Stories about trade

Can Pakistan learn from Belgium?

Is Pakistan the only country in the world that is facing sectarian violence in today’s world? Can we expect Pakistan to overcome it in the coming years? With a huge population, widespread poverty and various non-state actors, it may take Pakistan many years to fight this menace but it is not impossible to take this challenge head-on. We have the example of Belgium before us, which resolved this problem successfully. Belgium – a small but ethnically diverse country in the heart of Europe consisting of French, German and Dutch-speaking population – took over four centuries to learn the lesson of peaceful ...

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Observations from Sri Lanka

After fighting an uphill battle against the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lankans are now keeping their focus on education and economy. This is what I observed in Sri Lanka last month. Sri Lankans are now following the policy: “Good walls make good neighbours.” I met several lawmakers, who strongly believe that Colombo is trying its utmost to promote business relations other South Asian countries, particularly with India and Pakistan. A senior member of parliament, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, who represents the treasury benches, remarked that New Delhi and Colombo have not only improved their diplomatic relations but also expanded their trade volume recently. His views ...

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Which political party is closest to the business lobby?

With general elections ahead, every leading political party claims to have the solution for the country’s chronic economic problems in their ‘economic agenda’. While some parties have revealed their economic agendas in the last few months, many have not bothered to fulfill this basic formality. There is not a single political party in the country that can claim to have the confidence of the business community. The failure of the Pakistan Peoples Party government in handling the economic affairs of Pakistan has compelled a large number of businessmen to look at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Sensing ...

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Love thy neighbour (India), it’s economically viable!

Pakistan and India have shared decades of a love-hate relationship under different regimes. The present government is leaning more towards love than hate and took the bold decision of granting most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, in order to open up trade between the two countries. Some critics hope that trade with India may dispel the impression that Pakistan is a land of fear ruled by the Taliban. The question is whether an enhanced trade relationship between the two countries will bring these two rivals closer. In recent talks held in Islamabad, India offered to set up a 2,000MW power ...

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Indo-Pak peace façade: What about Kashmir?

A loyal, unnamed Quaestor (public official) in the great Roman emperor Hadrian’s army, who built the city of Hadrianopolis (now Adrianopolis), had his eyes gouged out and his right arm amputated in the winter of 127 AD. Scandalous rumours that the Quaestor had embezzled funds, collected for the construction of a giant wall meant to keep the barbarians away from Britain, had reached the emperor. For three long years, the ugly ghosts of an unlit torture chamber became permanent companions of the Quaestor. Later, when an official inquest discovered that the Quaestor was innocent, he was summoned before the ...

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Lifestyle Pakistan: To India, with love

If India and Pakistan had to update their status vis-a-vis each other on Facebook, what would they write on their page? Would it be ‘divorced’, ‘separated’, ‘it’s complicated’, ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’? Seeing their mood and bonhomie these days the most appropriate status update would be “in a relationship”. After the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, the two neighbours almost separated and their relationship remained complicated for two years. However, with the passage of time the wound started healing and a new realisation dawned on them; that it’s futile to lead separate and complicated lives just because of some ...

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India and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan

For the last decade or so, the global community has been fighting a war in Afghanistan which has its roots originating from the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. The current war has various stakeholders involved who are vying for greater influence in the region which also includes South Asian arch rivals India and Pakistan. On a historical note, the American and Pakistani leadership of the 1980s sought to eradicate the USSR’s geo-strategic agenda in Afghanistan by training large numbers of local and foreign militants in the name of ‘Islamic jihad’. These militants were indirectly funded and trained by the CIA and the ...

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Traders paradise or political nightmare?

After a delay of 15 years, Pakistan finally took the decision on the much-talked most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India this week. Technically speaking, the MFN status will automatically be given to India by the end of this year. Pakistan has a negative trade list with India with 1,209 items (items that both countries cannot trade with each other) that will be phased out by December 31, 2012. After that, both countries can import or export anything to each other. According to the Indian minister for commerce, Anand Sharma, now almost 90 percent items can be traded with Pakistan as opposed ...

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Trade with India, for a better Pakistan

If the choice facing Pakistan is abandoning its claims on the Indian side of Kashmir in exchange for free trade with India, then I see it as an automatic choice: the economic future of 180 million citizens of Pakistan is not worth sacrificing for the sake of some vague political aspirations of a fraction of the 12 million or so who live on the Indian side of Kashmir. The hyper-nationalists that populate a surprisingly large segment of Pakistani cyberspace will no doubt argue that this is “selling Kashmir down the river”. Has anyone ever thought of the fairness of it ...

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Trading sex on Zamzama

As a regular commuter in this cauldron of mixed sights known as the metropolis of Karachi, I see diversity amidst the cacophony of ethnicity, race, language and cultural values and I also see the growing perpetual prostitution lining the streets of Zamzama – which has perhaps truly evolved as a one-stop shopping district. They say it’s the oldest profession in the world, but come what may in Karachi it seems to be the newest one. Somehow every street has become a rendezvous for a potential client and provider. Women continue to sell their bodies to earn a livelihood; admittedly this has ...

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