March 26, 2017

Will Release of Top Taliban Leader Restore Peace?

(Photo by Helmand Blog, Creative Commons License)

As a remarkable sign of Pakistan’s new phase of cooperation with the Afghan peace process, Islamabad is to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a prominent Taliban leader who was in prison in Pakistan since he was captured in 2010. The Afghan government has long urged for release of Baradar as he is considered a moderate and pro-peace figure among the ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Water Woes

Tarbela Dam remains Pakistan's largest water reservoir which was built in 1974. United States has been helping Pakistan in upgrading the power generation capacity from its reservoirs. (Photo by US embassy Pakistan)

While energy shortages, economic stagnation, terrorism and religious intolerance remain in the spotlight, water shortages pose one of the most significant threats to Pakistan. Regrettably, the Pakistani discourse on the subject remains in a state of delusion and is thus misdirected. In the 66 years since independence Pakistan’s per capita water availability has declined from 5000 m3 to 1000 m3 ... Read More »

Kindling Hope in Pakistan’s Balochistan

Pakistan's Balochistan province is home to Gawadar deep sea port that is being managed by China. (Photo by  Moin Khawaja, Creative Commons License)

Contrary to belief that laws banning feudalism were first enacted in India immediately after independence (from Great Britain) in 1947, the East Bengal (later East Pakistan and today Bangladesh) State (later Estate) Acquisition and Tenancy Act 1950 meant to ban feudalism was actually drafted on 31 March 1948 and passed on 16 May 1951.  Consequently when Prime Minister Liaquat Ali ... Read More »

The Anatomy of Radicalism

Co-founder of Indian Mujahideen Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in Pokhara on August 29. (Photo via Nepal Times)

  When the Indian Mujahideen’s bomb-maker, Yasin Bhatkal, was caught in Pokhara (in western Nepal) last week (August 29), there was justifiable jubilation in India. Yasin spilled the beans on interrogation, revealing that Nepal’s scenic lakeside resort has become a hideout of choice where Indian extremists can lie low. But few know that Yasin was radicalized by what he erroneously believed ... Read More »

Cry Karachi!

Mausoleum of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. The city is home to much of Pakistan's industry and generates 71 percent of Pakistan's tax revenue. (Photo by by Kasuga Sho, Creative Commons License)

The Federal Cabinet met in the city of Karachi on the subject of “Karachi” to take “extraordinary measures to deal with the extraordinary situation in Karachi”, in the words of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. One does not doubt the urgency of the federal government or their sincerity, however one must call a spade a spade and that is missing. ... Read More »

Syria: South Asian Media Calls for Caution

Syrian soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance of the Al-Karama area in the Bab Amro neighborhood of Homs on May 2, 2012. (Photo Photo by FreedomHouse, Creative Commons License)

As President Barack Obama weighs his options on Syria, media in South Asian countries is advising caution, fearing despite all good intentions, an attack on Syria could spiral out of control. Read More »

Will Iranian Gas Resolve Pakistan’s Energy Woes?

Photo by Harald Hoyer, Creative Commons License

Pakistan's crippling energy crisis demands urgent initiatives for sustainable supply of natural gas at affordable political, economic and diplomatic cost. Is Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project worth the price Pakistan seems to be willing to pay? Read More »

How South Asia Can Benefit from Central Asian Energy Boom?

Long oil train on its way to Russia transporting oil from Kazakhstan. (Photo by Duccio Aiazzi, Creative Commons License)

In a rare assembly of representatives of governments of countries in South and Central Asia, parliaments and the private sector as well as experts from China, the US and Europe sat in Islamabad on September 1 and 2 to discuss not the security challenge but the energy promise that the region offers. Read More »

Deserts’ Photovoltaics Promise

solar energy

In the US, a vast glittering Ivanpah solar facility will be commissioned by the end of this summer. It will produce 392 megawatt electricity, making it the largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the world. In the desert near Abu Dhabi, Middle East’s first large CSP — Shams-I — has already been commissioned, producing 100MW of electricity. The Saudis have bigger and ambitious ... Read More »