Author Archives: Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

Dialogue in Washington

The Pak-US strategic dialogue is being held at a time when relations between the two countries are by no means at their best. What is more both sides are putting up demands, the fulfillment of which would be possible only if both are willing to ignore domestic pressures. Washington is being asked to commit a further $2 billion in a military package by Pakistan when public mood in US has soured on Islamabad. What is more, President Obama is fighting an uphill battle that he is likely

Karachi bloodbath

The bloodbath in Karachi has continued almost uninterrupted for more than two years of the present administration. Yesterday was no exception, with violence in the city’s shipyard, leaving at least 13 dead. To many, it is the outcome of a war of turfs between the three partners of the ruling coalition. There is a perception that instead of bringing the land mafia, drug mafia and criminal gangs of all sorts under control, coalition partners are in fact relying on them to advance their

End of a crisis?

After Prime Minister Gilani’s speech and the adjournment by the Supreme Court of the related suo motu case, the crisis caused by the standoff between the two sides is hopefully defused. The story about the dismissal of the Supreme Court judges, avowedly through an impending executive order, was bound to create a countrywide sensation leading to a standoff between the government and judiciary and adding to the sense of uncertainty which is as much harmful for the country’s economy as

Pak-US dialogue

Every round of Pak-US dialogue, the third one beginning next week, provides an occasion to each side to squeeze out as many concessions from the other as it can. This requires a lot of haggling and recourse to direct and indirect pressures. As the talks proceed, negotiators from both sides have to keep an eye on public opinion at home where numerous lobbies and interest groups keep making all sorts of noises. The announcements subsequently made comprise of truths, half-truths and


Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

Neighbour to the North

What the people of Afghanistan deserve after three decades of foreign aggression, civil war and terrorism is peace so that they can reconstruct their country which has been destroyed many times over. What they require from other countries in the region, irrespective of their systems and mutual rivalries, is assistance to realise their dream. Naturally, the Afghans would welcome help coming from any quarter in overcoming terrorism and in the subsequent nation building. <br

Tackling militancy

The report about the arrest from South Punjab of seven militants who wanted to blow up the Prime Minister’s camp office in Multan once again underlines the urgent need to cleanse the region from terrorists. The issue has come under focus several times during the current year. It would be too dangerous to ignore the issue on account of the rivalry between the federal and Punjab governments. As things stand, this is what one sees happening. The matter of Punjabi Taliban was raised by

Lessons from Turkey

Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan is in Pakistan where he has expressed full support for post-flood reconstruction. One wonders if Prime Minister Gilani ever asked his Turkish counterpart how his government managed to make some of the outstanding achievements in economy, controlled terrorism, balanced powerful institutions, and turned Turkey into a major player in the Middle East. Since 2003, when Erdogan became Turkey’s Prime Minister, GDP per capita has climbed by 150 percent leading

Land reforms

While the MQM has been accused by its opponents of using the issue of land reforms as a gimmick, it goes to its credit to have raised a highly relevant question that major political parties continue to ignore. In a way, it is easier for the MQM to take up cudgels in support of land reforms as it is an urban party not in need of support from the powerful landlord lobby. One wonders why the MQM which has been a part of almost every administration since 1988 took so long to raise an

Bad governance

A report in this paper on the rise of domestic debt by Rs 813 billion brings under focus just one aspect of the multifaceted bad governance that characterises both the federal and provincial administrations. It should be alarming that in the first two months of the current fiscal year, domestic debt expanded by Rs 211 billion bringing the total to a whopping Rs 4.863 trillion. This is despite the warnings by the SBP of the roll-over risks involved, and by private bankers that this

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