September 24, 2017

A Scenic Drive Through Nepal’s History

A section of Prithvi Highway in Nepal. (Photo by william Veerbeek, Creative Commons License)

Nepal’s highways get a lot of bad press, sometimes justifiably so. But beyond Kathmandu’s potholed roads and the permanently cratered Naubise section of the Prithvi Highway, the roads are pretty good (the 108 mile long highway connecting Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and Pokhara, a tourist city in the western part of the country). Nepal is better known for trekking, but driving holidays ... Read More »

US Drone War: The Need For A New Story

Protesters oppose US drone war at a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, early this year. (photo by Fibonacci Blue, Creative Commons License)

  There are competing narratives about the US’s drone war in the Waziristan area, a bastion of militants. These narratives have so far failed to gain traction in the public, inside Pakistan and elsewhere. The Pakistani narrative goes like this: the drone attacks are a violation of our national sovereignty. They kill innocent people, including women and children, as collateral ... Read More »

Killing the Talib(an) Within

(Photo from video)

Will Durant says that whenever there is a turning point in the history of a people we always see a lofty character at the turn it takes. Pakistan, especially its northwest, is passing through the worst of its times but we don’t see any lofty character. A lunatic fringe is hell-bent on dragging the whole society by its hairs to ... Read More »

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 »