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Archive for July, 2014

FOREIGN POLICY IMPERATIVES

The bitter hometruth about our foreign policy is that none of the major political parties can deny the opening narrative of PML(N)’s Manifesto for the 2013 election, “Pakistan today is at war within, while isolated abroad. Its independence and sovereignty stand compromised, its economic weaknesses are forcing us to go begging bowl in hand, while foreign states undertake unilateral strikes on its territory and non-state actors use it as a sanctuary to pursue their own agendas, oblivious to Pakistan’s national interests”. We have been muddling along on a “passage to nowhere” because of the self-serving agendas of both our civil and military rulers alike.

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CHINESE HIGHWAY TO ENERGY HEAVEN

Flanked by his Minister of State Abid Sher Ali and the Federal Secretary, Ms Nargis Sethi, Khawaja Asif, the Federal Minister for Water and Power, and of Defence, claimed that load-shedding was necessitated because of the rapid accumulation of circular debt to Rs280 – Rs300 billion. Some private power plants had shut down, reducing the power supply by 1500 MW and taking the overall shortfall to 7,000 MW. Forced into unannounced power outages to “save the system”, he said that the govt had framed short, medium and long-term plans to end load-shedding in the country. Strangely enough he contradicted himself at the same time by admitting his govt’s inability to remove deficiencies in the system.

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ANOTHER REKO DIQ SCANDAL?

Located in sparsely populated Chagai district in north-western Balochistan and accessible from Quetta-Zahedan highway, Reko Diq has extreme weather ranging from searing summers to freezing winters. High wind and sandstorms demobilises local activities and trade. A large low-grade copper porphyry deposit, Reko Diq has mineral resources totalling 5.9 billion tons of ore with average copper grade 0.41% and gold grade 0.22 g/ton. The economically mineable portion has been calculated at 2.2 billion tons with an average copper grade 0.53% and gold grade 0.30 g/ton.

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CHAK DE PHATTE

Waging guerilla warfare against the Mughals in the 18th century, the Khalsa Sikhs would cross the canals in the Punjab over temporary wooden bridges to launch surprise attacks, while retreating they would quickly dismantle these bridges by uprooting (Chak De) the wooden planks (Phatte) to prevent being chased. The phrase “Chak De Phatte” is commonly used now to describe “Bring the house down!” The Sikhs ruled Punjab using Lahore as their capital for about 50 years till 1849, coincidentally a little over 150 years later the Sharif family rules Pakistan in all but name from their family base in Lahore.

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