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Politics

Ballots, Bombs, Bloodshed, and Bullets: Western Democracy and the Taliban; Square off This Week about South Asia’s Future

Kiren Lakhani On March 11, 2014 the people of Kabul witnessed firsthand the terrors of democracy as pistol fire clapped and blood ran in the streets.  People in the upscale neighborhood of Wazir Akbur Khan, a diplomatic area that is favored by Westerners, screamed and ran in fear while chaos took over the city.  When the smoke cleared, a Swedish radio journalist, Nils Horner, lay dead - the 51-year old man having come to cover the elections in Afghanistan. The Taliban did promise to use “full force” to disrupt the elections.  March 11th marked the day when we all figured out exactly what they mean by that statement.  We quickly learned the hard way that “full force disruption” meant killing off those whose only weapo...

April 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm | News Desk

INTERVIEW: SHAHID KHAQAN ABBASI

Before the start of next winter, Pakistan will start the import of 400mmcdf LNG from Qatar, which will be 25% of our pipeline supply. Though it will not completely fix the gas crises, but certainly would reduce the gas shortage in Punjab as witnessed now, Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in an exclusive interview with Economic Affairs. The oil and gas sector outlook 2014 is very encouraging. What special measures and policies have been adopted to attract investment in this area? It is almost after a decade that a proper comprehensive petroleum concession policy has been implemented. I want to make it clear that we have not made any new policy. It is the same petroleum concession policy ...

March 10, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Sajid Gondal

Ukraine and First World War

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi On July 28th, 2014 the world will mark the centennial of First World War. In that war France and Britain were on one side while Germany and Turkey on the other. Russia in that war toggled between these two competing alliances. The war resulted in weakening of France and Britain as colonial powers as well as revolutions in Germany and Turkey that converted these monarchies into republics. Russia on the other hand transitioned from monarchy to an autocratic rule of a single party after the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Middle East was divided into new nation states as an outcome of Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. But that war did not settle the centuries old power struggle between European powers....

March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm | News Desk

The Bilateral Security Agreement: Analysis of Taliban Jurisprudence

Tammy Swofford The distillation of thought for negotiation on the communal level most likely began with the Al-Fudoul confederacy. But it was a meeting at Wadi Al-Muhassab, and subsequent social boycott of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers which forged the thoughts regarding future domestic and foreign policy endeavors. Undoubtedly, the grandson of 'Abdul-Muttalib and his followers were also emotionally impacted by a trail of ants and the story of their own small intervention to validate the end of a social boycott and the supremacy of the Muslims.  This caused the Messenger of a growing cadre of loyalists to say, "I will guide you in the means by which you will gain sovereignty over both the Arabs and the non-Arabs." The...

February 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm | News Desk

The Kashmir Issue from the American Perspective

  Sabria Chowdhury Balland  “With respect to Kashmir, obviously this is a longstanding dispute between India and Pakistan. As I said yesterday, I believe that both Pakistan and India have an interest in reducing tensions between the two countries. The United States cannot impose a solution to these problems, but I’ve indicated to Prime Minister Singh that we are happy to play any role that the parties think is appropriate in reducing these tensions. That’s in the interests of the region, it’s in the interests of the two countries involved, and it’s in the interests of the United States of America.”   ---President Barack Obama The above quote is crucial in comprehending the current position the United States holds ...

February 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm | News Desk

‘Russia to faster cooperation with Pakistan’, Anvar A Makhmutov

Pak Russia relations ‘Russia to faster cooperation with Pakistan’, Anvar A Makhmutov Almas Haider Naqvi In the backdrop of changing geo-political situation in Afghanistan, Russians are evaluating Pakistan with the security threats and eco-political interests in case the relations take a rout back-on-track. “If security threats are lower than economic and political interest of Russia, then it will develop faster, effective and striving cooperation with Pakistan” said Anvar A. Makhmutov, the Deputy of Committee on International Affairs of State Duma. While talking to Economic Affairs, he was of the view that Russia today is no more an ideological state but is a pragmatic country having its own interests. Discussing ...

February 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm | News Desk

NOTA : Electing to reject

Yasmeen Aftab Ali India has shown maturity towards implementing a system democratic in spirit with the Supreme Court’s epic judgment in September 2013, allowed casting of "negative votes", noting that the provision of rejecting all candidates for a seat can be rejected by the electorate, noting that this option can be provided in existing electronic voting machines (EVMs) without any "additional cost" or change in the technology. A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam passed the judgment, noting the submission of the Election Commission (EC) that no additional cost, effort or change in design or technology of EVMs is required to include the option of "None Of The Above (NOTA)" in the EVMs. “In the existing electoral system,...

January 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm | News Desk

Nawaz’s best foot forward

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently completed his official visit to Washington where he met US President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials. Economic integration and further strengthening of bilateral trade and commerce ties were the main areas of attraction of the Prime Minister’s visit to the USA. The Energy Sector The leaders emphasized that both sides should work together on a range of options to enable Pakistan to overcome its energy deficiencies. It was specified that both sides will hold further discussions in the working groups on Energy and Security, Strategic Stability, and Non-Proliferation. Moreover, President Obama noted that US as...

