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EDITORIAL: Setback to the economy

The first thing first: there is no threat to the democratic process in the country from the armed forces. It's on record that the forces' high command has exhibited extreme patience and helped the civil rulers in confronting serious challenges by conducting it through heavy waters of poor governance; yet the underlying tone of most of the high-decibel oratory in joint session of parliament was that the sit-ins at the D-Chowk are part of a 'plan' to wrap up the democratic system. The hard fact is that the sit-inners have challenged the government headed by Nawaz Sharif that enjoys a comfortable majority in the parliament, and is fully empowered to handle it. Perhaps, it is the common fear of being wrapped up, based on our history that has ge...

September 18, 2014 at 5:49 pm | News Desk

Light and Darkness

Zafar Aziz Chaudhry However hard I have tried not to worry about the frequent power outages which have assaulted us with redoubled vigour these days, and notwithstanding the golden rules of Dale Carnegie to banish worry in all unforeseen circumstances, I confess that I have not been able to be pacified by taking it all in my stride. In a well-lighted room, when life rolls on in its usual routine, suddenly pitch darkness engulfs the room bringing all activities to a grinding halt. Darkness is equated to death and depravity in the realm of literature, because it virtually devours life which manifests itself only in light. Shakespeare uses the metaphor of darkness to illustrate Macbeth’s slide towards depravity. Macbeth cannot face...

September 18, 2014 at 2:45 am | News Desk

POLITICAL IMPASSE OR MALICE A FORETHOUGHT

The day I hit the keyboard with an intention to comment on the remonstration staged by Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), Pakistan played cricket series deciding ODI and got comprehensively beaten by Sri Lanka. I doubt if anyone, even a fervent cricketer, followed the match. The entire nation was held hostage to political stage show alongside the parliament telecast live in real time. We may be forgiven for missing out on the cricket match but can we defend ourselves on ignoring catastrophic issue of much greater national implications such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) bearing the inclement weather conditions under open sky besides lacking all the necessities they deserve as the citizens of Pakistan. Ne...

September 18, 2014 at 2:35 am | News Desk

Anti-erosion effort stops Pakistani farmers abandoning mountain fields

Saleem Shaikh Along with dozens of other farmers in the western Himalayan village of Namli Mera, Muhammad Naeem had been planning to give up agriculture and move to a nearby city. Resigned to opening a roadside coffee stall or working as a labourer in an auto shop, Naeem decided two years ago to abandon his potato fields after losing much of his three hectares of terraced farmland to soil erosion and landslides – problems that have become more frequent due to intense rainfall in the area. Namli Mera, located on the northern border of Ayubia National Park some 80 km from Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad, was once famous for its sparkling natural springs. But in recent years the village has become better known for its uns...

September 18, 2014 at 2:16 am | News Desk

Hydel electricity in Pakistan’s Karakoram mountain village protects health and forests

Sughra Tunio Life is full of hardships for women like Gul Mehreen, who live in tough mountain terrain in the north of Pakistan. Their villages located in Hunza Nagar Valley are isolated and still don’t have an access to electricity making it even more difficult for them to survive harsh conditions. But thanks to a small project, Mehreen now takes delight in cooking and other daily household chores. A micro-hydel power station has been installed that now supplies clean and cheap energy to her village called Ahmadabad, where Gul Mehreen lives, making the lives of the residents, especially women much easier. In the villages, it is the womenfolk who are responsible for all cooking-related activities and they work really hard, ...

September 18, 2014 at 1:25 am | News Desk

Caution! Expired dry batteries are flooded in markets

Be cautious while purchasing a dry battery for your uninterrupted power supply (UPS) or solar power system, as an expired, outdated junk of dry batteries has flooded the market in pretext of imported batteries. The manufacturing date on these imported batteries is not mentioned. Therefore, while purchasing, it is utmost necessary for the buyer to check the manufacturing date. The increasing use of UPS and solar power systems in Pakistan has raised the demand for dry batteries which have flooded the markets. Largely, the dry batteries available in markets do not have their manufacturing date inscribed on them. Investigations reveal that some importers are deceiving consumers and local distributors by importing expired/used dry batterie...

August 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Sajid Gondal

EDITORIAL: Still time to back down

Editorial The hectic, perhaps even frantic, shuttling back and forth of political intermediaries between the PML-N and PTI camps had suggested that perhaps some kind of middle ground could be reached and the growing atmosphere of political crisis could be calmed down. Unhappily, neither the PML-N nor the PTI appears to be in any mood to back down first — or at least before the eleventh hour, which is nearly here. The PML-N has had the capital’s administration enforce the infamous Section 144 of the criminal code that prohibits the public display of weapons — and most importantly, curbs the public’s right of freedom to assemble. Without a shred of doubt, no matter what the PML-N leadership or the Islamabad administration ma...

August 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm | News Desk

INTERVIEW: Saeed’s call to politics

As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf youth mantra enticed the youth to PTI like the positively phototactic moth is drawn to light, PTI held its end of the deal by opening doors to 40pc young candidates. One of these young candidates nominated by PTI, Murad Saeed, won his seat from NA-29 Swat, after defeating his senior political rivals. Saeed hails from Kabal of district Swat. During Operation Rah-e-Rast, the second battle of Swat in 2009 between Pakistan Army and the militants, a stray mortar shell had destroyed his house critically injuring his mother and brother. It served as Saeed’s call to politics as he was now determined to serve his people. So even at that crucial time, Saeed went from town to town forming ISF (Insaf Student Federation) ...

