Stories about US

Lessons Pakistan should learn from America amidst the coronavirus panic buying

A few weeks ago, when the coronavirus was largely affecting mainland China, a friend of mine called me from Pakistan and complained about the sudden shortage of face-masks in Pakistan. He said, “We are a completely uncivilised society with no regard for any ethics or morals. You are lucky that you live in a morally upright nation (America).” At the time, I agreed with his assertion and thought that I could easily compare the two societies since I have spent a considerable amount of time in both the countries. Most of my personal as well as professional life was spent in ...

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Should Pakistan instate a travel ban against coronavirus emergent regions?

In its final year in office, the current Trump administration has instated a 30-day travel ban extending to Europe and to its ally the United Kingdom (UK), supplementing the already existing bans on China and South Korea. Blaming the large number of new clusters in the United States (US) as a result of travel from Europe, President Donald Trump moved to present a resolute US front against the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared to be a global pandemic. On the other side of the Atlantic, here in the UK, Prime Minister ...

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The importance of economic transparency in Pakistan

The boisterous wrangling over the post-Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), and the adoption of an assertive economic nationalism by the United States (US) in the ongoing trade disputes with other major economies have quickened the pace of realignment and reconfiguration in the global economy. The ensuing volatility and uncertainty have been compounded by the staggering challenge of coming up with a sustainable solution to climate change, managing the inexorable spread of coronavirus, and rationalising the network of relations in the global supply chain. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded to these developments ...

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Can Pakistan’s economic decay be halted?

Expectations were sky-high when Imran Khan took over Pakistan’s reins in 2018 with most voters hoping that their financial well-being would improve. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government has now been in power for approximately 18 months, and therefore, it would be a good time to gauge whether the hopes of their voters were misplaced or warranted. More importantly, if the aforementioned hopes were misplaced, it is advisable for us to take a look at what measures need to be undertaken to bring stability to the economy. After trying and subsequently failing to balance the books with the help of friendly ...

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What does Hafiz Saeed’s arrest mean for Pakistan?

In a recent development, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, has been sent to prison for five and a half years by the anti-terrorist court in Lahore. Naturally, this news quickly made it to the the headlines across the globe since Saeed’s name is included in the list of banned terrorists by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Saeed is also wanted by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But one cannot understand the impact of Saeed’s arrest if one is unaware of exactly what Saeed has been up to for all these years. Saeed ...

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The importance of Imran Khan’s Malaysia visit

Imran Khan’s Malaysia trip has gained an added sense of importance since it comes after last year’s fiasco when Pakistan, at the very last moment, refused to participate in the Kuala Lumpur summit due to Saudi pressure. Although Malaysia, despite knowing the reason for Pakistan’s failure to attend the summit, never showed any discernible annoyance, this Malaysia trip presents Imran with an opportunity to engage in some damage control in light of that decision. This was evident since upon landing in Malaysia one of the first things Imran did was express his regret for missing the Kuala Lumpur summit because,  “Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow ...

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Revisiting Manto’s biting ‘Letters to Uncle Sam’ – Part 1

In this two part series, Raza Naeem translates passages from Manto’s nine Letters to Uncle Sam and discusses their enduring legacy. Read Part 2 here. ~ Saadat Hasan Manto passed away on a foggy morning today, 65 years ago in my native city of Lahore. A few months shy of his 43rd birthday, his frail body had been consumed by alcohol and his spirit was exhausted by the many battles he fought in independent Pakistan against the state’s courts and critics, who shunned, marginalised and victimised him. Among the victims of his acerbic pen in his final years were Uncle Sam and the ...

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In conversation with Noam Chomsky – Part 2: Intellectuals, imperialism and human nature

This conversation with Professor Noam Chomsky is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers American culture and politics. Part 2 covers media, intellectuals and imperialism, along with science, language and human nature. Part 3 includes a conversation regarding religion and spirituality, alongside a discussion about the Indian subcontinent, climate change and the migration crisis. ~ Media, intellectuals and imperialism Hassan Mirza (HM): In a famous BBC interview of yours with presenter Andrew Marr, you told him that if he believed in something different and was more independent-minded he wouldn’t have been hired by the BBC. He called you a conspiracy theorist after ...

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In conversation with Noam Chomsky – Part 1: American culture and politics

This conversation with Professor Noam Chomsky is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers American culture and politics. Part 2 covers media, intellectuals and imperialism, along with science, language and human nature. Part 3 includes a conversation regarding religion and spirituality, alongside a discussion about the Indian subcontinent, climate change and the migration crisis. ~ My email exchange with Professor Noam Chomsky began in 2017. I had read many of his writings and was curious about his views on a variety of topics. I sent him an email out of curiosity and what had started as an occasional email exchange at first soon ...

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Pakistan’s role in the Middle East conundrum

Sitting 8000 miles across the Pacific from my hometown Islamabad, I had to take a break from work for an early afternoon stroll along the Santa Monica Beach to make sense of recent developments in the Middle East and their wider implications. My country of origin, Pakistan, has already seen the aftermath of indulging in proxy wars at a staggering human, social and economic cost. Hindsight in our case has unfortunately never been 20-20. Even after the relative de-escalation of tensions following President Donald Trump’s address last week, one still cannot dismiss the potential of one hasty tweet or one cyber-attack to ...

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