Podcast 1 - New Government and Challenges

Witness to Surrender

There is humor in everything, more so in a tragedy. Ever since the unfolding of dharna (sit in) related events of weekend of Nov 25th, my instinctive response has been to focus on the humor of this tragedy. Not sure if the response is driven by escapism or it helps get clearer perspective, but there is a lot of humor to be found in this tragedy.

Let us start with Khakis. Leave aside a few of the very pertinent questions raised by IHC Justice Siddiqui. Leave also the impression that the whole thing has been orchestrated by the hidden hand of Big Brother. Buy that Army when asked to step in under 245 had genuine concerns regarding its ability of crowd management and it becoming a party in a conflict that has political and sectarian undertones. But where should one place the tweet right in the middle of the operation claiming Chief has urged both sides to avoid violence thus equating government with hooligans besieging capital? One hopes the tweet was not instigated by connivance but on…

Panama and Constitutionalism: The Bottom Line

A line of reasoning taken in defense of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif since appearance of Panama Papers has been that it is a conspiracy to undermine the civilian supremacy and democracy in Pakistan. Just when I believe the continuous civil-military power struggle is a reality, and unelected power centers have always tried to undermine the representative rule in the country; this time around, the issue cannot be framed in the said context; and below is why?
First and foremost, this time the crisis began because of a global leak that has shaken many a governments and powerful men across the globe. To say that Pakistani establishment had the sway to initiate such leak of global scale is giving it too much credence and credit. Also establishment in Pakistan has proven to be unsuccessful in shaking things decisively in recent attempts like Memogate and PTI/PAT sit-in. And no matter what spin of “establishment conspiracy” PML-N sympathizers want to give to the current episode; the reality i…

Saudi snub is not Nawaz Sharif's failure

I have always been a critic of Nawaz Sharif and his style of government. As for Panama, it is my maintained position that he should step down and clear his name before assuming any political role again. Having said that, at the snub Nawaz got in Riyadh, I believe it is a result of his reluctance to join an open assault on Iran. And so the sidelining was of a Pakistani premier who realized the social cost of taking sides in an Arab-Iran conflict for his country. What Nawaz has done, even Asif Zardari or Imran Khan would have done the same. For Pakistan's elected representatives do realize that such a conflict will be an all out social implosion of the country. For all their failures and misgivings, Pakistan's elected representatives, even someone as reckless and under debt of Saudis as Nawaz Sharif, have shown caution when making calls that can lead to social breakdown of the country. Be it playing the balancing act in Saudi-Iran conflict, or refusing to budge to the pressure …

CPEC and Pakistan’s Balance of Payments - Article for Hudson Institute

"Adding CPEC commitments will increase debt servicing by 30%-60%. Around 2020, Pakistan also has refinancing due of its US$ 1 billion Eurobonds. So, even if one ignores all of the other external debt commitments the country has piled up in the last three years, CPEC and Eurobond refinancing alone pose a major challenge for the country on the debt-servicing front."

Chilcot Report - Only severe perpetual reparations by US-UK serve justice

Chilcot report is an eyewash in which the entire blame of an error of judgement or malice is pinned on an individual. Whether Bush-Blair acted in good faith or based on malice, the fact is that they had the support of respective representative bodies, armed forces, and opinion-makers of their countries. That was not an act of a few individuals but of two states. And reports like Chilcot pin blame on individuals and absolve the states of any responsibility of the mess they create, taking focus from their cutting and running. An error of judgment or malice, the blame rests not with individuals but with US and UK and only severe perpetual reparations along with bringing the culprits serves justice. Else, it will be very easy for states around the world to create mess, find 2-3 scapegoats and cut and run.