Author Archives: Humayun Gauhar


Humayun Gauhar

The course of history

Assassinations such as Benazir Bhutto’s alter the course of history. Because it is her third death anniversary doesn’t necessarily explain the sudden surge to find her killers. While some within her party have been questioning why their own government has been dragging its feet, the administration’s troubles have suddenly multiplied too. Is this an attempt to divert public attention? Or are they serious? Given what we are, a vassal state, a perception fortified by WikiLeaks, it’s hard


Humayun Gauhar

Countering the nexus of evil

While rendering enormous sacrifices and suffering extensive collateral damage, Pakistan’s “war against terrorism” cannot shrug off the damaging international perception of not being fully committed and dragging our feet about eliminating Al-Qaeda safe havens involving both counter-insurgency (COIN) and counter-terrorism (CT). While COIN operations have been quite successful, our CT operations have almost totally failed because these are largely ad-hoc and have not been conducted by a


Humayun Gauhar

No lessons; no solutions

December 17 has just come and gone again, so let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a young slave boy. His masters decided to get him married to a young girl, though she was not the one he would have chosen. Once married, they would be set free. The girl was the one who had fought for freedom more than the young man. But though she was very intelligent and very beautiful, inside and outside, the young man did not think so, for where he came from beauty meant fair


Humayun Gauhar

Ship of fools

Sometimes there’s talk of devaluation. Other times there’s talk of raising rates. One would thank God for someone like Hafeez Shaikh in this sinking ship of utter fools, but is anyone listening to him? Equally to the point, is he listening to us?
Currency is devalued to raise exports, but only if exports increase by more than a factor of one? Devaluation makes sense only if imports come down provided a country’s imports are price elastic. Our main imports are totally price


Humayun Gauhar

‘Zust imazine’

More often than not, I am telling you about what we have gained as a nation, if you can call us one. It’s about time that we looked at what we have lost: half our beautiful country not least at the hands of a political party that millions of our compatriots still dote on, as if some kind of a curse has descended upon us. It is a curse that we have brought upon ourselves and cannot blame anyone for. The Bengalis are a wonderful people who strived more for the creation of Pakistan than


Humayun Gauhar

Interesting times

We certainly live in interesting times, but I regard it as a great blessing rather than a curse, as our Chinese friends would have it. We have seen the world change repeatedly from the end of World War II to the current ongoing economic diminishment of America and Europe, and so much in between that I would run out of space.
Essentially, the rousing plank of world wars is the ideology that exploits the lowest common denominator to get public support – fascism versus democracy,


Humayun Gauhar

Banquo’s ghost

Unlike Bengal, there are only a few ways to get into Afghanistan, but like Bengal, there is no way to get out, except with one’s tail between one’s legs. Ask the British. Ask the Russians. Surprise is, the British have gone in again to ingratiate themselves with their American masters and also because they still suffer from Imperial delusions, even though they are on the brink of a collapsed economy. Some people love getting a beating.
America’s plan for Afghanistan should have


Humayun Gauhar

Indian elephant, Chinese tiger

What a silly storm in a small Indian teacup. We should be looking at the Chinese teacup. Obama goes to India to get something, flatters to sell by saying what the Indians wish to hear and the sated go ape. The wretched of the earth could not give a fig. They want food. Flattery is marketing, my dear compatriots, it’s all marketing. Those who fall for it soon come a cropper. There’s no gainsaying that the Indians fell for such crass K&F – kowtowing and flattery.
Obama went to


Humayun Gauhar

Predator State

Pakistan is not a failed state. It is a predator state. All states are predators, of two kinds: those that prey on other states and those that allow themselves to be preyed upon. The former enrich themselves by plundering smaller states, become developed and are thus able to look after their own people. The latter only have their own people to prey upon, also in two categories: the predator class and the prey, the people. Pakistan and most Third World countries fall in this


Humayun Gauhar

Rascals, rogues, freebooters

Winston Churchill was against ‘granting’ independence to India and Pakistan just yet. They are not ready for it, he argued. On the eve of independence, he wrote:
“Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all leaders will be of low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India and Pakistan will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be


Humayun Gauhar

After the day of judgment

I read in an article the other day that Robert Hutchins said: “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Apathy, indifference, and undernourishment we have in abundance. I would add exploitation and predation.
What we in Pakistan call “the democratic process” has indeed been ambushed many times, both by civilians masquerading as democrats and generals masquerading as


Humayun Gauhar

Deep State

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this parliament must complete its natural life, no matter how bad it gets, as must the provincial assemblies. This is an absolute imperative. Else we won’t grow and mature politically and the system will not evolve. If any changes have to be made, they must only come constitutionally. There are three ways to do this:
1. The National Assembly can elect a new prime minister if the incumbent feels that he has lost the confidence of the

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