Opinion

PPP’S PUNJAB STRATEGY

Asif Ali Zardari’s return, it seems, was only the first step in a larger plan; to come back to a country on the cusp of political change is a Machiavellian move. Yet, to come back to a country on the cusp of change, and be effective in directing that change, is more than just a political maneuver-  some would call …

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Ethnic Nationalism: Shaping Narratives

Most of what we see around us is a manifestation of identity – decisions resting on the foundation of associations; commitments and identifications clearing the haze on what is good, what must be done, and what should be endorsed or opposed. Identity, however, is anything but static and monogamous; it is carefully threaded through belief systems, religion and culture, and …

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Fleecing the Buyers: On-money

Anyone buying a new car in Pakistan is faced with the specter of ‘On Money’. This is the ‘premium’ you have to pay to get immediate delivery of a new vehicle. I do not know where the term originated, but my guess is that it refers to money ON top of the price that you have to pay – hence …

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Pak-Afghan : a framework for cooperation

The fate of a huge chunk of the Asian region-including  Pakistan-appears to be at a crossroads- leading either towards salvation or a repetition of chaos. One of the most crucial steps towards a positive path- is mending Afghanistan. However, the state is mired in multifaceted wars; positioning itself as perhaps one of the murkiest regions to ‘see through’.  The grave …

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FORMALISING THE INFORMAL: Jirga and Panchayat

In February, the National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed a controversial bill that gives legal cover to the old ‘jirga’ and ‘panchayat’ system and would shift part of the weight from the judicial system to a century’s old local system to settle minor disputes, petty civil matters, and find simpler and faster alternates which can supplement the traditional legal system. …

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Incompetent Ignoramuses

The recent horrific terrorist attack at Charing Cross Lahore served to demonstrate yet again the incompetence and inability of the powers to be to realistically assess the security threat to Pakistan. The Lahore attack was followed by four suicide bombers striking Peshawar and the Mohmand tribal region, killing seven more people. There appears to be a severe lack of ability …

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Trump Presidency: What to expect?

During the presidential race it became clear that with Trump the Af-Pak region will no longer figure as prominently- or at all- in Washington’s priority list. When senior figures from President Trump’s team began tempering down enthusiasm over the Trump-Nawaz phone call, this should have been a clear indication of US interests. Mention of Pakistan during Trump’s presidential campaign was …

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The new age religious fanaticism and the rise of nationalism

In what appears to be a sudden outburst of absurdity- it should be noticed, this is not solely a direct result of Trump. But, presently, Trump appears to be the front man, representing several skeptical/fanatical views which have been brewing over the years. His several top men face immense criticism for carrying elements of fanatical social-political-religious views. In the case …

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Humanity or State

Tensions between the civil society and ‘state’ is not uncommon. Ideally, each should serve as complementary to other. The state for the civil society and the civil society for the state. But, there is also a thin line diverging the two groups. For a state: its territory and national security is usually deemed as a prerequisite for the protection of …

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DEMOCRACY WITHIN POLITICAL PARTIES

While Democratic theory places great importance upon the conduct, participation, and regularity in elections, but what is often overlooked is that the electoral game takes place in two arenas, not only between political parties but also within them. The four most important aspects of democracy that seek to strengthen as well as uphold it are not only essential for any …

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