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Mar 18th
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The blame game PDF Print E-mail

By Shahid Javed Burki

IN the several TV programmes to which I was invited during my current visit to Pakistan, I was repeatedly asked the same set of questions. What was behind the depressing and seemingly worsening economic situation in Pakistan?

Who was to blame for the plunging value of the rupee and for the precipitous fall in the stock market? Why did the government not anticipate the severe shortage of electricity that is taking such a heavy toll on the economy?
McCain Exceptionalism PDF Print E-mail


Last Tuesday, Republicans lost another Congressional seat in a special election — their third such defeat in two months. On Wednesday I received an acerbic e-mail message from a disgusted young G.O.P. loyalist: “I just have to say that Republicans are a dumb party that chooses stupid candidates. With the exception of McCain.” Who says the young lack wisdom? In fact, Republican hopes of denying Democrats complete control of the federal government for the next couple of years may rest on the promise of “McCain exceptionalism.”

Gender and education PDF Print E-mail

By Dr Shahid Siddiqui

GENDER is a construct that owes its creation to a number of social institutions. Some of these include family, educational institutions, judiciary, religion, etc. In recent times, the media has emerged as a powerful constitutive agent of gender-related ideas and notions.

Before we look at the process of how gender is constructed let us briefly focus on the term ‘gender’. Gender, unlike sex which is based on biological division and is specific in character, is more amorphous in nature and is subject to change with reference to context and time. That is why the concept of gender varies from context to context.
Nehru: an out of fashion icon PDF Print E-mail

By Haider Nizamani

JAWAHARLAL Nehru’s record of remaining elected prime minister for 17 consecutive years is yet to be matched by any other leader of South Asia. As prime minister and leader of the Congress party, Nehru left his indelible mark on India’s political system and economic and foreign policies.

He died while serving as India’s prime minister 44 years ago on May 28. But Nehru is politically a little out of fashion these days in India.
Whither democratic norms? PDF Print E-mail

By Zahid Abdullah

IN the last 60 years, we have tried to run the affairs of the country through the power that flows from the barrel of the gun as well as the one that flows from the ballot box. In both cases, we have failed miserably as the missing link has been the rule of law.

If war is too serious a business to be left to the generals, running the country cannot at all be left to the politicians alone. As politicians have yet another opportunity to govern the country, it is about time they get certain facts straight about democracy.
Food at the mercy of the market PDF Print E-mail

By Shadaba Islam

AS world food prices continue to soar and developing countries’ struggle to feed their hungry and angry populations, the European Union has become entangled in yet another acrimonious internal debate on the future of its heavily subsidised farm sector.

Significantly, the discussions, likely to last for several months, could well have a negative impact on efforts to revitalise the efforts of the World Trade Organisation to clinch a much-sought-after deal on global trade liberalisation.
Has media freedom arrived? PDF Print E-mail

By Zohra Yusuf

THE media in Pakistan had barely recovered from the blows inflicted by the proclamation of emergency on Nov 3 when another attempt to curtail its freedom was launched. This time it was by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The restrictions that some of the judges tried to impose on the private television channels revealed a lack of understanding of the nature of the electronic media itself.
Is Nato repeating the USSR's mistakes? PDF Print E-mail

By Alastair Leithead

Twenty years ago today the tanks and armoured cars started to rumble north out of Kabul as the Soviet Union began its withdrawal from Afghanistan after eight-and-a-half years of war.

The mujahideen, backed by money and weapons from an alliance of the United States, Britain, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had beaten a world superpower.
Historical Tremors PDF Print E-mail


IT is a cruel and poignant certainty that the children who died in the wreckage of their school during the earthquake this week in Dujiangyan, China, knew all too well that their country once led the world in the knowledge of the planet’s seismicity.

They would have been taught, and proudly, that almost 2,000 years ago an astronomer named Chang Heng invented the world’s first seismoscope. It was a bizarrely imagined creation, with its centerpiece a large bronze vessel surrounded by eight dragons, each holding a sphere in its mouth.
El Salvador: exhuming memory PDF Print E-mail

Simon Winchester is the author of “The Man Who Loved China.”

By Eric Lemus

One of the men comes across a plastic thread and stops digging. He starts to carefully remove the dirt until unearthing a piece of material that he hands to an elderly woman, who is silently observing the exhumation of the remains of victims of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war.

Gloria Portillo takes what is left of the garment and crumples it in her hand. ”This belonged to my Carlitos,” she manages to get out, before she begins to sob. Her son, Carlos Vinicio Portillo, and five other people were killed on Jan. 7, 1981 by the army, which accused them of belonging to the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) guerillas.
The lost generation PDF Print E-mail

By Afiya Shehrbano Zia

OUT of all of Gen Zia’s children of dictatorship, M. Hanif, the author of the new novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, is the lost sibling I’ve been searching for most anxiously.

