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DE-COLONIZING EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN

Established initially as institutions of higher studies, Madrasahs taught law, Islamic sciences and philosophy. Prior to the arrival of British, both religious and secular education was taken care of for Hindus and Muslims by their respective religious institutions together. Madrasahs taught Quran together with Tafsir Mantiq (logic), Kalam (theology) and Hikmah (philosophy). In addition, mathematics, […]

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STOKING RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS

The Indian War of Independence (or the 1857 Indian Mutiny as the British call it) did not start as a “War of Independence” by the Indians against their British masters. British East India’s war machine was primarily composed of Indian native troops officered by the British, pure British-manned regiments were a handful in numbers compared to the vast Indian rank and file. The many causes for the war i.e. political, social, economical, military and religious notwithstanding, all that was needed was a spark. This was provided when Indian Hindu sepoys refused to use rifle cartridges suspected to be greased with cow fat that had to be bitten off using their teeth, muslims similarly were led to believe that pig fat was being used. This was unacceptable to the religious feelings of both the Hindus and Muslims respectively.

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FORGING A POSITIVE ALLIANCE

It was a unique privilege (for  many different reasons) to be  invited alongwith a handful of senior media colleagues to attend the inaugural meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) under the theme “Allied Against Terrorism” on Nov 26 in Riyadh. With the Ministers of Defence,  Senior military officers of 41 Islamic and […]

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PREVENTING SLIDE INTO ANARCHY

Once known as the ‘City of Lights’ for its vibrant night life, a good part of Karachi lives in almost darkness, devoid of continuous power. This mega city’s momentum has led the nascent nation’s economy as the financial and commercial hub of Pakistan, Karachi accounting for a lion’s share of Pakistan’s revenue (some even claim 65% to 70%).

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CORRUPTION WITHOUT BORDERS

The Nawaz Sharif episode shows that pervasive corruption has not only acquired respectability in a perverse manner in Pakistan but left to the National Assembly (NA), may even acquire legality. Political instability, poverty, unequal structure of society, unemployment, lack of accountability, weak political institutions, absence of rule of law, etc, are contributory factors causing an unequal distribution of resources, sapping of confidence among local and foreign investors, weak governance, etc. A leading expert on corruption, J.G. Lambsdorff says, “The abuse of power in order to serve private interest is widespread in Pakistan. Corruption will thrive particularly in a setting where accountable governance structures and processes are weak, very much the case in Pakistan. For corruption to flourish certain key pre-conditions such as imperatives and incentives must exist that encourage corrupt practices, availability of opportunities for personal gains, access and control over the means of corruption with limited risks of exposure and punishment”, unquote.

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A FEUDAL ELECTORAL SYSTEM

The Magna Carta, or the “Charter of Liberties”, limiting the King’s power and strengthening the rights of nobles was signed by King John at Runnymede near London on June 15, 1215. Brokered by the Archbishop of Canterbury and meant to rein in rebellious barons, without any sincere intent John was simply playing for time to consolidate his despotic rule. Contrary to popular belief Magna Carta did not initiate the decline of feudalism but did establish the principle in the than western world that everyone including the king was subject to the law. The guaranteeing of the right to justice and a fair trial to any individual were already articulated and implemented in Islam as articles of faith 500 years earlier.

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COMBATING CORRUPTION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE

Transparency International’s (TI) 2017 report ‘People and Corruption: Asia Pacific” voices concerns across the globe about growing inequality, poverty and exclusion of the most vulnerable. As a diverse and rapidly developing region, “it is essential that the countries in the Asia-Pacific region achieve sustainable and equitable development – this can only be done by ensuring that public decision-making promotes the common good. Corruption undermines this, as it distorts democratic processes and promotes private over public interests”. Ranked among the highly corrupt countries in TI’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for a straight 22 years (1995-2016), corruption in Pakistan derails governance by being deeply entrenched in almost all State organs and in public institutions. Effective anti-corruption has failed to be implemented because the role of the State’s anti-corruption bodies is wanting and questionable.!–more–>

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A FLAWED SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE

A Muslim majority State was envisaged by its founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to ensure conducive conditions for the Muslims of British-India for socio-economic, cultural and religious development. Pakistan geographically being situated at the fringes of former British-India, many of the features inherited from the British and the lack of basic infrastructure made its beginning difficult and prone to adhoc arrangements, institutions were thus weakly developed. Pakistani society remains characterized by pre-modern social structures such as castes, biradaris and tribes that rely on age-old alternative judicial institutions like jirgas or panchayats and laws about how to uphold ‘honour’. Feudal landholding regards peasants and other villagers as property of the landowner is another problem. Seventy years later the Quaid’s vision is far from being fulfilled.

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HYBRID WARFARE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in line with Pakistan’s action plan agreed with Financial Action Task Force (FATF), continues to be a serious problem. The Oct 31 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Partnering Against Corruption Initiative” (PACI) Fall Meeting in Geneva agreed that without conforming to international standards there can be no effective implementation of laws. Without adequate proof of assets and money trail it is almost impossible to prove a crime in court when our methods and tools of investigation in the emerging countries remain outdated. Developed countries, where most of the ill-gotten money/assets reside, pontificate endlessly about adhering to the “rule of law”, where is the morality of not practicing what they preach by not cooperating in implementing the laws on their own statute books? The prosecution process being weak is further compounded by our criminal investigations/indictment invariably being waylaid by political influence and/or outright bribery.

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LETTING A 100 DAMS BLOOM

For a country blessed with many rivers, the perennial scarcity of water in Pakistan is because of the shortage of storage capacity. While problematic presently, a full blown crisis is not so far in the distant future. While all provinces face shortages of water, Balochistan stands out as the most affected. This looming disaster can […]

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