WikiLeaks and Aladdin’s genie

The release of confidential cables of diplomatic community has reminded us of childhood story of ‘Aladdin’s genie’ in which the genie would stay in the bottle and would come out of it only to fulfil the wishes of its master. But, in this case the situation is totally in reverse as the ‘Aladdin’ seems to be trying to put the ‘genie’ back in to fulfil his wishes rather than keep it out.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, it has faced even worse. The WikiLeaks buzz has been around the

The Great Plane Robbery

One of Pakistan’s top corporate magnates stated in a private conversation that the challenges confronting Pakistan’s economy were by far less serious than those which Europe faced. When asked to elaborate, he said he would give just one example from Europe, its aging population. Analysts at the International Monetary Fund projected in 2006 that by the year 2050, Europe will have one retiree for every two workers. In the current year, the 55 to 64 year old age bracket is estimated to

Ban on marriage halls

The Punjab government’s decision on closing the marriage halls around 10 pm is highly unjustified. This is one of the businesses that thrive on the events taking place in the evening and running lat into the night. It is like instructing someone to drink only coke and not the water. What kind of logic there is in this law, if there is any, it simply evades me.

Cell phone hazards

As a medical doctor, I wish to raise awareness of the general public about the hidden hazards of mobile phones and mobile phone towers.
Research is now rapidly surfacing all over the world that the High Frequency Mirowave radiations emitted by cell phones and cell phone towers is damaging to human health, causes a very vast array of health problems like sleeplessness, fatigue , muscle and joint pains, anxiety, depression, headaches, High or low blood pressure, heart palpitations,

Learning from WikiLeaks

Shall we ever learn from WikiLeaks? I believe, we shall never, nor our leaders. We have become shameless brutes, both individually and collectively. Look at the recent by-election in Pakistan. The major contesting political parties nominated the worst possible infamous candidates and the nation elected them.
Unless the people of Pakistan do not reject these corrupt and inefficient politicians, we cannot move forward and can make no progress.
Till such time, we will be

A new Nawaz Sharif

From the periscope of WikiLeaks revelations we come across a new Nawaz Sharif who is more defiant to the non-democratic forces and more faithful to a democratic Pakistan. According to an English daily, about a year ago a smiling Nawaz Sharif cautioned the over-confident Prime Minister Mr Gilani, who believed that the military was on board, to never trust on the military commanders.
He shared his own experience of trusting a corps commander whom the then PM allotted prime

Call me a friend, too

In politics, there are no hard and fast rules. Take WikiLeaks on Nawaz Sharif and Ch Nisar as an example. The very men who are considered to be anti-US, in fact, seem to be cajoling the US Amabassodr to Pakistan in accepting them as pro-US allies and possibly an alternative to the PPP leader Benazir. This revelation is in direct contrast with their public statements and standing on the issue.
Pakistani politicians have never understood the importance of a stance and how it might

M J Akbar

Under the weather in Milan

Snow is a sheet on the ground, talcum on the trees, a patched overcoat on the Alps and an electric blue at Zurich airport. I have to catch a connection to Milan within 50 minutes but there is no hint of hurry when I check with ground staff. Swiss calm about process and punctuality is eerie. Clockwork is in the DNA. I go through unruffled immigration police, board a transit train, grab a vital necessity from duty free and still reach my next flight with time to dawdle. The train

Sarmad Bashir

A fractious polity

This is kind of bad timing, but here it is. The US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblowing website have not only put the Obama Administration in an awkward spot but have also shaken Pakistan’s political and military elite. The damaging revelations come at a time when the country’s elected leadership is grappling with a host of problems while also being conscious of behind-the-scenes manipulation by the powerful army which continues to dominate the power equation.

Humayun Gauhar

‘Zust imazine’

More often than not, I am telling you about what we have gained as a nation, if you can call us one. It’s about time that we looked at what we have lost: half our beautiful country not least at the hands of a political party that millions of our compatriots still dote on, as if some kind of a curse has descended upon us. It is a curse that we have brought upon ourselves and cannot blame anyone for. The Bengalis are a wonderful people who strived more for the creation of Pakistan than

Need for restraint

The call by a Peshawar cleric for executing Aasia Bibi, who was sentenced to death by the trial court for blasphemy, comes at a time when the matter is pending before the Lahore High Court and the government has been restrained from granting her swift pardon. The cleric also announced a Rs 500,000-bounty for anyone who killed the blasphemer.
Aasia’s case raised an international outcry, including pleas for mercy from Christian leaders and human rights organisations around the

Af-Pak relations

Prime Minister Gilani’s Kabul visit takes place at a time highly crucial for Afghanistan. Two weeks back, NATO countries set forth a plan in Lisbon to gradually start handing over the lead role in the war to Afghan forces with the aim of ending the ISAF combat mission by 2014. Later this month, President Obama is scheduled to review the Afghan policy worked out last year with a surge and a counter-insurgency strategy as main features. Unless conditions are created to ensure that the

The next tranche

A little tough love now and then wouldn’t hurt our economic managers but the IMF should know how much is too much. The Fund’s patience, granted, is not unlimited, but it should cut the government some slack for the precarious political conditions it is in. The pressing issues of fiscal space that the present government was confronted with at the beginning of its term, a legacy of the previous regime, forced it to go running back to the international donor agency. The latter’s pound of

Why go cry to the US?

No agenda for the meeting of the DCC was issued which has naturally led to guesses about what the participants were likely to discuss. It has been suggested that issues of internal and external security would be thrashed out along with a briefing by General Ashfaq Kayani over the adjustment of the army in Swat and the security situation in Afghanistan. The DCC however cannot afford to ignore the revelations made in the WikiLeaks which have become the most widely debated issue.<br

Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

The meddling way

The credibility of Pakistan’s ruling elite, both civil and military, has been badly damaged as a result of what the WikiLeaks have divulged. Prime Minister Gilani’s decision to summon the DCC is thus being interpreted as an exercise aimed at damage control. The common man meanwhile seeks answers to some of the disturbing questions raised by the leaks.
Some of the leaks raise the disturbing question that whether the actions taken by the guardians of national sovereignty are in

Servile conduct

It may take a while to fully and comprehensively fathom the extent of humiliating intrigue and duplicity at play in the conduct of inter-state relations, but, on the basis of what has already been released by WikiLeaks, one can say that the principal players on the Pakistani side have lost all moral ground to remain in any position of authority. When P. J. Crowley, spokesman of the State Department, was quizzed by Betty Anderson, he said that it was a secret document and had nothing

White Lies

It is no secret that President Zardari hops on a plane and heads for China (not necessarily Beijing) at the drop of a hat and quite often to seek some Chinese wisdom on business and commerce. However, these meetings may not be a one-way process as we have allowed ourselves to believe. We hear that at a recent meet AZ quizzed the Chinese president on the secret of such phenomenal economic progress. He was quite unprepared for his answer. It was, he said, a Pakistani working at the