August 13, 2014 at 3:55 am | Mareea Khalid

Climate-Resilient watershed management Protects lives and livelihoods of Pakistan’s mountain farmers

Saleem Shaikh It has been a renewal of life and livelihood for Muhammad Naeem, a vegetable grower in north Pakistan’s Namli Mera village who was about to give it all up and move to the city after shrinking water supply and pollution had made farming unviable. But the mountain stream has revived, the water quality improved and he is able to irrigate his four-acre plot with ease thanks to an innovative watershed management programme that has saved many farmers like him. “Water supply from a centuries old natural sparkling spring in our area was shrinking, getting turbid and polluted because of rising deforestation in our mountain village. I realised that farming was no more viable and was thinking of abandoning it to migrate to ...

August 12, 2014 at 3:16 am | News Desk

Landless farmers stunned

Sindh government has badly failed to distribute promised 144,561 acres of land among poor, causing unrest among expected beneficiaries and civil society organizations. According to the Landless Hari Program 2008, Sindh government had to distribute 200,000 acres of land among poor farmers, particularly women peasants, but it distributed only 55,439 acres out of promised 200,000 acres. Therefore, it is the right time for Sindh government to start 3rd phase of the Landless Hari Program and distribute remaining 144,561 acres of land among women of the freed bonded laborers, who are primarily agriculture workers and can contribute to Sindh’s agriculture growth. This initiative will secure the livelihood of these marginalized people and hel...

August 12, 2014 at 2:25 am | Waheed Jamali

Zarb-e-Azb wouldn’t just switch militancy phenomenon off – Jan Achakzai

”Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl [JUI-F] is a moderate religious political party. We condemn all types of terrorism and extremism and we support government in its endeavor to eliminate terrorism. It is a misconception that JUI [F] is against military operation in North Waziristan, but we are trying to engage government for adopting a comprehensive anti-terrorism policy at state level”, said Jan Achakzai in an exclusive interview with Economic Affairs. You said that JUI F is a moderate political party. How you will define extremism?   Yes, JUI - F is a moderate religious political party. Maulana Mufti Mahmud who led JUI during the 70s played an important role in the formation of 1973 Constitution for Pakistan. The constitution fundamen...

July 13, 2014 at 12:55 am | Sajid Gondal

Pakistan’s future depends upon variables – Peter Heyward

Mr Heyward is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was until recently Assistant Secretary Africa Branch, a position he held from June 2011. Prior to this, he was Assistant Secretary, Consular Operations Branch. He has previously served overseas as Australia's Ambassador to East Timor; Ambassador to Brazil, also accredited to Colombia and Venezuela; Deputy Permanent Representative, Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Geneva and Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Argentina. Mr Heyward holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania, and a Graduation Certificate in Management from Monash University. He is married and has two daughters. “There are many vari...

July 13, 2014 at 12:42 am | Mareea Khalid

Karachi Diaries: Walk in Klauset

“Dressing well is a sign of good manners” – Tom Ford fashion designer / film director A Canadian based clothing giant that opened the doors of its flagship store in Karachi offers custom made menswear (for now), touch screens to craft unique profiles, and a coffee bar to placate waiting customers.  Klauset’s ‘Made in Pakistan’ label has to be clarified since labor is local, the cloth is imported, and standards are international. The owners try to outline the process for Sindh Education Minister Nisar Khuhro, and regale him with a lesson on texture, weight, limitations (220 gms) and material (micro light, poly wool). Tuxedos that are the rage and come with snazzy cummerbunds raise some eyebrows.  It is the first taste of col...

July 13, 2014 at 12:25 am | News Desk

When your résumé has HUAWEI in it

Ahmed Bilal Masud, an electrical engineer by profession is at the forefront of a leading telecom company, Huawei Pakistan as the Deputy CEO. After completing his degree from NUST (National University of Science and Technology), he set off for work in the telecom industry in 1997 when Pakistan had only two telecom operators. The launch of pre-paid service brought revolution in country’s telecom industry. Bilal was among those favoring the introduction of pre-paid to extend the mobile-reach to common people. However, some telecom marketers were against the move.  “They believed that the prepaid service wouldn’t be up-and-coming”, Bilal told Economic Affairs in an exclusive interview in Islamabad. The reason was that people like to...

June 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Mareea Khalid

Hard work, passion and vision make a successful business leader: Hussain Ahmed Fazal

Tausif-ur-Rehman Hussain Ahmed Fazal, the Director of Hussain Textile Mills joined the family business of textile milling at an early age and with his hard work, passion and vision developed not only the infrastructure of the company to meet the changing business environment but improved sales as well. When he joined the company, there were around 14,000 spindles and now it stands at 90,000 spindles and 131 air jet looms while the turn over last year stood at PKR. 15.764 billion. His textile mill is now the largest producer of organic cotton yarn in Pakistan having a production capacity of 816480 kg per month. It manufactures all kinds of dyed fabrics including PFGD, PFP, PFD bleach and printed. The company enjoys the privilege of bein...

June 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm | News Desk

To the Detriment of a Nation

Sexual deviancy is not a protected civil right. Sexual deviancy exists and is noted by clinical psychiatrists.  But deviants should not receive hugs at the White House and a welcomed berth in the military. President Barack Obama is the  Commander-in-Chief of the combined military forces of the United States of America.  He maintains an unusual focus on detrimental policy changes that weaken the traditions and  morale of a  professional standing army. Why such intense personal interest? The door was closed the day that my Navy  OIC (officer in charge) sat with me and the ten year (mandatory) review of a secret clearance landed on his desk. The officer under review was in my department and under my direct command. He had an incident ...

June 12, 2014 at 2:55 am | Tammy Swofford

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