Stories about world bank

Pakistan’s economy: Rising through the storms

In Pakistan, the financial year ends on June 30th. However, since the conventional year is about to end, we look back at how the new government fared at handling the economy and also make some policy prescriptions along the way. The incumbent government is being judged rather harshly on its performance in the first few months. Let’s just make this clear: there is no silver bullet that could end Pakistan’s economic woes within 100 days. Given that the government has inherited a ‘broken’ economy, I’d say that they have performed quite well. A common way to find out how well a country ...

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How are we supposed to “celebrate” Eid with no water and no electricity?

Life in Pakistan has never been easy. The living conditions continue to deteriorate with each passing year. The effects of climate change, coupled with the water crises, are making life harder and harder for people living here. The power outages do not help either. However, this year, the repercussions of climate change and the water crisis are being felt the most, and things are about to get much worse. Today is Eid, which many people in the colonial parts of the city, especially certain gated communities, are enjoying to the fullest. Perhaps because they do not face the same problems ...

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70 years of Pakistan and two successful elected governments – should we celebrate democracy?

Democracy is a system of procedural consistency, which is perhaps why the reason Pakistan has failed to strengthen its democracy over the past few decades is because it has been marred by inconsistencies. As the government fulfils its five-year tenure once again, we see the emergence of a new dawn, something unimaginable even a decade ago. For the first time in our 70-year history, two democratic governments have successfully completed their entire five-year terms and engaged in a smooth transition. It has become a common habit for people to criticise our “desi democratic principles”. And why not, they ask? ...

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Pakistan’s inclusion on the FATF watchlist is no mere symbolic gesture

After much anticipation, speculation and confusion, we now know that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Pakistan on a terrorism financing watchlist. Well, sort of. FATF decided to “grey list” Pakistan, but the designation won’t formally take effect until June – hence why FATF didn’t mention Pakistan in a report it issued last week. Admittedly, the FATF’s deliberations are opaque and its procedures byzantine. But this much is true – Pakistan is on its way to the watchlist. Pakistani financial journalist Khurram Husain, who understands FATF well, put it to me this way: FATF has passed a motion to grey list Pakistan. ...

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Why an independent Kashmir is not good news for both Pakistan and India

In a previous blog that discussed the implications of President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, I suggested that Pakistan requires a re-think of its policies towards the US and Afghanistan. It further stated that Pakistan should try to normalise relations with India, since the key to peace on the western border may lie on the eastern border. For this to happen, it is necessary for Pakistan to carry out an analysis of the continued validity of its Kashmir policy. This is not required as a concession that needs to be given to India to achieve peace, but it is necessary due ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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The smog is here to stay and there’s nothing you are doing about it, Punjab

We have a fairytale relationship with development, mainly because it includes building wide boulevards and skyscrapers in cities as a sign of prosperity. While in reality, it is a slow process which should include both urban and rural populations. As Kamil Khan Mumtaz said during a recent conversation, “You develop something or you develop into something and we have not defined this ‘something’!” This lack of definition has resulted in a development rat race that has now started to frequently slam us in the wall of environmental issues. The recent haze that has engulfed upper and central Punjab is a case in point. ...

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A dispute over water, a lifetime of war?

When the Indus Water Treaty was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan in September 1960, President Eisenhower described it as the, “One bright spot…in a very depressing world picture.” Only eight months after independence, in 1948, India had first begun diverting water from the Pakistani canal system emanating out of the Indus water system. After about a decade of conflict over water (which also saw the two countries reject a proposal for unified basin development that would have brought Pakistan and India together in many ways), it fell to the newly installed military regime in Pakistan and Jawaharlal Nehru in India ...

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Why was Karachi’s Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah dismissed, Mr CM?

Whenever there is honey, there will be bees and wherever there are bees, there should be a beehive nearby. In other words, be careful of honey or the bees will sting you, not to mention the odd bear or two lurking about. Karachi is akin to the honey, which welcomes millions of people looking for work within its high rises but these people must survive amongst the bears (land mafia, political power mafias, death squads, extortionists and an endless list of the like). The number of bears Karachi attracts is roughly the same number which goes to the rivers to ...

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Despite increasing the education budget, the Sindh government is failing its youth

If you want to see how Sindh has failed its children, visit a public school in some of the obscure towns of the province. I was well aware of the fact that government-run schools had flaws, but the extent of this problem was always abstract for me, up until I had a first-hand experience. I was in Shikarpur recently (the city once known as the Paris of Sindh) to attend a cousin’s wedding. While in town, I thought it would be a great idea to see how education was faring in a place known for its academic excellence, considering Shikarpur ...

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