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Archive for October, 2017

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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THE BALOCHISTAN DISCONNECT

On the evening of Oct 22, 2017 as I was entering Quetta Club with a CPNE delegation for a dinner hosted by the Speaker of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly Ms Rahila Durrani, my son Zarrar sent me a whatsapp snapshot of my three grandchildren in Halloween costumes from New York. By some odd coincidence fully 65 years earlier (1952) my late sister Shahnaz (than all of 3 years old) and I went to a “Fancy Dress Party” in Quetta Club. The many security checks of a “Fortress” on the way to the Club contrasted hugely with Mrs Mahmud Jan, Mrs Irani, Mrs Leslie, my mother and others (all of whose husbands were doing Command & Staff College) riding bicycles going to and fro from Quetta Club to play tennis and squash. Doing my “Weapons and Tactics Course” in 1967 I was privileged to be invited to lunch on Sundays by Brig Mahmud Jan, Commandant Infantry School and Brig SJB Irani, Comd Quetta Log area.

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BANK FAILURE NOT AN OPTION

Over the years many highly developed economies with sophisticated markets and long functioning banking systems have faced significant banking crises or banking failures. The role of Central Banks is critical in not only preventing and/or pre-empting failures but acting to resolve matters should the bank fails. On the macro level banking failures can result in cyclical recessions and could also trigger a financial crisis. Securing depositors’ interest ensures that bank’s failure does not lead to “domino effect” resulting in systemic failure, “run” on financial institutions can have horrendous consequences for their country’s economies. Tremendous economic pressures has been force-multiplied by Pakistan being in a state of war for four decades, how has Pakistan’s banking sector managed to be so resilient?

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DOOMSDAY POLITICS

Disqualified as Prime Minister (PM) by the Supreme Court (SC) on July 28, Nawaz Sharif was forced to relinquish his position as President of PML-N. On Monday, Oct 2, 2017 the Constitution of Pakistan was made mockery of by “Election Act 2017”, an Amendment in contradiction of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Tailor-made for one individual this allowed any person disqualified from holding public office to lead political parties, no surprise Nawaz was promptly elected President PML(N) “unopposed”. Despite parliamentary debate on electoral reforms for a number of years, changing the party’s Constitution now post-haste to accommodate Nawaz’s re-election shows personal motivation, the PML(N) is not a political party but a family fiefdom.

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FAKING NEWS TO WIN

Disinformation and propaganda for achieving one’s ends by foul means is not a new phenomena. Around 320 BC Kautilya’s Arthashastra annunciated this as a state policy, in a recent times, the Pakistan Army and the ISI have borne the brunt of those lies. Perpetrators of fake news have financial, ideological or political motives. Posing a greater threat of international geopolitical concern in the age of internet, social media fake news generated by Russian outlets during the 2016 US presidential elections reportedly resulted in President Trump’s victory. Professor of Political Science Simon Hegelich of the Technical University of Munich recalls that in November 2016 the German Chancellor Angela Markel called “to know what the hell is going on.”

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