Foreign aid: Strings attached

By Ali Salman / Jazib Nelson

Stealing aid has
become a principal
way in which elite make money. CREATIVE COMMONS
The new development agenda of the world has been set under the rubric of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with expected cost of $3 trillion.

With so much of its focus on appreciating the scarcity of world resources and its sustainable utilisation, a natural query that stems is what makes these $3 trillion less scarce?

Continue reading Foreign aid: Strings attached

India’s polarized wealth distribution

“There is a line beyond which inequality is too high, and India is close to – if not already beyond – that line.”

The Economic Risks of India’s Wealth Inequality

Economic inequality has been a popular topic for analysis, commentary, and political debate over the last several years, lately even garnering attention from the Pope. Recent data have elicited yet more concern. The top 1 percent of wealthy individuals in the world now own more than the next 99 percent combined; the top 0.1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent. When examining inequality on the country level, the GINI index reveals that those countries with high income inequality are not only advanced economies but also resource-dependent laggards. For India, growing wealth inequality limits efforts to overcome poverty and reach full development. This challenge necessitates the type of fundamental structural change that can only originate politically from the ground-up.

Continue reading India’s polarized wealth distribution

What secularism means in India

Secularism in Indian context is distinct from Western secularism. Indian secularism is not irreligion, but multitude of religions. Every time there is a communal disharmony, or a politicization of religion, the idea of secularism in India is re-examined. Secularism in its literal sense means separation of religion from politics/state. But the experience of secularism in India is different. Religion in India is more politicized than politics itself.

The origin of the discussion on secularism in India dates back to the idea of “India” itself. That is why every discussion on secularism also brings in debates on nationalism/nationhood. The India that we see today, with its well defined political and geographical boundaries, that extends from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to North-East was the product of independence movement against British. On that fateful eve of August 14, 1947, when the Jawahar Lal Nehru made that eventful speech on ‘tryst with destiny’- when the whole world slept, India awoke to freedom. But what we should not be oblivious about is that it was not only the celebration of India’s independence. It was the day in which a New India was born. For a long time, we were not even one country, but was made up of several kingdoms; there were times when the vast portions of this subcontinent came under one empire; the country was invaded many times by foreigners; some of them settled down here, became Indians and ruled as Kings and Emperors, while some of them plundered and looted our country. People in this sub-continent practiced different religions, spoke different languages and celebrated different festivals. We did not have a common government, a common leader or a common military. This large landmass and whole lot of its people would not have been united but for the struggle for independence.

Continue reading What secularism means in India

Former HC to India, Jahangir’s views

By Munizae Jahangir

000_WAS2004072964624As a former High Commissioner to India, how do you see what is happening in India now, and do you think there will be a reaction against Modi? 

Well, we already see evidence of that reaction. That is why the Bihar election, which used to be seen as a cinch – as the Americans would say – for the BJP, is now being seen to be very closely contested. It is possible the BJP might not win. If that happens, that would confirm the supposition that Modi’s popularity has, to some extent, peaked.

Continue reading Former HC to India, Jahangir’s views

Why is our government reluctant to face the real issues

(By Arif Nizami) Our foreign policy establishment claims ad-nauseam that there is no ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and al-Sham) in Pakistan. In the process the nation, already engaged in an existential war against the Taliban/al-Qaeda brand of terrorism, is reassured that it need not fear Da’ish as it simply does not exist.

Before 9/11 few had heard of al-Qaeda. It had no presence in Pakistan. So went the official mantra. For that matter not many were aware of its existence even in Afghanistan. Continue reading Why is our government reluctant to face the real issues


Lets stop apologizing

(By Khaled Almaeena) The Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others are still capturing headlines. They also occupy the top spot in social media the world over.

The attack came days after suicide bombers blew up about 40 people in a Beirut suburb and before that a Russian plane was blown up over Sinai killing more than 200 people. Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) took responsibility for all of these murderous acts. Continue reading Lets stop apologizing

West – The creators of terrorism

Humayun Gauhar(By Humayun Gauhar) ‘United States of Amnesia’ includes Europe too but this is only one view.

ISIS is winning in the sense that it has got what it wants so far. Paris lives in fear. Belgium went into lockdown. By extension not only the public of the whole of Europe but also the people of its North American civilisational periphery live in a state of fear, confusion and uncertainty too. ISIS could strike anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Russia and NATO went into low-level contretemps after Turkey ratcheted up the heat by downing a Russian fighter-bomber. Ominously, Russia is biding its time, only meting out economic punishment incrementally to Turkey. Continue reading West – The creators of terrorism

Progress on loan

Pakistan’s foreign reserves have been on a sharp ascent and are often quoted by the ruling party as a manifestation of sound economic policy work. The total foreign exchange reserves of the country have climbed to 19.828 billion dollars according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

According to an article published in Bloomberg, “at least half of the country’s $20 billion stockpile comprises debt and grants, almost all of which have flowed in since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office in May 2013. That money could leave quickly as Pakistan begins repaying the IMF in 2016 or if oil prices surge, leading to another balance-of-payments crisis”. Continue reading Progress on loan

No turning back

The Army and the Government of Pakistan were seen to be on the same page as long as their views converged on the following two points:

a. The war against terrorism was a minor matter which could be resolved through negotiations between the terrorists and the government.

b. The plunder of national resources was not a national security issue as long as the Army high command could also partake of it.

Continue reading No turning back