Editorials articles

Raymond who?

And now, some unsolicited advice for the Punjab chief minister: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Raymond Davis issue had all but fizzled out. In fact, after the great sensory experience that an India-Pakistan match is, the public will have to strain its memory slightly to remember the incident. But Mr Shahbaz Sharif still thought it best to claim, un-prodded, that he was in no way involved in the deal that had resulted in the CIA contractor’s release.
Well, if you mess with a

Gilani at Mohali

While both Zia and Musharraf wangled invitations for Pak-India matches, it is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has taken the initiative to invite his Pakistani counterpart to the event. This inspires hopes that this visit would be more fruitful than the earlier ones. Other positive signals emanating from India include the sidelining of a pathetically anti-Pakistan M K Narayanan who was holding the key post of security adviser. The first structured meeting between the

Just a match

The stage is set for yet another wonderful game of cricket, hopefully. The cricketing giant, India, and cricketing nemesis for many, Pakistan, are poised to play to their strengths; that is to say if they don’t first play to their emotions. Some ardent fans, besides cheering up the teams, have termed it the mother of all matches. This being just a match is sure to end up with only one team victorious.
Cricket is what the people of this region breathe in, it’s more than just

Baby steps

The two-day meeting at the level of the interior secretaries of Pakistan and India was preceded by two goodwill gestures on the part of Pakistan. On Sunday President Zardari, responding to a humanitarian call from an Indian Supreme Court bench remitted the sentence of Indian prisoner Gopal Das. The same day Pakistan Interior Secretary visiting the Golden Temple announced that the Pakistan government had cancelled a Gurdawara land acquisition deal in Lahore in accordance with the

Of demons past

To everything there is a season. But the People’s Party has seen fit to act upon the execution of its founding father and most charismatic leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. President Zardari, by exercising his power under Article 186 of the Constitution to send a law question for consideration of the Supreme Court, has resurrected the most controversial execution trial in Pakistani history.
The timing of this move is questionable; critics question why the president is pursuing with

Interest rate

No hike, yet again
The central bank screams it is no time to get complacent but the federal finance machine would certainly be all smiles right about now. Because that same SBP, which regulates the money supply in the country has decided, again, not to hike the interest rates. The reason: its analysts feel the government has been able to, more or less, keep inflation in check.
This mildly positive assessment should not be interpreted as a victory lest the government make

Seeking advice on water?

Try an expert for once
The politics of patronage might not be absolutely unknown in countries with established democracies but nowhere is it more rampant in states where the process of democracy has been truncated several times over. This patronage is even more pronounced in the anti-establishment political parties who feel that since they don’t have the sort of money the other side has to throw at every problem, providing green pastures to those who have stuck on is the only

Meetings at Mohali

They say one should never talk about religion and politics in polite company. Well, this conventional wisdom will be violated in the Mohali pavilion on the 30th where the Pakistani and Indian premiers will talk about both: the South Asian religion of cricket and the politics of Indo-Pak diplomacy, a new spell of what they call ‘cricket diplomacy’. It is an oxymoronic label of sorts because cricket, especially India vs Pakistan, is nothing short of war and diplomacy is supposed to be

Year of Education

In his address to the joint session of the Parliament, President Zardari declared 2011 as the Year of Education. If the government has any important initiative up its sleeve for the year, it has yet not divulged it to the public. During a briefing early this month on the educational reality in Sindh, the President was informed that of the 11 million school-age children only 6.4 million were enrolled. Twenty per cent of the schools had no building at all, 45 per cent comprised only one

Resuming talks

Pakistan and India are initiating talks later this month. The future of the talks would depend much on the attitude of the permanent establishments in the two countries. An earlier attempt to revive the talks, made in July 2009 at Sharm Al Sheikh, was foiled by the security establishment in India in collaboration with a chauvinistic section of the Indian media. As indicated by the WikiLeaks, while Manmohan Singh was keen to resume the talks, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan

On awards

States need heroes. They serve the state in more ways than the acts that made them heroes in the first place. Since they are human beings, they manifest in physical form the abstract, but oft repeated concepts of what the state wants from its citizens. The state will also simply create a hero if there isn’t one around. In our meandering path as a nation, many undeserving individuals have been given the hero treatment, deified even. And many who have contributed vastly have been

Double delight

Pakistan cricket team brought cheer to a public distressed by suicide attacks and targeted killings and racked by acrimonious talk shows on TV networks. The bluster of the team into the semifinals was taken by many as a Pakistan Day gift to the nation. People all over the country forgot their worries for the time being and spontaneously erupted into joy as the team won a 10-wicket victory over the West Indies. Thousands came out into the streets in many cities all over the country.

Too high?

Hard times, followed by more of the same. In a country where the poor make up most of the population, survival gets even tougher with every fluctuation in the economy, however small. Other lingering effects of the floods aside, the public is finding it difficult to even be able to pay for basic food items. The problem, to borrow the theory from the economists, isn’t with the supply side – we have enough of food to go around – but with the demand side, with the poor and middle classes

Lahore Resolution

The All India Muslim League under Jinnah had just decided to launch a struggle for a separate country when the Lahore Resolution was passed in 1940. Most vital matters including the name of the new country were yet to be settled. There was, however, unanimity among the Leaguers who gathered at the Minto Park on one issue. The new country was to be a federation with maximum rights for the provinces. The idea finds place in the Lahore Resolution written in indelible words carved out of


Considering the existential threat that terrorism is, it rightly featu4es prominently in any major address by the government, as it did in the President’s speech to a joint session of parliament the other day. But terrorism is not the only problem facing the country, only the biggest. For second on the list is our floundering economy. It is a problem which does not quite have the same in-your-face immediacy as terrorism. But affects the teeming millions day in and day out with a

The address

Two sword’s length. That is the distance between the treasury and opposition benches in a particular chamber of legislation; a safety valve, in case the debate gets too passionate and the honourable members decide to cut each other open. Though this stipulated distance is a cherished relic of a time gone by, the disruptive passions, the skullduggery and catcalls remain. No, this particular house in question is not that of one of the turbulent new democracies in Latin American or Asia.

The last word?

In its detailed judgment, the Supreme Court has held that the Judicial Commission (JC) is the sole body to judge the technical expertise of a nominee for appointment to higher judiciary as it comprised people having spent decades in the legal field. The judgment does not rule out the need for the Parliamentary Committee (PC) which can object to a nominee on account of disabilities unrelated to his judicial calibre. In the recent case, whatever objections were made by the PC to the