Author Archives: Picasso


Governance woes

We, the long suffering masses are regularly offered reassurances by our very caring government that it has “taken notice” of our sufferings: “President Zardari takes notice of fertilizer shortage” at the critical


Why we love to hate the US

If one were to put a date on which terrorism in it’s present form came to Pakistan, it would be the 30th October, 2006. On that date, the CIA operated unmanned predator


Silver lining to a dark cloud?

Believe it or not, if you look closely enough, there is a silver lining to the otherwise dark cloud of the Raymond Davis affair. To begin with, it vividly exposed the incompetence and clumsiness which seems to have become the hall mark of US foreign policy post 9/11. US State Department Spokesman Philip Crawley was the first off the starting blocks with a globally aired public statement that the name of the perpetrator of a double murder was not Raymond Davis. Whatever Mr. Crawley’s


New Provinces in the Punjab

Dr. Farooq Sattar, the Deputy Convenor of the MQM, stated in a media briefing on Feb. 26, 2011 that MQM will support new provinces, especially in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “in accordance with the aspirations of the people”. The Prime Minister also declared in the National Assembly on Feb. 22, 2011 that his Government. was open to creating new provinces in areas that now constitute Punjab. With two of the biggest mainstream political parties in Pakistan lending their support, the


Bad governance is bad politics

It is widely believed that our problems in Pakistan have less to do with lack of resources and much more with poor governance. To adapt a quote from Shakespeare, “Our problems dear Gertrude (read ‘Gilani’) are not because of our stars but because we are dishonest”. We squander public money, we stuff government departments which have the misfortune to be run by us with undeserving cronies, we create fiefdoms and we exhibit total contempt for regulations, merit and the public


Hostages to the past

The urge to write on relations between Pakistan and India came after watching coverage of the visit of Chinese Premier Wan Jiabao to Pakistan this week. The dignitary’s visit to Islamabad had been preceded by a State visit to India. While covering the event, the State electronic media declared repeatedly that the visit was coming on the back of a visit to India which was a failure. No one felt the need to substantiate this judgment, which was delivered with unthinking certainty by the


WikiLeaks and Bob Woolmer

Very soon after WikiLeaks went public with thousands of classified cables, several of which pertained to Pakistan, the Defense Committee of the Cabinet met in Islamabad and termed “the release of WikiLeaks diplomatic cables an attempt to harm the image of the country”. The meeting termed the leaks false and unauthentic and an attempt to malign the political and military leadership of the country.
One may be forgiven for asking how actual diplomatic cables exchanged by US missions


The Great Plane Robbery

One of Pakistan’s top corporate magnates stated in a private conversation that the challenges confronting Pakistan’s economy were by far less serious than those which Europe faced. When asked to elaborate, he said he would give just one example from Europe, its aging population. Analysts at the International Monetary Fund projected in 2006 that by the year 2050, Europe will have one retiree for every two workers. In the current year, the 55 to 64 year old age bracket is estimated to


A rubbish way to handle garbage

Who can possibly resist an opportunity to exchange rags for riches? Or garbage for gold? Apparently, the Punjab government can, since it has proved to be immune to such temptations. How else can you explain the inaction of various city governments as well as the Urban Development Unit of the Planning and Development Department in the face of offers by private sector entrepreneurs to not only remove waste from their landfill sites but also to pay them for it.
The opportunity has

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