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Special Reports

2017 in review: Dirty politics trumped development economics this year

2017 started off looking bright, but then turned into a dark year for Pakistan’s economy. Usman Hayat The year 2017 started on a positive note. Economy was growing, inflation was low, the rupee was stable, CPEC was progressing, Pakistan’s credit rating had improved, and the stock market was racing. There was hope for better times. But then, things took a turn. Political chaos hit the economy, and hit it hard. The chaos gained momentum with the formation of the Panama case JIT in April and then culminated with the Islamabad sit-in by a faction of the religious right in November. The prolonged chaos changed the once hopeful sentiment. The economic narrative shifted to fiscal deficit, trade deficit, rising debt, setbacks for...

January 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm | News Desk

Rising prevalence of ATM fraud

THE recent ATM card skimming incident is a wake-up call for banks in Pakistan to ensure their customer’s data security against all possible threats. The central bank, on its part, has reminded banks of their responsibility to implement all regulations of Payments Card Security (PCS) that it introduced back in June 2016. Habib Bank Ltd, the bank whose depositors’ ATM cards were skimmed, has started compensating the affected customers. And the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is now investigating the matter. Customer data security is one of the biggest challenges that banks the world over face. And all central banks continue to strengthen regulations aimed at preventing a security breach. But Pakistani banks have now become ...

December 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm | News Desk

No change in Pakistan’s behaviour: Top US general in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS: The commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, US Army Gen. John Nicholson, said Thursday that Pakistan had not changed its behaviour since President Donald Trump announced his new policy for Afghanistan. When asked whether he had seen any increased cooperation from Pakistan with regards to eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, Nicholson said "No, I haven't seen any change yet in their behavior." He was speaking to the reporters on the margins of a gathering of NATO defence ministers in Brussels this week. "You've heard the public statements from President Trump, from (Defense Secretary James) Mattis, from (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford) from (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson, so we are engaging at the ve...

November 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm | News Desk

Cost of Brexit: The impact on business and the economy so far

Brexit negotiations have yet to begin but already the prospect of the UK splitting from the rest of the European Union has roiled the world of business, sending shockwaves through a slew of sectors. Thousands of jobs look set to move and while it’s impossible to attach a price tag to Brexit, industry bodies, consultants, economists and accountants have already published dozens of reports on the possible impact of new tariffs and a restriction on the movement of people. Here’s an overview of what we know. The broader economy  The most dramatic and salient economic impact of the Brexit decision came on the night of the decision itself. The pound suffered its biggest one-day fall against the dollar on record as currency trade...

April 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm | News Desk

 America’s Afghanistan adventure is a disaster

    By Atul Singh In 52 BC, Vercingetorix threw down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar. This marked the Roman victory over Gaul. Caesar went on to write Commentarii de Bello Gallico, while Vercingetorix was paraded as a prisoner in Rome and then strangled to death. Caesar claimed he had to invade Gaul to protect Rome. In reality, he was deep in debt. His overriding motive was to pay back his debt by conquering and plundering Gaul. Yet over time, Romans built roads and aqueducts in Gaul and other conquered lands. The civil law systems used by much of the world have their roots in Roman law. This article itself is written in the Roman alphabet. The United States is the Rome of our times. It fashioned the exist...

October 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm | News Desk

India turns to Israel for armed drones as Pakistan, China build fleets

NEW DELHI:  India has accelerated plans to buy drones from Israel that can be armed and can allow the military to carry out strikes overseas with less risk to personnel, defence sources have said. The news comes weeks after Pakistan reported using a home made drone in combat when it attacked militants on its soil, raising the prospect of a new front in the nuclear-armed neighbors' standoff over Kashmir that has twice spilled into war. The plan to acquire Israeli Herons was first conceived three years ago, but in January the military wrote to the government asking for speedy delivery, the sources said, as Pakistan and China develop their own drone warfare capabilities. India has already deployed Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (U...

September 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm | News Desk

Pakistan on track to become third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons

Farhan Bokhari High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Pakistan could have the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons after the US and Russia within a decade if it continues to build up to 20 nuclear warheads annually, a new report warns. The report, written by two respected US analysts and published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, concluded that Pakistan is outpacing India, with its neighbour and rival appearing to produce just five warheads annually. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this articl...

August 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm | News Desk

National Action Plan: An Evaluation

Miyamoto Musashi, a victorious Japanese swordsman wrote in his famous book ‘The Book of Five Rings’ that in strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. But these thoughts are taken into account by those who have vision, farsightedness and pain of their nation. The situation of our country is much different. Here a government comes to serve its vested interests and secure enough to be financially powerful through thieving the  national exchequer. None of the institutions are above the National Action Plan under its famous 20 points agenda unanimously taken on December 24, 2014 with the backing of 21st Constitutional Amendment. It was aimed at the executio...

