Opinion

Pakistan, India soon to become SCO members

India and Pakistan will become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the SCO Astana summit in June 2017. The groundwork for the inclusion of India and Pakistan was laid back in 2014 at the Dushanbe summit where the procedure to take in new members was finalized. The organization presently has Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan …

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Election Season: what to expect?

As election season fast approaches it is only natural that we look towards our leaders, their politics, and the vision they hold for the country. While the country has greatly changed since 2013, the issues plaguing it have hardly made a headway. Issues of security, healthcare, education, political transparency, accountability, economic and social development, and democratic stability have since gained …

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ECOTA and Pakistans exports

At a moment when Pakistan’s declining exports look troubling the commitment to double intraregional trade within the ECO–from its current standing– brings a gleaming hope. Multiple studies indicate the prospects for enhanced export opportunities for Pakistan within the ECOregion. However, studies conducted by the ECO and TRTA also highlight certain weaknesses related to Pakistan– which require attention. An overview suggests …

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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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