M A Niazi

  • The Saudi-Qatar confrontation may seem not just an inter-Arab dispute, but an inter-Gulf one, perhaps because the hidden third party in the dispute, Iran, is a Gulf power, if not an Arab one. Another reason that the dispute looms larger than the Arab world is because it involves two Muslim ...

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  • The British election has resulted in that most unstable of results; a hung Parliament. It is so badly hung that it has produced that unstable combination, a minority government, which holds office with outside support. The last time such a government took office, back in February 1974, it tottered ...

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  • After the presentation of the federal budget, came that of the provincial budgets, starting last Friday with Punjab and ending this with Baluchistan, and showing once again that the business end of government is provincial, because that is where the real delivery of service actually takes ...

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  • Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presented his fifth budget of the current tenure with the general anticipation being that it would be an election budget. It wasn’t, at least not in the sense of doling out largesse, which could have come in the form of tax relief, expenditure on public goods, and ...

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  • Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has been to China before, and has not just visited Saudi Arabia, but spent his exile there, but never before have his visits meant meeting such powerful people. For once, both were multilateral visits. In China, he was attending the One Belt One Road Summit, in ...

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  • The victory of Emanuel Macron in the French presidential election was predicted, but there were so many unusual features about his election that they virtually overshadowed the result. That the win was as comprehensive as it was provided much relief to his supporters, who saw his opponent Marine Le ...

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  • For the cognoscenti, Dawn Leaks was going to be more damaging than the Panama Leaks, because it was seen by the armed forces as involving them directly, while the latter was seen more as an issue in which the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) was more invested. Though the PTI is seen as the ...

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  • The arrest of RAW agent Cdr Kulbhushan Jhadav did not seem to have set so many cats among the pigeons as his death sentence, and there seems to have been a frenetic increase in activity on the Indian side, as RAW tries its best to bring home its boy. Of course, an important part of the military ...

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  • Now that the Supreme Court has seen fit to begin the judgement in the Panamagate case with a quote from The Godfather, itself quoting from Balzac, it might be appropriate to seek among film titles for one that might encapsulate the judgement itself. Film titles, because The Godfather won fame as a ...

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  • The BJP government might have found it ironic that it was dragged further on a collision course because of someone who belonged to an Other Backward Caste, even though it is full of high-caste Hindus, but then being headed by Narendra Modi, whose own Modh Ghanchi caste is counted as being an Other ...

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  • The gas attack in Syria caused a number of reactions. The most dramatic was that it caused the USA to launch Cruise missile strikes on Syria, which was the first US military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, apart from its bombings of Islamic State targets. This intervention may have been the ...

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  • Pakistan’s decision to build a wall across the Durand Line is seemingly not connected with the Trump Administration’s decision to build one across the US-Mexican border, but the way it was announced by COAS Gen Qamar Zia Bajwa shows that there was an element of inspiration. The Durand ...

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  • The attack in London, which led to four being killed, by a single attacker, showed up a peculiarly British problem. The attacker showed that Islam can now be the vehicle for expressing rage, and how rage is the natural response among those Britons who form the underclass. In a certain respect, the ...

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  • The visit of Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad ibn Salman to the USA might well be an attempt at fence-building with Saudi Arabia’s old ally, but there are two parallel developments, one of which involves Pakistan indirectly, the other directly, which deserve to be linked with ...

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  • Though there is a clear understanding that parties will not play politics with the War on Terror, the introduction of the 22nd Constitutional Amendment and the accompanying enabling amendment to the Army Act exposed just that: that the parties are seeking partisan interests in this. It should also ...

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  • The Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit in Islamabad was not just attended by the nine members. Though much attention was focused on the failure of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to attend, perhaps of greater significance was the presence of the Chinese Executive ...

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  • The blowback of militancy suffered in the third week of February by the country was new in that it covered all four provinces. All the provinces had been hit before, and there was no new pattern to the targeting, but the closeness of the attacks showed that the rhetoric about the end of terrorism ...

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  • The PPP and the Jamaat-e-Islami are once again exploring the possibility of an electoral alliance, something which would appear to a majority of both parties’ members as an impossibility. However, whereas the two saw each other as the enemy in the country’s first election as the ...

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  • It was so distantly related to President Donald J. Trump that it almost seems unfair to link it to him. However, the attack on the Quebec City mosque, in which six men were killed, does constitute the first high-profile act of terrorism of his presidency. In addition, the accused perpetrator, ...

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  • New US President Donald Trumps flurry of activity on assuming office has been focused on foreign policy. This reflects the reality that he might have been elected because of the economic woes faced by many Americans, but those woes have been translated into a xenophobia that has meant the intrusion ...

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  • That the Panamagate case is a major one can be gauged by the number of side issues it throws up. One has been the immunity the Prime Minister enjoys for words uttered in Parliament. Actually, it has not been made clear that he enjoyed two different immunities, one as a legislator, and the other as ...

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  • Pakistan’s successful test of the Babar III, a Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SCLM), was a gamechanger in the nuclear equation in the region, and also represented Pakistan’s completion of the third leg of the Nuclear Triad (air, land and sea). By giving Pakistan second-strike capability, ...

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  • Outgoing COAS (retd) Gen Raheel Sharif’s acceptance of the command of a multi-country Saudi military coalition, or maybe just an advisership, may be viewed by many as providing a COAS with a job post-retirement, but it not only means that a Pakistani general has been plunged into the ...

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  • The return of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari to Pakistan raised memories of his wife Benazir Bhutto’s return eight years ago, which was obliquely acknowledged by his using her death anniversary rally to announce that he and his (and her) son would enter Parliament forthwith through ...

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  • One of the salient features of 2016, not just in the South Asian region but in the entire world, was how the Kashmiri freedom struggle sparked up again, and caught international attention. The flashpoint for this was the killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, himself a sort of posterboy for the Kashmiri ...

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  • The killing of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, by a Turkish riot policeman, was apparently over the role played by his country in the fall of Aleppo, but while it has been used by President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to further besmear the Gulen Network, it has also been seen as a ...

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  • That the fall of Aleppo to Syrian government forces was a serious matter was shown by the rumour that accompanied it: that women civilians belonging to the rebel side were committing suicide rather than fall into the hands of the Syrian Army, and that 20 had done so. A letter by a hospital nurse ...

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  • The Supreme Court’s dealing with the Panama Papers has run up against procedural issues. First comes the retirement at the end of the month of the head of the bench, none other than the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali. At the last hearing of the case, it was ...

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  • PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is spearheading the party’s 2018 election campaign, which marks the transition of the party from the Zardari era, choosing the partys Foundation Day Conference in Lahore to make it clear that the Zardari era is over. The PPP was founded in Lahore, which ...

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  • The presentation to the Supreme Court of a letter purportedly by a Qatari prince to the Sharif family has ended up raising more questions than it has answered, but what counts is how the letter is treated by the Court. Though not relevant to this, an apparently closely associated issue is the ...

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