Nazir Naji

Never allowed to flourish

It seems as if the leadership of Pakistan is dilapidating fast and furiously. Its destruction started way back in 1958, when the Armed forces, according to a well-laid plan, decimated the elected constitutional institutions of Pakistan and removed the people who had the will and ability to run these institutions from the political scene. Most of these capable politicians had to face decade-long bans, 10 years being the political life of any shrewd and seasoned politician. As envisaged

Dr Faisal Bari

Striking a balance

Mian Nawaz Sharif, in a recent statement, suggested that one way oaf getting out of the current economic problems is through balancing the federal budget. The deficits we are running are causing crowding out, inflationary pressures, and putting excessive pressure on the financial and fiscal system of the state. The deficits are also forcing the State Bank to print too much money, at the behest of the government, and in the process the integrity/autonomy of the State Bank, as an

Kuldip Nayar

Crisis of confidence

Governance is not a matter of wishful thinking. Nor is it some political trickery. For this, a clean, transparent administration is something minimum. By providing more funds for different fields, as the budget has done, does not automatically ensure improvement, particularly when the aam admi has been consciously left out. If past experience is any guide, the bigger the expenditure the greater is the scope for siphoning off money. A few scams, which have come to light, show how large

Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

Drifting towards anarchy?

Another high profile political personality belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has fallen victim to a violent attack on March 2 by hard line Islamic activists who targeted him for publicly dissenting from their select religious beliefs and notions. The underlying motive is not Islamic but an ambition to dominate the state and society by creating fear that nobody is beyond their destructive reach. The escalating terrorism also exposes the incapacity of the state

Shirin Sadeghi

Not the better-off half

This week another International Women’s Day has come and gone and one wonders why this day is necessary at all. And why there’s no International Men’s Day.
So the answers rather spill out on their own because the world finds itself needing to set aside one day a year, every year, for those who are marginalised in society. Not that the commemorations get terribly specific – there is, after all, no International Day for poor children whose mothers didn’t get an education because

Mayank Austen Soofi

Crossing the divide

Last Sunday afternoon I was with my most beloved Pakistani. I accompanied Urdu poet Zehra Nigah, 75, to Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Make no mistakes. I’m not an aspiring poet and Urdu is largely inaccessible to me but it was a learning experience for this Indian to spend a few hours with this visitor from across the border.
Zehra Apa, who lives in Karachi, was in Delhi to attend a mushaira, a poetry session. Taking a break from meeting old acquaintances at her daily hangout in

Hassaan Ghazali

Who’s watching who?

Pakistanis have a very curious way of expressing themselves when things don’t go their way. All it takes is for the notion of being duped or offended to sink in and a good bit of car smashing and tire burning is just a mob away. Often getting distracted with trifling matters escalated by the media, the decisions that are real threats to the public interest mostly seem to go by unnoticed – until it is too late. If you have never been an irate investor lobbing rocks at the stock

Leaps of logic

People seem to be losing either their memory or their minds nowadays. A glimpse of the news and the rhetoric generated over the past three months makes it appear that the general public hasn’t come to realise the great leaps of logic being played against them.
Take, for example, the detention of four Germen tourists at the hands of the Garhi Shahu Police in Lahore just last week. They were on their way, it appears, to look at some carpets – a respectable tourist activity – when

Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Cricket schmiket

Disclaimer: I apologise in advance to all my friends, family members and anyone I’ve been remotely associated with, ever, in my entire life. I mean no one harm and the last thing I want to do is to endanger the lives of those I care about. Having said that, I must make it clear that I cannot hold back my feelings on this subject any longer. I understand the risks of committing blasphemy in Pakistan, but my convictions are far too important to put aside simply out of fear for someone

Umair Javed

Arid land?

Sometime during the late sixties, Asif Bhatti was born in the small town of Hafizabad in central Punjab. As the son of a small landholding peasant, bred by the gracious waters of the Chenab, he was no different from countless others conceived and given birth to in the same month, in the same area. All of these children would, in time, represent Punjab the same way their fathers and grandfathers had done before them.
Incidentally though, this was not the Punjab of their fathers or

Dr Mubarak Ali

In retrospect

Historians periodise history on the basis of their interpretation and perspective to understand its importance. Compared to their own time, they refer to the past periods sometime as either dark or enlightened .Such periodisation can also be challenged by the coming generations of historians who look to the same past with quite different outlook and interpret it according to their own time frame. This dialectic keeps history moving from one point of view to other,
In the case of

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

Kamran Rehmat

Who’s afraid of Afridi?

Once upon a time he gave us Cup-brimming joy (T20 in the old Blighty) but it is the short wave that leaves us with a deep void.
Few however, can deny it is his devil-may-care mien that enthralls us all – from America to Antarctica (okay, the second one is a slight exaggeration but isn’t that the farthest he wants to hit every ball?).
Sahibzada Shahid Khan Afridi, in my considered opinion, is the very personification of Pakistan today – impulsive, restless, ambitious and

Waqqas Mir

Hoping for hope

Language by its very nature is meant to serve purposes far more profound and even sinister than communication. This remains particularly true for countries as beguiling as Pakistan. In theory, this is our home. But the word ‘home’, and one owned collectively, often connotes something where there is a semblance of security-or at least perceived security. What we often cannot say to the rest of the world, we can often say or talk about at home. That, sadly, is a luxury that is seemingly

Humayun Gauhar

The ‘Dogs of War’

In late January an American citizen, ‘Raymond Davis’, 36, murdered two Pakistani motorcyclists in Lahore with his pistol “with pinpoint accuracy through his car windshield.” All hell broke loose: America wanted him back on grounds of diplomatic immunity, from the US president and the secretary of state down. (They were obviously deliberately wrongly briefed by the US Deep State). The unspoken tradition is to disown arrested spies. Then suddenly the US went ‘honest’ and officially

Mubasher Lucman

Send Raymond back home

When Raymond Davis killed two young boys, all hell broke loose. I was the first one who got hold of a video inside the police station being made by none other but Raymond himself and I showed it on television in my show. Later this was shown on other channels and quoted worldwide by many leading publications. A lot has been said about Raymond, his back ground, the CIA operatives in Pakistan and possible subversive activities by them. What has not been touched upon is the fact that not

Sarmad Bashir

Embracing turncoats

With the PML(N) facing trouble in reshaping the Punjab Cabinet, the strain of embracing the turncoats must be getting too much to bear for Mian Nawaz Sharif. Maybe he understands that he has been forced to take a decision that goes against his moral fibre but he is yet unaware of the consequences of the political blunder he has committed.
By choosing the course of patronising horsetrading, the PML(N) leadership has not only violated the Charter of Democracy, which binds the two