November 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm | News Desk

Pakistan mourns 9/11

By Shiraz Nizami There is hardly a day when Pakistanis do not live and mourn 9/11, an incident that dragged Pakistan to tow the US led war on terror as an ally. In its role as non NATO ally, the country has become vulnerable to terrorism and faced not dozens but hundreds of devastating incidents of terror, and many were worse than that of 9/11.  According to official data of the government of Pakistan, this bond so far, has cost the country lives of more than 35,000 citizens, 3500 security personnel. The unending war has caused destruction of infrastructure, displacement of millions of people, erosions of investment climate, nose diving production, unemployment and a direct loss of $100 billion to national economy. It brought econom...

October 13, 2013 at 11:42 am | News Desk

Syria’s Detox Debate

Afrah Jamal ‘The Newsroom’ stumbled upon evidence of a black op codenamed ‘Genoa’ in Season 2 where Sarin was allegedly used, but by Obama and not by Syrians. The show employed a premise that flitted with the potential fallout should evidence of war crimes perpetrated by an American administration were to surface, and bore no resemblance - accidental or otherwise, to events that were to unfold a few weeks. The fictional Sarin saga would be resolved just as the Syrian episode was gaining traction. Syria’s use of banned Chemical weapons would send America’s Commander-in-Chief scrambling to the war room to devise an appropriate response, give Russia an opportunity to practice their ‘mediator of the month’ skills, and put...

October 7, 2013 at 10:39 pm | News Desk

Pakistan proposes common military bloc to GCC

Sajid Gondal Joint security shield Pakistan, being sixth largest army of the world and sole nuclear Muslim state, proposed to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) the setting up of a formal ‘security bloc’ to combat any external or internal security threats. The creditable policy initiative also stressed the need to have a strategic partnership which would also ensure food safety and economic integration. Functional security would be epicenter of the proposed security bloc. Extended military cooperation would be essential for GCC ongoing socio-economic prosperity and production. Pakistan can provide common military/security bloc to GCC which woul...

October 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm | News Desk

Iran’s ‘heroic flexibility’: Marketing ploy or strategy?

Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei coined an important new turn of phrase: “I agree with what I defined years ago as ‘heroic flexibility,’ because that approach is very good and necessary in certain situations, as long as we adhere to our principles,” he said in his speech on September 17. What is that “heroic flexibility” and where will it lead negotiations with Iran? On that, there endless interpretations in Iran. The parliament’s speaker, Ali Larijani, explained that “heroic flexibility means a tactic of conducting negotiations, not a strategy.” The commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Reza Naqdi, on the conservative end of the spectrum, also supports “heroic flexibility” as a tactical measure, while Mansou...

October 7, 2013 at 11:07 am | News Desk

US begins government shutdown as budget deadline passes

The US government has begun a partial shutdown after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget. The Republican-led House of Representatives insisted on delaying President Barack Obama's healthcare reform - dubbed Obamacare - as a condition for passing a bill. More than 700,000 federal employees face unpaid leave with no guarantee of back pay once the deadlock is over. It is the first shutdown in 17 years and the dollar fell early on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs estimates a three-week shutdown could shave as much as 0.9% from US GDP this quarter. On Tuesday, Mr Obama blamed the House of Representatives for the stalemate and said he would "keep working to get Congress to reopen the government [and] restart vital services". "...

October 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm | News Desk

Conflicts, Contradictions and Confrontations

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan  We are passing through a series of conflicts, contradictions and confrontation internally, regionally and internationally. New government, new hopes, new rhetoric and new ways of squeezing revenues/taxes from the people and public servants at large are being implemented at every level. New cronyism, compromises, and concessions are being institutionalized throughout the country which has already shaken the confidence of people and potential businessmen alike. The current regime is consuming its every day like a pregnant woman, hoping for the best after nine months, perhaps. Many mega national institutions do not have any corporate leadership. Corporate cleansing is widespread, diminishing rays of hopes, ratio...

September 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm | News Desk

Thirsty South Asia – River rifts threaten “water wars”

By Nita Bhalla As the silver waters of the Kishanganga rush through this north Kashmir valley, Indian labourers are hard at work on a hydropower project that will dam the river just before it flows across one of the world’s most militarised borders into Pakistan. The loud hum of excavators echoes through the pine-covered valley, clearing masses of soil and boulders. The 330-MW dam shows India’s growing focus on hydropower but also highlights how water is a growing source of tension with downstream Pakistan, which depends on the snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture. Islamabad has complained to an international court that the dam in the Gurez valley, one of dozens planned by India, will a...

August 30, 2013 at 11:58 am | News Desk

The Radish Farmers

By: Tammy Swofford Georgetown University's Al-Waleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding hosted a delegation from Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party on April 4, 2012.  I merely made a mental note that a wild donkey does not bray when it has grass. After Egypt hastily scrambled a new constitutional document I wrote about the flaws and my concerns regarding a lack of critical thought within some of the amendments. Things seemed to be off to a rocky start. But I never imagined that President Mohamed Morsi would be a "transition guy" - like the man a woman dates on the heels of a bad relationship - the man who does not represent future permanency, but a mere dalliance. Perhaps my opinion will not be a popular one. But it is o...

August 30, 2013 at 11:40 am | News Desk

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