Category Archives: Economy

Giving credit where it is due

Published in the Daily Times

Giving Credit Where it’s Due (Daily Times 04/26)

By Agha Haidar Raza

Pakistan recently had two major delegations visiting the US. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the first contingent under the auspices of a new ‘Strategic Dialogue’ with the US. In the second trip, Prime Minister Gilani led his team to President Obama’s first Nuclear Summit. Attended by over 47 heads of state, the summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to descend upon the US soil since the 1940s. Recognised as one of the world’s safe-keepers of a nuclear stockpile, Pakistan gained a nod of approval from the world’s seven nuclear bomb carriers.

I am unaware if many journalists or citizens in Pakistan read foreign newspapers, magazines or even blogs, but over the course of the nuclear summit, many international media outlets praised our country. From the words of admiration showered on Pakistan by President Obama for keeping its nuclear arsenal safe, to the positive role played by Prime Minister Gilani, it was our time to be in the limelight. Much attention was directed towards the professionalism of Army Chief General Parvez Kayani while the brilliant display of diplomacy carried out by Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not go unnoticed. Penned as a key ally of the US and taking the war to the very militants who threaten the fabric of our peace and security, Pakistan garnered much respect from the world community. Continue reading

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Filed under Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, India, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Kerry Lugar Bill, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, public policy, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari

Room for optimism

[‘The audacity of hope’? ‘Hope dies last’? Or, just the reality of Pakistan in its many aspects? Here’s how Mohsin Hamid sees it. – PTH]

Dawn, Friday, 09 Apr, 2010
 
 EVER since returning to live in Pakistan a few months ago, I’ve been struck by the pervasive negativity of views here about our country. Whether in conversation, on television, or in the newspaper, what I hear and read often tends to boil down to the same message: our country is going down the drain.

But I’m not convinced that it is.

I don’t dispute for a second that these are hard times. Thousands of us died last year in terrorist attacks. Hundreds of thousands were displaced by military operations. Most of us don’t have access to decent schools. Inflation is squeezing our poor and middle class. Millions are, if not starving, hungry. Even those who can afford electricity don’t have it half the day.

Yet despite this desperate suffering, Pakistan is also something of a miracle. It’s worth pointing this out, because incessant pessimism robs us of an important resource: hope.

First, we are a vast nation. We are the sixth most populous country in the world. One in every 40 human beings is Pakistani. There are more people aged 14 and younger in Pakistan than there are in America. A nation is its people, and in our people we have a huge, and significantly untapped, sea of potential. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy, Economy, Education, Identity, Judiciary, Languages, Media, Pakistan, Religion, Society, state, Terrorism

Pakistan, the Lost Generation

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/pakistan901/video_index.html

It’s morning in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s biggest province, and the country’s next generation is headed to school. But what children are finding when they get there is of increasing concern for those who want peace in Pakistan’s future.

For 12-year-old Fatma, school is an abandoned brickyard.

“I study at the Government Primary School in Lahore,” she explains. “I study English language, and I like it. There are no chairs. We have to sit on the ground. It’s a problem in the winter. When it rains, there is nowhere to sit.”

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Filed under Economy, Education, Kerry Lugar Bill, Lahore, Pakistan, poverty, Punjab, Religion, Rural, Taliban, USA, youth

Zardari signs 2 laws aimed at protecting working class

“The government’s job is not only to maintain a good balance sheet but also work for the welfare of the people,” Zardari
Staff Reporter Daily Times March 06, 2010
President says govt has handed over 10% shares of state-owned entities to employees for free
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday signed two laws passed by parliament to repeal the Removal from Services (Special Powers) Ordinance, 2000 and amend the Services Tribunal Act.
The president signed the bills at a ceremony held at the Sindh chief minister’s house.
According to an official statement, Zardari said the government would preserve the rights of the working class while ensuring a conducive environment for business, setting the stage for another phase of prosperity and development in Pakistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, Labour, Law, Left, Marxism, Pakistan, Rights, Zardari

Frustrated Strivers in Pakistan Turn to Jihad

By Sabrina Tavernise and Waqar Gillani

Published: February 27, 2010

Cross Post from The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/world/asia/28youth.html?hp

LAHORE, Pakistan — Umar Kundi was his parents’ pride, an ambitious young man from a small town who made it to medical school in the big city. It seemed like a story of working-class success, living proof in this unequal society that a telephone operator’s son could become a doctor.

Lahore has enduring social problems like chronic unemployment.

But things went wrong along the way. On campus Mr. Kundi fell in with a hard-line Islamic group. His degree did not get him a job, and he drifted in the urban crush of young people looking for work. His early radicalization helped channel his ambitions in a grander, more sinister way.

Instead of healing the sick, Mr. Kundi went on to become one of Pakistan’s most accomplished militants. Working under a handler from Al Qaeda, he was part of a network that carried out some of the boldest attacks against the Pakistani state and its people last year, the police here say. Months of hunting him ended on Feb. 19, when he was killed in a shootout with the police at the age of 29.

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, Economy, FATA, Islamabad, Lahore, Pakistan, poverty, psychology, Taliban, Terrorism, USA

Let’s refocus: Kashmir, not Kabul

We are publishing a Canadian view here at PTH. This op-ed was published today in the well respected Canadian Newspaper The Globe and Mail. It is written by Doug Sanders, Globe’s respected Pulitzer Prize winning Chief of European Bureau. Mr. Sanders urges the West to help resolving the Kashmir Issue. This issue has been used by Pakistani Army and the Establishment to keep the impoverished nation of ours mainly as an India competing nation. The issue has contributed towards our inability to focus on developing our society as a modern, progressive entity; a society that focuses primarily on protection, health and education of all of its members (PTH)

 

By Doug Sanders, cross post from The Globe and Mail, Published February 20, 2010

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/lets-refocus-kashmir-not-kabul/article1475138/

Acting like an especially convivial nightclub manager, Pervez Musharraf storms the room and opens with a joke: “You should come to Pakistan – it’s the most happening place in the world, where there’s never a dull moment!”

There is nervous laughter. The man who was the military ruler of Pakistan for seven years would like to get back into politics, this time by election. “I’m no longer a military man,” he says, “so I cannot take over anything.” Even more nervous laughter. The generals, in Pakistan, are never far from power.

For decades, Pakistan has served the world as a large and obstreperous military force that inconveniently happens to have a nation attached. Nowadays, as far as the West is concerned, it mainly acts as the denominator in what the military calls “Af-Pak,” the war against the Taliban.

The week began with an exceptionally non-dull moment that confirmed this view, and showed what has changed since Mr. Musharraf’s departure in 2008. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency said that, with the help of the CIA, it had captured the Taliban’s second-ranking Afghan leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in northern Pakistan. This was considered a huge aid to the current Afghan military surge, in which Canada’s soldiers are playing a spearhead role, and a new phase in Pakistani-Western co-operation.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Army, Democracy, Economy, Education, Identity, India, Islamabad, Kashmir, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Terrorism, USA

Trading Religion: Profits are mine, the Losses You Cover

By Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Starting a new business is all about possibilities, optimism, hard work and risk of losses. However owning a business in any famous markets of Pakistan is considered as a guarantee for success because of high volume of ready customers. High returns on investment push high the property prices and rentals, only real wealthy can afford to do business in these markets. The powerful ‘traders unions’ of these wealthy business owners safeguard them from tax authorities and make them immune to laws and business regulations. A comprehensive package of insurance essential for businesses in any civilized society also remains absent as business owner are not willing to spare a small percentage of their profits for insurance costs.

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Filed under Economy, Justice, Multinational Corporations, Pakistan, Society, state