The Arabs continue to mount pressure on Pakistan

Hafiz Saeed, head Jamat ud Dawa during a rally to support Saudi Arabia in its ongoing military campaign in Yemen in Islamabad on April 9.(By Abubakar Siddique) Days after the Pakistani Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution to remain neutral in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies are mounting pressure on the country to join their military campaign in Yemen.

Islamabad has resisted joining the fighting in Yemen, which is viewed as destabilizing the Gulf and the wider Middle East. The conflict could escalate into a regional war pitting the Riyadh-led Sunni Arab states against Iran’s Shi’ite clerical regime, which is suspected to be the main backer of Yemen’s Houthi fighters. Continue reading The Arabs continue to mount pressure on Pakistan

No Pakistanis to be removed from Gulf

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar  addressing a press conference in Washington. — APP/filePakis­tan’s position on the Yemen conflict will not lead to the expulsion of Pakistani workers from the Middle East, says Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The minister told a news briefing in Washington that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had signed a military protocol in 1982, which entitles the kingdom to seek Pakistani troops.

“But this agreement was for a different purpose and it is not in national interests to talk about it,” he said. Continue reading No Pakistanis to be removed from Gulf

The bio-fuels bleak future

MAKING fuel from the solar energy stored in living organisms by photosynthesis is a tempting idea. It sounds inherently green, and so biofuel schemes—ranging from fermenting starch, to recycling cooking oil, to turning algae into jet fuel—have drawn more than $126 billion in investment since 2003, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), a research outfit. The results, though, are like a Venn diagram whose sets barely overlap. Those biofuels that can best compete commercially are not, in fact, green. Those that are green cannot compete commercially. Continue reading The bio-fuels bleak future

China – Pakistan relations much bigger than economic gains

Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Islamabad Monday to unveil a $46 billion investment plan that Pakistan hopes will end its chronic energy crisis and “transform” the country into a regional economic hub.

With the plan, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing hopes to ramp up investment in Pakistan as part of its ambitions to expand its trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia, while countering US and Indian influence.

Continue reading China – Pakistan relations much bigger than economic gains

The richest bankers in Pakistan

(By Kazim Alam / Creative: Essa Malik) The CEO of United Bank is the highest-paid banker in Pakistan, as his annual remuneration clocked up at a whopping Rs246.5 million in 2014.

The UBL CEO’s annual remuneration package roughly translates into a compensation of over Rs20 million per month. Wajahat Husain took over as UBL CEO on June 1, 2014, as Atif Bokhari resigned his position to lead NIB Bank. Continue reading The richest bankers in Pakistan

Building economic and security ties

Chinese president Xi Jinping is due in Pakistan on Monday where he will launch $46 billion in projects linking the old allies, a figure that far exceeds US spending in Pakistan and underscores China’s projection of power in Asia.
The infrastructure and energy projects are aimed at establishing a Pakistan-China Economic Corridor between Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and China’s western Xinjiang region.

Continue reading Building economic and security ties

What happens in Mecca, stays in Mecca

While it seems that the ambiguity over the role Pakistan will play in the Yemen crisis is going nowhere any time soon, there are two questions that come to mind. When did it start? And more importantly, when will it end? Though I would like to think that only the Prime Minister would be able to answer the latter, one can never be too sure taking into account how things have panned out in the last couple of weeks. As far as the first question is concerned, sources reveal that the Saudi King first made the proposal while he was helping Nawaz Sharif put on the Ihraam on March 4th. All we can say for sure is that the Prime Minister visited the kingdom to perform ‘political’ pilgrimage, whether the Yemen issue was discussed and in what capacity remains a mystery; because what happens in Mecca, stays in Mecca.

Continue reading What happens in Mecca, stays in Mecca

Understanding the Cybercrime Bill

Regulating internet through the backdoor 

There are approximately 30 million internet users in Pakistan and the country is said to have the highest growth rate of internet users in the region. This is more than the population of many countries. It is also interesting to note that half of these people access internet through mobile devices. This means there are growing opportunities for economic development and technological advancement in Pakistan owing to this growth in the country’s internet population.

Continue reading Understanding the Cybercrime Bill

Canada visit – Modi’s dark past and even darker present

When Stephen Harper hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Canada this week, they will be greeted both with adoring fans and with protests. Modi, an extremist Hindu nationalist, has support within a section of Canadian Indians. But his past comes back to haunt him. A human rights organization called Sikhs for Justice has appealed to the Canadian government to prosecute Modi for his alleged role in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, a western state of India.

Continue reading Canada visit – Modi’s dark past and even darker present

Freedom of speech restricted by new cybercrime bill

Disseminating obscene or immoral messages on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks has been made an offence under Section 20 without defining ‘obscenity’ or ‘immorality’. — AFP/fileUploading photos on Instagram and Facebook or sending emails or text messages to a recipient without their consent may be considered harmless online behaviour, but under the new Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015, these actions and many more could land unsuspecting Internet users in jail.

“The bill criminalises all such activities. Nowhere in the world is spam a criminal offence, but it is about to become one in Pakistan,” said Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) Convener Wahajus Siraj.

Continue reading Freedom of speech restricted by new cybercrime bill