Stories about trade

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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India and Pakistan: Sharing one soul

Recently, I was in India to attend a course on environmental journalism hosted by a renowned New Delhi-based NGO. One day, I was at one of Delhi’s social clubs and ran into a retired Indian general, Maj-Gen Ashok K Mehta, to be precise. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation. He said that he was in the Indian Army during the 1971 Pakistan-India war and that he had been in contact with several Pakistani prisoners of war. One of them, he said, was a senior officer, who on the day the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indians, wrote in ...

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MFN doesn’t translate to BFF

Recently there has been a lot of debate on the issue of granting India the Most Favoured Nation status (MFN). The debate has primarily garnered negative responses from all sides and has actually put the government under a lot of pressure. Initially what was seen as a straightforward gesture has turned into a political hot potato, causing the prime minister and foreign minister to give statements periodically defending their stance. The reason this whole MFN status for India has become such a big deal is primarily due to the fact that most people debating it are immature and do not ...

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Favouring India isn’t easy

Without cordial relations between Pakistan and India, peace in the Asian region will always remain a distant dream. Trade is the only thing  that can tie the two nations together. We know that war is not the solution to our problems and we have realized this in over 60 years of enmity. Thus, it came as a relief to me and many others, I am sure, when  a historical move on October 2, in the meeting of the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan approved a proposal granting India the status of “most favoured nation”. The step has come ...

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Afghan pullout: Pakistan needs to revise its role

Opinion pages are full of analysis emphasising Pakistan’s role in bringing to an end the Afghan conflict, without whom, it is argued, the negotiations are bound to fail. The Pakistani establishment however continues with its short term, self defeating policies towards our neighbouring country. As a result our region will remain unstable and insecure after the United States (US) and its allies depart. Pakistan wants to ensure that the Afghan government remains pliant to its strategic needs. We want any negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict to include the Taliban, but on our own terms, keeping us in the loop. Non-Pashtun ...

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Afghan drawdown: The vultures descend

Now that the die is cast and the United States is finally stepping up the process of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the vultures are finally swooping down to ensure that they get a piece of the carcass. Pakistan, Iran, India, Russia; all seem to have a stake in Afghanistan’s future. Out of these, Pakistan and India are arch rivals and have conflicting interests in Afghanistan. Pakistan, which often views Afghanistan as an extension of its own backyard seeks to play out the game of strategic depth in the country. India, on the other hand is taking a more indirect route. ...

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Heroin use in Pakistan: Deep and deadly

In all the blitz of news this week, there was a remarkable story that the largest ever heroin cache had been seized in the country’s history – a whooping 375kg, worth an estimated $44 million. Indeed, this is a job well-executed on the part of the Anti-Narcotics Force, but this whole episode should serve to open the box on heroin drug use in Pakistan, rather than just a mere round of applause. To give a short history of heroin use in Pakistan, this menace came into prominence in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Domestic cultivation of poppy ...

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How to end the war in Afghanistan

President Obama has reiterated his goal for the 2014 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and at the same time has put pressure on Pakistan to “do more” in his latest review of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to the New York Times, Obama, when referring to Pakistan, stated that “progress has not come fast enough,” and the United States (US) would “insist that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.” Analysts have argued over whether it is in Pakistan’s interest to undertake an invasion of North Waziristan. However, there is a need for us to analyse ...

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Are you being robbed one rupee at a time?

As I asked for one rupee in change from the cashier a fellow customer on the next billing counter took a whole 180 degree turn and looked at me as if I was an insect. To add to my embarrassment the cashier rolled his eyes and took out a five rupee note and said “you can keep this instead.” He made me feel like a beggar for asking for my own money. Obviously, I did not keep it but amused and astonished I moved away. The next day I discussed the incident with my friends. Most of them seemed to have ...

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The economic road to peace

Geographically, socio-economically, culturally as well as religiously no other two countries of the world have so much in common as India and Pakistan. The two countries comprised a single economic and political unit for many centuries before independence. Ever since the creation of Pakistan relations between India and Pakistan have been steadily grown tenser. The main factors responsible for strained relations include: dispute over the question of Kashmir, properties of borders and sharing of waters. So far, Kashmir has proved a major origin of disturbances, clashes and lack of trust. The public and government of both countries have emotional affiliations with the ‘Kashmir ...

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