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A MATTER OF SHAME

That the wolves would soon be at the door should not have surprised anybody, what is surprising is that Imran Khan’s people were not better prepared to deal with the hungry pack left out in the political cold. Despite the losers’ calling for mass rejection of the alleged July 25 election rigging, they failed to mobilise the streets. Fazlur Rahman’s vociferously fulminated that the new National Assembly (NA) would not be allowed to go into Session, it did (without him). In an act of sheer hypocrisy he tried being elected from the same platform he condemned, what’s new? Subsequently when the “helicopter to Banigala” story failed to take traction, Usman Buzdar’s selection as the Chief Minister (CM) Punjab was made a point of contention. Barely 12 days into governance incomplete staff homework led to the “Dr. Atif Mian” fiasco. The opposition has been milking this heaven-sent opportunity for all its worth.

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EURASIAN REAL POLITIK

Europe and Asia are geographically one land mass, British geographer Sir Halford J. Mackinder maintained as far back as 1904 that whoever controlled the Eurasian heartland would control the world. Soon after, Nicolas Spyman countered with the thesis that whoever controlled Eurasia’s rim would control the heartland and the world. China’s Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) enterprise of six economic corridors shifts the global developmental initiatives from the Indian and Pacific Oceans to the Eurasian mainland.

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THE CPEC STORY

With the Pacific Ocean dominated by the US and Japan while the Indian Ocean by the US (conceivably along with its new ally India), China has to turn to its centuries old land routes. As far back as the 11th century, Genghis Khan was exhorting his generals not to depend upon the seas but upon merchants and land routes for trade. In 1941 Japan went to war being denied sea access to sources of raw material in South and Southwest Asia. An efficient network of land, sea and air passages in Asia, Europe and Africa, that would not be prone to intervention by hostile powers during times of crisis, the “One Belt one Road” (OBOR) strategic initiative was thus launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.

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OUR “ON-OFF” RELATIONSHIP

It is easy now to criticize Pakistan’s leaders of the 50s for becoming a member of the Baghdad Pact in 1954, could our armed forces have repelled any concerted attack without being equipped in the 50s and 60s with US arms and equipment, particularly with India having weapons assiduously supplied by the Soviet Union?

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PAKISTAN “FATIGUE”

The periodic ups and downs in US-Pakistan relationship, alternating approximately in 10 years cycles since 1971, has had us going from being the “cornerstone” of US foreign policy to being its “gravestone”. Do the decision makers at our highest levels at various institutions of state have a coherent strategy in place that they do not want to share with us or are they being simply complacent?

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LEST WE FORGET

The pulsating cheering crowd in the National Stadium Karachi for the PSL Final, and subsequently for the three international T20s, underscored the return of peace to a city (and country) torn by internal strife. Bereft of any sports spectacle and living in cold fear for life and limb of their (and their families) because of open-ended threats from terrorists, political, religious and the criminal kind, the people of Karachi had very good reason to celebrate, both their “freedom” and Pakistan’s return from sports “exile”. When the speakers playing the National Anthem failed during its rendition before the start of the match, the entire audience spontaneously started singing the anthem, could anyone have stage-managed patriotism better?

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THE “INDIRECT” FRAUD

The ruling coalition says the Senate elections has been ‘stolen’ from them, the Opposition panel winning far more votes than expected. You can ‘steal’ things from a person only when he owns it, did Nawaz Sharif already “own” the Senate before the elections actually took place? Having purchased the votes are they now upset that they didn’t get their money’s worth? With Nawaz Sharif’s (and Maryam’s) very unique and weird understanding of democracy that election results prove court judgments right or wrong, they have every reason to be shocked by the opposition winning. That logic would confirm that the judiciary was right in disqualifying him! This Senate controversy has been force-multiplied by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by conveniently bailing out the PML-N candidates by letting them run as “independents”. What rot! With their nomination papers being subject to challenges, is the Senate legally constituted?

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MUTINY BY THE BLUE-EYED

Arrested on Feb 22 by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for corruption in the Ashiana Housing scandal under Section 2 of the Schedule of NAO, 1999, Ahad Cheema, formerly Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Chief and now heading Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Limited, had failed to appear before NAB twice despite summons. Showing flagrant disrespect for the rule of law this BPS-19 officer rudely questioned with rank insolence NAB’s laws, competence, etc. This blatant arrogance is a sorry manifestation of having Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, newly elected Interim President PML (N), as a most powerful patron.

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COURAGE BEYOND COMPARE

On Feb 13 at about 1210 hours an armoured cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicle of a private security services company was parked outside the Tarnol branch of Meezan Bank in Islamabad to pick up cash amounting to Rs. 14 million from the bank . As the two security guards, Supervisor Muhammad Afsar and Armed Guard Muhammad Safoor Khan came out of the branch carrying two satchels full of money, they were attacked by five dacoits. Safoor (a former NCO from Air Defence), who was carrying the satchels, received a bullet in his chest when fired upon at point blank range (a later autopsy showed the bullet wound tearing the side of his heart). As the dacoits tried to snatch the bags he turned even though gravely wounded, ran towards the bank branch with the satchels containing the money in his hand. The critical injury notwithstanding, his first instinct, developed through weeks of pre-job training and hundreds of hours of valuable experience gained while on the job, was to carry out his assigned mission of protecting his responsibility at all costs. Safoor collapsed and died just 20 feet short of the door of the bank. What words can describe this selfless attempt to fulfil his prime mission?

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PAKISTAN BREAKFAST AT DAVOS 2018

Truly independent and impartial the World Economic Forum (WEF) is not tied to any special interests or groups. WEF’s Annual Meeting at Davos presents a unique once-a-year opportunity bringing together the world’s most prominent politicians, Heads of State and/or govt, business and industrial leaders, policy makers, academics and scholars, scientists, philanthropists, social workers, media personalities, […]

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