Columns articles


Ejaz Haider

Toasting wisdom

The Supreme Court’s Oct 21 decision to return Article 175-A to parliament for review is good news. The article amended the procedure for appointing superior court judges.
But while the Chief Justice of Pakistan said in his remarks that the article “harmed judiciary’s freedom”, the SC chose not to strike it down. This speaks of a mature approach and must be lauded, given the fraught relations between the executive and the judiciary. Just days ago the two sides came close to the


Imran Husain

Bangladesh shining

In the recent past, the Bangladesh superior courts have taken many decisions to remove imbalances that can change the country’s culture. One of these was the restoration of the secular status of the country. Now, in confirmation, the government has ordered the reprinting of the country’s constitution to restore secularism as a “fundamental state principle”.
The prime minister however told a cabinet meeting that the country would remain an Islamic state and did not ban political


Agha Akbar

Pay up and play the game

Well, a third ‘do more’ has been foisted on us. And quite unlike the previous two – a political/military ‘do more’ and the more recent cricketing one, courtesy an abrasive and clueless PCB chairman Ijaz Butt – this economic/taxation ‘do more’ may be even more intrusive and insulting as the earlier two, but it is something that may actually be a long-range blessing in disguise.
Weaned on foreign aid, and addicted to doles and handouts, our ruling elite and the privileged rentier


Nazir Naji

Facing the truth

Our rulers have a feudal mindset. It is this very mindset that the Pakistani public and foreign powers have to face when dealing with the Pakistani establishment. This mindset can neither comprehend internal matters nor fully understand foreign issues. This is why it is always in a state of conflict with the Pakistani people, treating them like subjects of a fiefdom, belying the realities of the 21st century. The people want change; the ruling class is not ready to deliver change.


M J Akbar

The fire this time

Small boys often dream of becoming either a fireman or a prime minister. But no child should be so precocious as to fantasise about becoming both at the same time.
The problem about becoming a heroic firefighter is that there must be a fire to fight. There is, moreover, an invisible line between the temptation to become a hero, and the immediate necessity of dousing the fire. The hero saves the child on the burning deck with a last-minute intervention. The art of public


Hassaan Ghazali

Going green, seeing red

The government’s claims of going green are amusing to hear, especially when one considers the poor track record of Pakistan’s environmental stewardship. We may sometimes notice the public walks, banners and the odd speech from public representatives, but most of the lip-service paid does little to stop the pollution, wastage and mismanagement of resources. Although some of us have the luxury of being insulated from environmental damage, our collective amusement quickly turns to alarm


Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

The Messiah Complex

Pakistani generals are never out of the news. This includes both serving and retired ones. They draw attention, whether it is a security or terrorism policy issue or it is a purely civilian domestic political crisis. Three sets of factors help them to attract attention. The civilian political leaders have not been able to create a consensus-based viable civilian alternative. Pakistan’s political class is so polarized that they create the crisis of legitimacy for each other and they


Shirin Sadeghi

Up in a capsule

In the early hours of October 13, one by one the Chilean miners were rescued from their pit of despair. The world watched as a spectacular high-tech pod was lowered into the ground to lift these 33 men up to the life they thought they’d never see again.
It was bittersweet to see how innovative governments could be if they wish: sweet because of the effort organized to help innocent civilians, bitter because it is so rare.
And bitter because this particular copper and gold


Mayank Austen Soofi

Want Bihar?

There’s a saying in Hindi that everyone salutes a rising sun. Ugte sooraj ko sab salaam karte hain. Biharis are different. On the three-day-long Chhatt Puja, a Hindu festival that begins next month, Delhi’s Bihari community will gather on the banks of the polluted Yamuna, wade into the river and pray to the setting sun instead.
This week the eastern state of Bihar starts the election process for its legislative assembly. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a soft-spoken pro-BJP


Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Article 58 to be

Disclaimer: The views and ideas expressed herein contain no relevance to real life, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Or is it…?
You can’t go around misusing judicial authority. It’s just one of those things that you don’t do. For example, telling your wife that she’s getting fatter just because you’re too cheap to take her out for a nice dinner just isn’t cricket. I mean, the power invested in man to judge the curvature of the female form


Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Article 58 to be

Disclaimer: The views and ideas expressed herein contain no relevance to real life, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Or is it…?
You can’t go around misusing judicial authority. It’s just one of those things that you don’t do. For example, telling your wife that she’s getting fatter just because you’re too cheap to take her out for a nice dinner just isn’t cricket. I mean, the power invested in man to judge the curvature of the female form


Imran Khan

Yearning for the DMS

Directly Moulded Sole (DMS) boots are heavy and rugged shoes that are designed for use by soldiers. Since independence, the offices of our elected leaders have reverberated regularly with the thumping of these boots. Each time when we are under these heavy soles, we are told that as Pakistanis, we are not evolved enough to deserve the freedom of deciding our own destiny. Back in 1958, our first elected President; Mr. Iskander Mirza, after inviting our first Martial Law, legitimized it


M J Akbar

China makes Chinese; Indians make India

When does a small town grow up and become a big boy? Does size matter? Geography is a peculiar addiction. Fat makes you large, possibly very large, but it does not make you strong. Some nations have a quarter of their population herded in slums extending in myriad directions because they have not created the capacity to build more cities. America’s strength does not lie in New York and Washington but in the fact that Microsoft can be born in Seattle and the world’s software industry


Dr Mubarak Ali

Oppressed no more

Learning is an arduous and difficult but thrilling and fascinating process. That’s why individuals and nations are reluctant to learn something new. If someone wants to learn, he has to change his mindset and be ready to recognize those traditions and values which are contrary to his beliefs. It is the lesson of history that learning not only opens new venues of knowledge but also helps one explore a hidden and unknown world and eliminates outdated and obsolete ideas. It inspires one


Waqqas Mir

Judge, jury and executioner

Last week in this space I wrote that the lending of permanence to the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) through the Competition Act, 2010 (‘the Act’) is a welcome development. I argued that ‘intra-provincial’ trade cannot be covered by CCP and the provinces need to wake up to this fact. And even though pressing social issues such as the Brad-Angelina story deserve my attention this week, I somehow feel compelled to say more about competition law.
All that sounds good in


Kamran Rehmat

Sounds familiar?

Munni Badnaam Hui is all the rage across the border these days. One of the easier barometers to judge a single’s popularity – regardless of how connoisseurs define and measure its critical import – is to determine its radio gaga.
Munni has just entered the list of top 20 most frequently played songs on radio in India!
However, there’s the munna matter of Munni’s origin – or, as one Indian friend sportingly acknowledged, “inspiration”. The chartbuster has been lifted from a


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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