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Showing posts from May, 2014

President’s China visit, milestone in Pak-China ties

Courtesy:- S Rahman

President Mamnoon Hussain’s recent visit to China during the CICA Summit can be aptly described as a milestone in the cordial Pak-China ties since it has provided yet another opportunity to both the countries not only to expand their ties but also diversify them.
Although the occasion was used with diplomatic sagacity to hold sideline meetings with the Sri Lankan President and UN Secretary General, as well, Pakistan’s ‘Look China’ policy reverberated quite vigorously during President Hussain’s visit. The fact is that when it comes to China, Pakistani head of state or Pakistani head of government enjoys special status over there because of which even meetings on the sidelines assume greater significance.
In the instant case too, President Mamnoon Hussain’s activities on the sidelines of the summit were multifaceted and a clear endorsement of the fact that both the countries enjoy intertwined, mutually dependable relations.

A public empowerment initiative

Courtesy:- S Rahman
Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loans Scheme should not be evaluated only in the financial perspective; it has a broader dimension: PM Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to fulfill all the mandatory state obligations.
Those who have had opportunities to interact with the Prime Minister as well as study his way of working are convinced that PM Sharif is of the firm belief that the government is duty bound to protect and promote its citizenry in all respects.
Even the concept of state authority in the eyes of Prime Minister is not that of assuming greater powers but that of rendering public service. This idea is rooted in the belief that the masses have every right to demand from the state protection against insecurity, poverty and other sufferings and inadequacies.
And this is what is meant by democracy, which means rule of the people, for the people and by the people. It is with this belief and commitment towards serving the masses that the PML-N government is announcing multipl…

Pak-Iran relations

Courtesy:- Malik Muhammad Ashraf

In the backdrop of the growing chill in relations between Pakistan and Iran, stoked by the recent abduction of Iranian border guards and the apparent foot-dragging by Pakistan in regards to fulfillment of its commitment on IP gas pipeline project, a summit level contact was absolutely necessary to smooth out differences between the two brotherly countries and recalibrate their ties in conformity with the demands of history and the emerging geo-political realities in the region. Viewed from this perspective, the recent visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Iran was quite significant and timely. Indications are that both sides have agreed to better border management and improve security measures to ensure that incidents like the abduction of Iranian guards do not recur and enhanced security at the borders leads to increased bilateral trade, which both sides resolved to boost to $5 billion. The two leaders also agreed to resurrect the IP gas project, whic…

Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Iran

Courtesy:- JAVID HUSAIN

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Iran from 11-12 May took place after an interval of more than 16 years. His last visit to Tehran as the Prime Minister of Pakistan came about in December, 1997 to attend the OIC Summit. (Regrettably, according to newspaper reports, the Prime Minister was made to say in Tehran that his first visit to Iran as Prime Minister took place in 1999!) I had the honour of serving as the Pakistan ambassador to Iran at the time. I still remember that most of the conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Khatami at that time related to the possibilities of coordination of the Afghanistan policies of the two countries. Unfortunately, the desire of the two leaders to achieve the required coordination was not fulfilled because of their inability to control the policies of their security agencies. Both Pakistan and Iran, therefore, continued their support to the Taliban and the Northern Alliance respectively till…

Punjab’s Right to Information law

Courtesy:-  M Shafiq Anjum

Sunday, May 11, 2014 - Internationally, Right to Information (RTI) is considered as a fundamental right of citizens. It is the best tool to enhance the level of good governance, transparency and accountability in a country. Under Article-19-A of Constitution of Pakistan, RTI is a constitutional right available to all citizens. Accordingly, Punjab Assembly enacted a landmark legislation “The Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013”on December 16, 2013 to ensure RTI across the Province. Its preamble clearly defines aim to promote transparency and freedom of information so as to facilitate citizens’ access to government-held records and information. The step is popularly hailed because the enactment of this law is the result of long struggle of civil society including Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP).

Future trends in Pakistan-US relations

Courtesy:- Talat Masood

Pakistan-US relations have been on the mend and set on a steady course for several months now. Military to military cooperation is running smoothly and Coalition Support Funds are flowing with relatively less hiccups. Economic assistance and support in the energy sector is substantive, especially when we look at the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu Dam projects. America remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner. Due to Washington’s backing, the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral agencies are extending support for major projects and extending loans to boost the overall liquidity position. Intelligence cooperation, too, is somewhat improving, although mutual suspicions remain. More importantly, strategic dialogue has been revived that places the relationship in a structured framework providing continuity. Adversarial reporting about Pakistan’s nuclear assets in the US and Western press is also on the decline. Both countries now desist from airing their grievances …

Defamation of national institutions

Courtesy:-  Osman Khan

How do you define defamation? It is defined as an intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person. 

Dealing with the IMF

Courtesy:- DR HAFIZ A PASHA

The third review of the IMF program is currently taking place in Dubai. This time the Ministry of Finance (MoF) will be talking from a position of strength. Foreign exchange reserves have jumped to $7 billion, a doubling since the last review. This improvement started with the receipt of a large 'gift' from a friendly country of $1.5 billion, preceded by the announcement that the Chinese EXIM bank is willing to invest a massive amount of $32 billion in the energy sector and other infrastructure projects in Pakistan. The recent success of Pakistan in selling Eurobonds of $2 billion is the last factor contributing to the big jump in reserves.