Daily Archives: November 17, 2010

Strategic grandeur

Raza Rumi

As if Pakistan’s domestic woes were not troubling, the unravelling of the US strategy and its implications are eluding even the best of strategists. Mind you, Pakistan is a place every third person is a ‘strategy’ expert and the term ‘strategic’, thanks to the militarisation of the Pakistani mind, is an ever-popular reference. The ideological domination of Pakistan’s discourse is a palpable reality. This is why, across the political spectrum one finds a sense of victory over the failure of US strategy in Afghanistan. This failure is interpreted as the validation of Pakistan’s ‘genuine’ and ‘legitimate’ interest in Afghanistan.

What has worried me most in recent weeks is the capitulation of the liberal-secular chatterati to this pop-discourse of military war games. One is not surprised when former generals and the hawkish hordes of former Foreign Office mandarins express their jubilation. But when supposedly rational and progressive experts pontificate about how ‘we’ have made ‘them’ fail, it is simply shocking. This identification of Pakistani nationalism and patriotism with the invasion of Kabul through proxies is a strange phenomenon. Continue reading

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The courageous Pakistan army stand on the eastern front —Sarmila Bose

The author Sarmila Bose is the niece of Subhas Chandra Bose or Netaji of Indian National Army fame who fought against the British supporting the Japanese. He is considered as a great hero in Bengal and India.

There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971.But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds in defence of the national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself. My introduction to international politics was 1971, as a schoolgirl in Calcutta.

Many images from that year are still etched in my mind, but the culminating one was the photo on Ramna racecourse of two men sitting at a table — the smart, turbaned Sikh, ‘our’ war-hero, Jagjit Singh Aurora, and the largeman in a beret, A A K Niazi, commander of the other side, signing the instrument of surrender. Continue reading

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WHY THE WORLD WILL NEVER WAIVE OUR FOREIGN DEBTS

Ali Abbas’ exclusive post for PTH

If altruism is defined as selfless concern for the welfare of others, then foreign aid can never be altruistic. Aid always serves a purpose, may it be political, diplomatic or ideological. What of debt then? The same old original sin of modern man. The reason why we will never be pure again (unless, we can transform our current loans into Islamic loans of course!).

Theoretically, a country should take a loan when a simple Cost Benefit Analysis is satisfied. This CBA can be defined as follows: if a country can take a loan to generate a particular level of GDP, the loan is beneficial if the rate of increase in GDP is more than what is returned to the lender in the form of the interest plus the principle. In the real world, development banks or IFI’s such as the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB provide loans much with the same rationale that corporate banks provide loans: to earn an interest, finance their operational costs and make a profit. It is in the interest of these IFI’s to lend to developing countries.

However, developing countries don’t always borrow money on the basis of a rigorous Cost Benefit Analysis either. Instead, these loans more often than not provide political agents with bigger pies to slice rents off, and their cronies at the banks fatter pay-checks and better promotions for ‘achieving targets’ and lending more money to poor countries. Thus, the overall state of shock when Pakistan refused the US$ 2 billion loan that the ADB was willing to provide to Pakistan. Continue reading

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