August 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Zulqarnain Sewag

Pakistan: MQM Under Siege

Rana Banerji Not since Pakistan’s former Interior Minister, late Nasrullah Khan Babar’s, crackdown in mid-1995, has the Mohajir Muttahida Quami Movement – Altaf (MQM- A) been subjected to such a relentless siege by the Pakistan Rangers and the Sindh Police in Karachi. On March 11, 90, Azizabad, or `Nine Zero’, the home of Altaf Hussain in Federal B Area, the sanctified MQM headquarters, was raided by Pakistan Rangers. Several MQM-A party workers were arrested, arms and ammunition allegedly stolen from NATO containers seized, and five criminals wanted in the January 2011 murder of journalist Wali Khan Babbar were apprehended. The current operations in Karachi have been ongoing since August, 2014. The effort of the law...

August 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm | News Desk

Afgan-Pak: Why China is Playing Mediator

Fanny Ragot Recently, a new strategic dialogue was held between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership in the hill city of Murree, Pakistan. These negotiations were coordinated by China, illustrating Beijing’s recent commitment to support Kabul in pacifying its country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, elected in mid-2014, has been reaffirming his willingness to set the wheels of negotiations in motion. It implies engaging in negotiations with Pakistan to resolve the problem of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, across the Durand Line. While the dialogue is still new, China appears to be brokering these discussions. That Beijing is evidently involving itself in shaping the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan mor...

August 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbour’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of ...

August 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm | News Desk

Stabilising Balochistan

Hussain Nadim Born and raised as privileged individuals, it’s often the case that we end up raising our voice and concern for the rights of Muslims far away in Palestine or Myanmar, forgetting our very own neighborhoods that have been struggling for their rights for decades. Many of us who do even end up raising our voices, seldom do so beyond social media, doing more harm than good to the Baloch cause — a cause which is more about getting an equal playing field and less about Baloch independence. My experience with Balochistan has been different, and naturally my problem-identification and solution is also counter-intuitive. Successive governments in Pakistan, both democratic and military, have tried to reach middle ground to res...

August 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm | News Desk

Australian government looks to threat of terrorism

Looking from abroad at the statements of the Australian government regarding security, one would be forgiven for thinking the country had just suffered a 9/11 scale attack or was currently engaged in a war for its very survival. The country’s hard right Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has over the past six months employed increasingly shrill and fearful language to address the threat posed by terrorism and the Daesh in particular. The government’s increasing use of such loaded language began last year, in the months after the release of its first Federal Budget. The Government had fought its election campaign around the issues of illegal immigrants and the budget deficit, with the latter in particular being spoke of as a “debt ...

August 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm | News Desk

Vyshinsky In The Sudan

In 1940, Stalin sent his strongest political operative, Andrey Vyshinsky, to bring the Baltic States to heel under the boot of the Soviet state.  Vyshinsky arrived in Latvia on June 18th, installed  as Stalin’s special envoy.  The president of Latvia, Karlis Ulmanis, was forced to appoint a “people’s government”. Within days, the president and key members of his administration were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union.  A hastily scrambled election took place on July 14-15, with a single list of Soviet-picked candidates on the ballot.  The results gave 97.8 percent of the vote to the previously unknown and unheralded candidates. Vyshinsky preened for the press corps and expressed hope the newly elected “people’s...

August 15, 2015 at 11:46 am | Tammy Swofford

FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS – TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES

INTRODUCTION: Investigations and other related enforcement activities including off-site and on-site surveillance and inspections are potent weapons in the regulatory arsenal of law enforcement agencies globally. Investigations are made either for detailed examinations or to find out facts. Regulatory and law enforcement agencies can effectively accomplish their statutory mandate if they exercises their investigative authority prudently and professionally. Financial and white-collar crimes have increased tremendously in recent years. Investigators and law enforcement personnel need to be well-equipped in combating such crimes. An investigator shall have the ability to elicit facts from evidences and witnesses in a fair, impartial, law...

June 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Waseem Ahmed

RAW footprints in Pakistan

India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has long faced allegations of meddling in its neighbors' affairs. "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan", said Chuck Hage, the defense secretary (2013-2015), in a written speech at Oklahoma's Cameron University in 2011. Chuck Hagel had served on the US Senate Intelligence Committee before becoming the Pentagon chief. Since, Narendra Modi took over as the prime minister, RAW has stepped up its covert war against Pakistan. Prime Minister Modi appointed Ajit Doval, a well-known hawk, as his National Security Advisor. In the 1990s, Mr. Doval served as an undercover RAW agen...

June 16, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Sajid Gondal

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