Showing posts from February, 2013

Kayani bursts the bubble

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, has certainly burst the bubble of hope of the anti-democracy elements for a military coup by supporting the continuation of the democratic process and transfer of power through impartial elections, besides emphasising the army’s subservient role to a civilian government. Reportedly, General Kayani said that he “fully supports the idea of holding a free, fair and transparent election leading to a smooth transfer of power in the country”; a dream that is likely to be fulfilled very soon. Adding that “he had assured the Chief Election Commissioner of full cooperation on the matter.” He rightly maintained that “the army has stood by the democratically-elected government during the past five years” as required under the constitution and it is the voters’/people’s prerogative to choose their own representatives.

In the right direction

Courtesy:- Malik Muhammad Ashraf Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline The federal cabinet in its meeting on 30 January finally gave a go ahead for the construction of Pak-Iran gas pipeline, rejecting pressure from US and declaring it in the best interest of Pakistan. For the energy starved Pakistan, the project is of paramount importance to boost industrial production which has almost stagnated due to power shortages. Apart from the economic considerations of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, the Pak-Iran project is also a significant step in the direction of building regional linkages.

The balance sheet

Courtesy:- Malik Muhammad Ashraf A look at the performance of the government The PPP-led coalition is poised to complete its mandatory five-year tenure and the country looks well set to witness a smooth transition of power through ballot for the first time in its history, notwithstanding the fears being expressed for a possible delay in the elections by some quarters. Perhaps it is an appropriate time to have an incisive look at the achievements and failures of the government during this period; in other words to have a glance at its balance sheet.

Economy growing despite hiccups

Courtesy:-   S Rahman State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), like many other federal reserves or central banks of other countries, is one of the pivotal, independent setups whose judgment on economic performance is considered to be highly authentic. The report published by SBP for the year 2011-12, that appeared on Jan. 30, 2013, has painted a mixed picture of national economy but it is not without hope as some strong, positive indicators have also been recorded in the report like, for instance, the 3.7 % GDP growth which, though is less than the targeted 4.2% mark, is an indicator of economy’s vertical growth, especially in a complex situation that the country is facing vis-à-vis terrorism-driven insecurity and the concomitant isolation in the global market (although PPP leaders especially President Asif Ali Zardari’s good image abroad, has undone this isolation considerably).

Afghanistan: beyond 2014

Courtesy:- Nazea Jabeen  On January 11, 2013 President Obama and his Afghan counterpart Karzai reached key agreements regarding the future of Afghanistan. The salient features of this agreement are as follows: the troops of US and NATO allies will be replaced by Afghan forces during Spring, the whole transition will be completed by the end of next year 2014 but the residual forces will remain in Afghanistan with the condition that U.S forces will have legal immunity and economic transition will be focused on developing human capital growth based on private sector, entrepreneurs and Afghan’s natural wealth. It also includes that the process of reconciliation will be continued with Taliban with support from regional countries including Pakistan. Pakistan being the primary stakeholder is very important as far as the future of Afghanistan is concerned.