July 22, 2017

No Lessons Learnt in Flood-hit Pakistan

Pakistan floods

Once again, the havoc caused by the recent rains have exposed the lack of proper disaster management in Pakistan. It has not built any water reservoirs since the Tarbela and Mangla dams were built in the 1960s and 70s. Meanwhile, India has built hundreds of dams, reservoirs and barrages to provide water to its desert areas over the past four decades. As a result, India has the capacity to store enough water for 100-120 days, while Pakistan can only store 25-days worth of water. Read More »

Concept of National Security Pakistan Needs

(Photo by junaidrao, Creative Commons License)

Globalization has made national borders irrelevant, with wide-ranging changes in the concept of national security. Rather than the military securing territorial space, security policy is now evaluated more in terms of human, economic and cultural terms. Read More »

South Asia Needs to Face up to Water and Energy Dilemma

India’s annual water withdrawal is the highest in the world, but its water productivity is one of the lowest. (Image from Greenpeace via thethirdpole.net)

South Asia’s water and energy crises are deeply intertwined. Growing energy demand drives water shortages and lack of water fuels power outages. Regional cooperation – such as power trading between countries – could ease tightening resource constraints but such solutions have been largely scuppered by political suspicions. Read More »

Reforming Pakistan’s Electoral System

(Photo by Olaf Kellerhoff, Creative Commons License)

Fundamental reform of Pakistan's electoral process must reflect true democracy starting from the grassroots level. Whether Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri get elected or not is of no consequence, history will record their contribution as catalysts for wholesale and meaningful change. Read More »

Pakistan’s Sharif on Course to be Undone Again

Two main characters of Pakistan's ongoing political drama Imran Khan (left) and embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The protests in Islamabad may have left Nawaz Sharif’s government in place for now, but they have also put his politically ruinous character flaws on display for all to see. Whatever forces are actually driving the expressions of popular outrage at his government, Sharif’s third attempt at running Pakistan is increasingly going the way of his first two. Read More »

Securing Pakistan’s Democracy?

Opposition supporters clash with police on Islamabad's Constitution Avenue on August 31st.

Though some say that the army is behind the current unrest, the generals do not seem intent on taking over a direct administrative role. But if the political protagonists cannot be brought to resolve their differences through processes that show respect for democratic process, the military is unlikely to watch from the sidelines. Read More »

Modi’s Set the Bar for Talks With Pakistan Far Too High

(Image by Global Panorama, Creative Commons License)

India’s Pakistan policy is confused. The fact that Narendra Modi government jumped to the wrong conclusion about talks with Pakistan suggests two things. Either it overestimated its capacity to enforce new conditions on a politically troubled, if not enfeebled, Pakistani prime minister or it simply hasn’t clearly thought through what signals it’s sending out. Read More »

Pakistan on the Edge

Tear gas smoke visible during government's brutal crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators. (Photo via videostream)

Those who claim to defend democracy must understand that democracy is not just numbers — it is accountability, transparency, effectiveness and justice in governance, all of which are strikingly absent from Nawaz Sharif’s agenda. Pakistan thus remains on the edge. Read More »

Pakistan’s Clear and Present Dangers

Three main players of Pakistan's ongoing political drama -- Opposition leader Imran Khan, embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Dr Tahirul Qadri. (Photo via Dawn)

The ongoing political drama in Pakistan is pushing Pakistani democracy to the limits, opening doors for a direct or a more indirect military intervention. Here are two opinions on the situation. Read More »

No End to Pakistan’s Political Turmoil, for Now

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif confronting the biggest challenge to his government since coming into power last year.

For the moment, it is difficult to precisely predict the final outcome of Pakistan’s political turmoil. For Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political allies in parliament, saving Pakistan’s democracy appears to be synonymous with saving the prime minister’s job — and given the situation their stance is understandable. But judged from the many other vantage points, and going beyond the current crisis, the long-term view of the rule of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party might be different. Read More »