Of course, given that we grew up in an era of sexual taboos and forced abstinence, the state made sure I could imagine no other social relationship with him (or any man, for that matter). So brother it must be. I say ‘lost’ because as a generation to find us you will have to search deep inside the closets of depoliticisation, cultural vacuity or, increasingly, layers of beards and hijabs.
Open politics PDF Print E-mail

Today, while we write, speak and attentively watch the media expecting positive developments, national political issues are being resolved in a secret and personalised fashion with frequent intervention of foreign individuals
Pakistani columnist Rasul B Rais

Political fragmentation is one of the troubling legacies of military rule. Our own history provides the best example of this. All our military rulers left Pakistan in greater political stress than it was in when they decided to depose the respective elected governments.

Time is running out PDF Print E-mail

By Shahid Javed Burki

THE transfer of political power to the elected representatives of the people is occurring at an exceptionally difficult time for the Pakistani economy. I have been a student of the Pakistani economy for the last four decades and I know that the country has faced many crises before.
Nuke deal set to time out PDF Print E-mail

By Praful Bidwai

FACED with continuing domestic opposition to the United States-India nuclear cooperation deal, the Indian government has launched ‘one last push’ to complete negotiations before the window of opportunity slams shut.

But the chances of success of its latest bid appear to be no higher than they were some weeks ago.
Obama: close to nomination PDF Print E-mail

By Dr Syed Amir

DURING the weeks preceding the Indiana and North Carolina primaries on May 6, Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination seemed to be floundering.

In the wake of his defeat in Pennsylvania, questions were being raised about whether he could win against the Republican nominee John McCain, whether he was tough enough to endure the rigours of the presidency or could draw the support of working class white voters who were sceptical of his patriotism.
Party politics vs national priorities PDF Print E-mail

By Shahab Usto

THAT recently the PPP-PML-N coalition virtually came to a breaking point on the issue of the judges is not surprising. Right from day one the coalition has suffered from serious differences on structural and policy issues, which if not resolved could, sooner than later, bury the coalition along with the hopes of the teeming millions of voters who look up to it as their ‘last saviour’.

Even though the date — May 12 — of the judges’ restoration has been announced, scepticism still persists as to whether the judges would be restored at all due to differences over the method of restoration.
‘Democratic peace’ in South Asia PDF Print E-mail

By Aqil Shah

IN their 60 years as independent states, India and Pakistan have often snatched wars and near-wars from the jaws of peace. The trillion-dollar question is: how long will this go on? Is there any sustainable solution to the now nuclearised conflict over Kashmir?

It would clearly be outlandish to claim that there is a magic bullet for it. In fact, sceptics would claim that we seem as far away from a mutually acceptable permanent solution as we were in 1947-48. But it is far less imprudent to engage in a counterfactual thought experiment: would a democratic Pakistan be (or have been) less hostile towards a democratic India and vice versa?
Fighting terrorism through tourism PDF Print E-mail

By Adil Zareef

THE enterprising chief minister of the NWFP, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, recently proposed a $4bn peace package for social development sectors as well as fighting the intractable jihadis in the conflict-ridden province. He has rightly spoken of the need to address the socio-economic needs of the population in order to heal the deep scars that terrorism has inflicted on the people and the economy.
Why judges must be restored PDF Print E-mail

By Dr Tariq Rahman

DESPITE declarations and promises it is not quite clear whether or not Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his fellow judges, who did not take the oath under the PCO of Nov 3, 2007, will be restored to their Nov 2 position.

Is this an important issue? Some people point to power and food shortages as well as the deteriorating law and order situation to make the point that the judiciary is not our real problem; that it is a pseudo-issue; and that, if at all it is a problem, it affects educated people and not the masses.
Issues in medical education PDF Print E-mail

By Dr Shershah Syed

WHAT started a few years ago as a favour to some friends has ended up pushing medical education in the country into a deep crisis.

It all began when after seizing power General Pervez Musharraf assigned the task of running the Sindh health department to a retired lieutenant-general. Being a graduate of Liaquat Medical College at Jamshoro, the health minister saw this as an opportunity to revive old friendships.

Adherence to Khilafat ensures blessings of Allah PDF Print E-mail

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmada

The 58th Jalsa Salana of the Nigerian Jama’at of Ahmedia Muslim Community, an annual occasion ended recently. The ceremony was featured by the pragmatic and spiritual discourse of the leader of the community Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadat. The following is an extract from his speech on the occasion. ---------

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