations with India (which did not really pan out) and Geo finally realised that Sana Bucha’s perfect hair was not enough to keep her on. However, with the coming of the new prime minister, I realised that there are a lot of things that I would change if I were to become ...

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Edhi: The man who dedicated his life to Pakistan

The first time I encountered Abdul Sattar Edhi was when he was present at a conference that the volunteers at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) had been given the privilege of hosting. The banning of organ trade was the topic under discussion. The founder of SIUT, Dr Dr. Adibul Hasan Rizvi, was adamant that such widespread practices should be proclaimed illegal in our country. He condemned organ trade, saying that instead of helping the organ sellers get rid of poverty, it trapped them further by adding expensive medications to their daily list of necessities. The tumultuous applause ...

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