Bonhomie in Punjab

One has witnessed so much of acrimony in the PPP-PML(N) relations during the last three years that one is forced to keep one’s fingers crossed as two top government leaders in Punjab belonging to these parties exchange pleasantries or claim to solve people’s problems. Only weeks back the PML(N) was demanding the PPP ministers to resign from the cabinet while the PPP was complaining that extremists were being patronised by the PML(N). Mutual hostility still characterises relationship

About turn

Once upon a time, there was a coalition government of two political parties that had spent the 90’s bickering with each other. They had both inherited a country facing several grave problems, the economy being one of them. Soon after the elections, both the principal financial mandarin and spin doctor-in-chief conducted a joint press conference to give a “charge sheet” of sorts, on how the previous government had mismanaged the economy. Neither of the two – Ishaq Dar and Sherry Rehman

Let the court decide

The insistence by the US to hand over Raymond Davis and a continuing failure to produce the driver and the vehicle involved in the killing of Ibadur Rehaman are likely to further damage the US image in Pakistan. Washington has to realise that the stand it has taken is not helping its ally in the fight against terrorism. The incident of a functionary of the American Consulate in Lahore killing two persons and an SUV called by him crushing another to death have touched a raw nerve in

Talk it out

All those expecting something of a breakthrough in Pakistan-India relations are in for a disappointment. The two countries, whose apex diplomats are meeting next month, are not exactly on the same page when it comes to the specifics. In the Eight-point composite dialogue agenda, India wants to include terrorism as one of the two major issues at the top. Pakistan, its valiant struggle against terrorism notwithstanding, is uncomfortable regarding what that would mean.

Not in Pakistan – We’re better off, actually

Rarely, if ever, does our beleaguered Republic seem good in comparison to any country. But it appears that the furious citizens of Tunisia and Egypt want what we have here in Pakistan. True, they don’t want a military that remains more powerful than it should, as is the case here; true, they don’t want the very fabric of society to be at risk from Islamic obscurantists; granted, they don’t want an economy that has seen better days. But the situation in Pakistan, warts and all, is

Monetary Policy – Hope and risks

There might be some within the business and banking community bemoaning the fact that the central bank did not lower the interest rate in the monetary policy that it announced the other day. But they should take comfort in the fact that the SBP did not, in fact, hike the rate upwards. It has to be admitted there would have been considerable pressure from schools of thought within the central bank to do so. The SBP was wise not to heed to the demand. Using high interest rates as the

Year of recovery?

The missing persons issue is hopefully about to reach its finale, thanks to the untiring efforts of the Supreme Court which has been hearing the case since 2007. The apex court has provided full opportunity to security agencies to produce the missing persons without much success in their recovery. The apex court’s efforts in the direction have by and large been stonewalled. The appointment of a judicial commission was the last attempt by the SC to resolve the issue through persuasion.

Terrorists strike back

The killing of seven people in twin truck bombings near the Kohat tunnel, coming hours after the air raids at militant hideouts in the Mohmand Agency on Friday which left 28 insurgents dead and 30 injured, is a stark reminder of terrorist organisations regaining strength at a time when the security agencies claim control of the tribal belt. But whether there were any civilian casualties could not be confirmed due to lack of access to the battlefield.
The latest air offensive in

Their man in Lahore

The PR wings of one of the anti-American religious parties couldn’t have written the scene better themselves. An American shoots dead two youngsters. A colleague of his, then, in an attempt to rescue him, runs over a motorcyclist, also killing him. The American who fired the shots, then flees the scene of the crime (only to be apprehended by the police later.) The US consulate then refuses, at least till the writing of this editorial, to hand over to the police neither the vehicle nor

Winds of change

The Jasmine revolution in Tunisia has given courage and hope to masses in many Arab countries where arbitrary rulers continue to be in power. .After Egypt, winds of change blowing from Tunisia have reached Yemen where 16,000 protestors took to the streets in Sanaa on Thursday. The protestors demanded the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been in power since 1978. Both Egypt and Yemen are ruled by regimes that lack legitimacy and employ force and coercion to continue to

State of the Union

Obama’s remark in the State of the Union address regarding “our generation’s Sputnik moment” has left many guessing about the exact import of the expression. When the Soviet Union put Sputnik into orbit, it was considered as an imminent threat to US superiority in space technology. Did the challenge Obama was hinting at emanate from some external threat such as global economic competition, rogue states going nuclear, foreigners cornering the solar panel industry or from internal


The subject might not feature prominently in the news anymore but the effects of the devastating floods of last year carry on, unnoticed by the mainstream media. The news-item based media, in its limited concentration span, frames incidents and events on a discrete timeline, as if they were over and done with instantaneously. But here in the real world, calamities, at times, keep on getting worse. The homeless affectees of the floods have already had to brave the elements in the dead

Existential struggle

Terrorists targeted Lahore and Karachi within a couple of hours on Tuesday creating a perception of a possible coordination. The carnage claimed 17 lives. In both cities, the police had set up several check posts on account of the Chehlum of Imam Hussain. Last year’s suicide attacks in the same area in Lahore – one near the shrine of Sufi saint Ali Hajveri and the other outside a Shia imambaragah – had led to the killing of 30 people in the first instance and 12 in the second. It goes

Spend less, earn more?

Finance minister Hafeez Shaikh is a worried man. And he tries to get your attention by trying to explain better how bad things really are. If the reforms agenda is not pursued promptly, he warns, we could have a deficit as high as 8 per cent on our hands. The problem here is that no one knows what that actually means. The mass media’s attention deficit disorder precludes any measure of hitting-the-books and figuring things out. Reporting from the gut yields only one approach for our


Pakistan needs more statesmen and fewer soap box orators to be able to deal with the complex political and economic challenges it is facing. That there are serious law and order problems in the country is a fact of life. What is needed under the circumstances is a cool appreciation of the situation and a balanced approach in dealing with the issues. What one sees happening is unfortunately the opposite.
Early this month PML(Q)’s provincial president Amir Muqam lambasted the PPP,

The parliament

A visit to the parliament, that aggregation of our teeming millions, housed in two halls across each other in a building in Islamabad can be awe-inspiring. Nothing can inspire a feeling of national cohesion more than seeing the vast diversity in the representatives of the people, despite their shenanigans. Yet it is this very august body that has refused, in the past, to respect itself and display some gumption when others cast aspersions on it.
Faisal Saleh Hayat, who leads the

Tightening the belt

Punjab being the largest among the federal units is expected to play the leading role in cutting down expenses on an oversized government. However, what has happened over the last three years is the opposite. Instead of living within its means, the PML(N) government has been on a spending binge seeking loans from the banks to maintain the untenable style of governance. The downsizing announcement on Sunday is welcome though there are still important areas where reforms are still badly