Columns


Raoof Hasan

Strategic sustainability

The latest White House Report is a scathing indictment of Pakistan government as being “weak, divided and unable to deal with the problems plaguing the country”. As the civilian leadership continued to “face political, economic and security challenges”, the report goes on to say that there was “a public dialogue that focused on potential changes in the national government”.
Coming on the eve of the US Central Command (Centcom) Chief General James Mattis’ arrival in Pakistan, the


Ejaz Haider

Learning from Sakhi Sarwar

The Sakhi Sarwar shrine attack offers some interesting insights which must be heeded for developing a better understanding of the nature of extremist insurgency and terrorism facing Pakistan. Consider.
The first point relates to the nexus between the insurgency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and urban terrorism. Investigations reveal the attack was planned in Bajaur Agency. The plan included at least five people, including the three suicide bombers, though the number


The emerging strategy

The US Secretary of State has talked of an intensified diplomatic push to bring the Afghan conflict to an end through a ‘responsible reconciliation process led by the Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy’. She also implied that what were being earlier stated as pre-conditions could now be considered as the end conditions sought. She has also said quite unambiguously that Pakistan had to be part of the reconciliation process if it was to succeed. There is now a distinct


Agha Akbar

The Pakistan Crisis Board

A week and a bit have gone by since Pakistan’s exit from the World Cup and life moves on. Another series beckons; this time in the Caribbean, where other than the dreadful 2007 World Cup, Pakistan has almost always given a good account of itself but somehow without winning a rubber in any format of the game. Maybe this time round, with a squad in which the accent is on youth, Pakistan will rectify that.
In that encounter at Mohali, when the dream of a World Cup triumph seemed so


Imran Husain

Unanswered questions

The last three weeks have been horrendous in terms of travel for me. At the same time I’ve been exposed to three countries in the Far East that I hadn’t visited for three years. It’s always interesting to compare past images with current ones, especially if there is promise and growth.
In the last two and a half years, spending a majority of my time in Bangladesh and multiple visits to China have opened my eyes to the results of creative thinking. Of course, both countries


Nazir Naji

Challenge accepted

I don’t think any politician can match the number of challenges the President Asif Zardari has faced and is facing. The name of Bhutto sahib comes to mind but his personality and stature were such that his challengers dwarfed in the face of the power of his knowledge and astuteness. One responsive ploy from Bhutto sahib was enough to uproot his opposers whereas Asif Zardari was a nobody in politics. He was the husband of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and this is the extent to which he had


M J Akbar

Of gods and men

The first hint that divinity was involved in the battle of Mohali came when India won the toss. Till then, there were two opinions on the outcome. The rational analysis (which means, of course, only the British commentators) suggested that things seemed even: India can’t bowl, Pakistan can’t bat, and both can’t field, so clearly a great match was in prospect.
The sentimental view backed India. The true connoisseurs of cricket, the bookies, agreed: bookies earn international


Hassaan Ghazali

The Fukushima fumble

One doesn’t normally give in to bouts of mild panic but there is something unnerving about the events unfolding at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. As a global effort begins to contain the escalating ecological and economic crisis, we see that Pakistan isn’t the only country going through a rough patch in the first quarter of the year. We also see that the challenge of meeting energy needs lies at the heart of the issue and is one faced by both Pakistan and Japan.


Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

Heroes and villains

All people, communities and nations create or identify heroes in history. A hero is admired by the followers as a person of exceptional calibre and achievements. He is viewed as possessing superhuman qualities enabling him to make an outstanding contribution to history, the society and the nation. Such men or women of excellence and extra-ordinary capabilities can be in all walks of life.
The nations and states, especially post-colonial states, have a tendency to create heroes.


Rabia Ahmed

Of striking doctors

The last few days have been eventful, as always.
More people lost their lives at various shrines, and Mr Zardari signed off on re-opening the ZAB trial case.
The doctors’ strike in the Punjab initiated by the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) on the 1st of March 2011 extended to Out Patient Departments, and on the 27th, the doctors protested outside the Punjab Assembly where they were lathi charged, and some arrested, while several doctors lost their jobs since. Other


Mayank Austen Soofi

What’s in a name?

Now when it’s clear that the Libyan leader Col Muammar el-Gaddafi is not the stuff heroes are made of, how can you continue to call Lahore’s most iconic landmark Gaddafi Stadium? Yes, Shakespeare said that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But that could be wrong. A few months ago I was driving through Khichdipur locality in east Delhi and could not smell any khichdi.
What difference would it have made if the place were called Biryanipur? But trust


Dr Faisal Bari

Free and compulsory

Article 25A, inserted in the Constitution of the country via the 18th Amendment, gives 5-16 year olds the right to ‘free and compulsory’ education. And removal of concurrent list makes it the responsibility of the provinces to ensure the implementation of 25A in letter and spirit.
The ‘free’ education part of the phrase is quite clear. All children should have access to education free of cost. So no fee should be charged for this service and though there might be for-fee private


Kuldip Nayar

Not a Gordian knot

It is easy to slot Pakistan, but difficult to comprehend how it ticks. The West tags the country with terrorism and many others consider it a failed state. For India, it is a potential enemy which is still to punish the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on 26/11, nearly three years ago.
Yet the 170 million people want the same secure conditions which the inhabitants of other countries cherish. But they live in constant fear, the children praying for their father’s safety and wives


Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

For the love of the game

We’re usually not known as a patient or tolerant or gracious people. In both victory and defeat, we can never quite handle the outcome like responsible grown-ups. Indeed, our masses are wont to descend on the streets and main squares and break out into erratic and convulsive movements – which to them is the act of ‘Paa-ing bhangra’. As victors, we can never really come to terms with the fact that we have really won because you don’t expect the words ‘Pakistani’ and ‘champion’ to be


Malik Tariq Ali

Of heroes past: Malik Barkat Ali in Pakistan Movement

It is important to remember the people who have paid sacrifices for this country. This stands true particularly of the people who contributed in the forming, struggle and achievement of this country. Malik Barkat Ali is also a name among those. He rendered valuable services during the Pakistan Movement. Malik Barkat Ali, born in 1886, belonged to a middle class Kakezai family from Lahore. He could not live to see the emergence of Pakistan as a sovereign state for which he had


Dr Mubarak Ali

Public spaces no more

A great cultural loss
In a society where citizens have public places available to them, they can assemble, meet and gather together to discuss and debate socio-political topics in a free atmosphere. If there are restrictions on their meetings in public places, it shows the fear of rulers who do not want to provide any opportunity to people to meet and express their opinions on important issues. People enjoy such freedoms only in a democratic system as these liberties are an


Umair Javed

Alien or inherent?

‘Corruption’ as an endemic code of practice
There’s a certain degree of irony that the most consistent characteristic associated with the generally instable political climate in this country is ‘corrupt’. It remains the most overt, and popular, driver of change and transformation in Pakistan – the cause of at least 5 dissolutions and coups in our past. What has concerned me the most in the endless discussions (read: rambling) on corruption is the way that it has been treated as

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