Comment

A house in disarray

Biases and knee-jerk responses are known to tear down the wall of any reasonable argument. But not without a measure of damage. The standard quote of both opposition and treasury members on the floods is the US is giving a disproportionately low amount of aid in the face of one of the worst natural disasters that Pakistan has faced in its history. Ditto for analysts, columnists and TV anchors. But it sure must rankle when the Americans respond by asking a simple question: why should


M J Akbar

Traders, not partners

How many words will India get in Barack Obama’s autobiography, Faith, Hope and Miscarriage, due in 2013?
Going by the law of proportions, it should be between 100 to 104 if the complete book is around 200,000 words, roughly the length expected in a multi-million dollar advance. According to a fine story by my friend K.P. Nayar in the Telegraph, George Bush, Dr Manmohan Singh’s “best friend”, devoted exactly 208 words out of 195,456 to India in his memoir Decision Points. “Even

The common man

This letter is with reference to the column “A sugary mess”. I think the author makes a very good point that it is the nameless, faceless ‘common man’ who is going to suffer the most due to the economic mess that the government has created. The unprecedented price hike in food items is going to hit the middle classes and lower classes really hard. The inequity of the current government’s proposed reforms infuriates me to no end as they are serving to widen the rich-poor gap by leaps

Bloody face of revenge

The recent bloody attack by terrorists in Karachi sends a stark message that the attackers do not believe in the PPP slogan i.e. democracy is the best revenge. Rather they believe in tit for tat. The scores of drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan that result in the deaths of not only targeted men but also innocent women and children in large numbers have incited the wrath of terrorists to create mini earthquakes of 1.3 richter scale by bombs of 1000 Kg detonated on the surface of

Reform yourself, not GST!

It is the government that needs to be reformed first. It ought to decimate corruption, mis-governance, incompetence, grandiosity, grandeur, billion of dollars leakages within its ranks from top slot to the bottom most and its putrefied coalition mafia of opportunists, target killers, bathkhors, enemies of seventeen crore poor, anti Kalabagh Dam, pro IPPs, Rental units, promoting joint clout of PPP-, MQM, ANP, MMA.
They must pay back to the nation hundred of billion dollars

The sacrifice of sanitation

Eid-ul-Azha is coming and this means that every city in the country is going to turn into a slaughterhouse with animal parts gracing every corner of every street and the faithful literally painting the town red.
This animal sacrifice is indeed a Muslim ritual which should be observed but the same code that compels us to make this sacrifice also makes the exhortation of cleanliness and being a good citizen. It is each individual’s responsibility to dispose off the waste of their

Pakistan under siege

The terrorist attack on Karachi is condemnable and we must protest against it vehemently. Our nation was very slow to wake up to the realisation that the tribal areas are not that far from what we consider ‘mainstream’ Pakistan and urban Pakistan cannot live in its bubble while KP and FATA suffer from the ignominious activities of the terrorists. These networks are encroaching further into Pakistan and their reach is ever-expansive. Uprooting terrorism not only requires operations in


M J Akbar

Traders, not partners

How many words will India get in Barack Obama’s autobiography, Faith, Hope and Miscarriage, due in 2013?
Going by the law of proportions, it should be between 100 to 104 if the complete book is around 200,000 words, roughly the length expected in a multi-million dollar advance. According to a fine story by my friend K.P. Nayar in the Telegraph, George Bush, Dr Manmohan Singh’s “best friend”, devoted exactly 208 words out of 195,456 to India in his memoir Decision Points. “Even


Sarmad Bashir

Bad governance

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has a few peculiarities. One is, he has a penchant for good governance; another is, he doesn’t know how to go about it. Speaking at a function in Lahore the other day, he launched a diatribe against the PPP government for patronising corruption and doing nothing to mitigate the sufferings of the masses caused by the spiralling price hike. Indulging in intense finger-pointing at President Asif Zardari and expressing his concern over the way the


Humayun Gauhar

Indian elephant, Chinese tiger

What a silly storm in a small Indian teacup. We should be looking at the Chinese teacup. Obama goes to India to get something, flatters to sell by saying what the Indians wish to hear and the sated go ape. The wretched of the earth could not give a fig. They want food. Flattery is marketing, my dear compatriots, it’s all marketing. Those who fall for it soon come a cropper. There’s no gainsaying that the Indians fell for such crass K&F – kowtowing and flattery.
Obama went to

Spooks in the court

How does one read the Supreme Court’s notices to the chiefs of the intelligence agencies in what is, after all, a missing persons case? The court stepping up to the plate? Most certainly. The spooks should most certainly be taken to task. The notices are in a case related to prisoners who had gone missing from the Adiala Jail. Some reports in the press allege that the prisoners were picked up by the intelligence agencies. The Chief Justice also did well to refuse to hear the

A new dispute in Balochistan

Some of the recent statements by the Chief Minister Balochistan implying that the center was unresponsive and was acting arbitrarily had created doubts about the way the recently expanded provincial autonomy was being implemented in the province. The charge by Balochistan Assembly Speaker Aslam Bhootani that the federal government intends to sell 70 thousand hectares of land in Lasbela to some gulf princes for hunting despite opposition by the provincial government would further

Tax-drone attack

The government is proposing the following taxes in the Reformed General Sale Tax (RGST): a10 percent increase in the income tax whose income is more then Rs 300,000 per year, increase in special excise duty form 1 to 2 percent, 10 percent surcharges on tax payable on every imported consignment, 10 percent surcharge on withholding tax on commercial electricity consumers as well as 10 percent surcharges on all withholding tax transactions.
Majority of the people are already under

Air Force bombing

As result of bombing by the Air Force jets, 19 extremists were killed and 20 wounded in the Aurakzai Agency in Fata (news report on Nov 11). As many as five houses of extremists were also destroyed during the mission.
Our ‘Shaheens’ are doing a neat job of making mince meat of the extremists. But isn’t the fight out of proportion, as the extremists are only equipped with light arms. The basic question is how the Air Force selects its targets and how it avoids killing women,

Karachi blast

Another massive explosion ripped through the head office of the Crime Investigation Department (CID), located at a busy street in the commercial capital of Pakistan, Karachi. 18 people have been killed and more than 120 injured in this terrorist attack.
Majority of the citizens are of the opinion that this is a reaction to the arrest of six militants in Karachi earlier this week. The terrorist organizations are not limited to just the tribal areas but they have widened their

Thus we are governed

It is the unfortunate fate of Pakistan that a country created by icons like Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal and other men of integrity, commitment and principles is being ruled by despots and men accused of financial scams with no stakes in Pakistan. The problem with Pakistan and its elite, some of whom are pseudo intellectuals with an insatiable greed for fame and wealth, is that they live in a state of denial.
If people have allowed themselves to be duped to vote for this regime,

Blasphemy laws

A 45-year old woman, Asia Bibi in Nankana district, Punjab was sentenced to death following an allegation under the blasphemy laws. Her only crime was that she was going to fill a pot of water when other women in the field said she could not touch the pot and filed a complaint against her.
The blasphemy law is inhumane and so far has been used to indict people from other religions. This is also a tool of personal enmity. Human rights groups are lobbying and advocating for the

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