Hassan Javid

  • TWhatever else might be said about the current PTI government, it cannot be denied that its first few months in office have been wildly entertaining (albeit in morbid, dark kind of way). When the government’s representatives are not fulminating against their predecessors, loudly vowing to ...

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  • TOne of the more interesting, if counter-intuitive, facts about many civil wars and ethnic conflicts is that the number of combatants involved is usually much smaller than is often assumed. In Rwanda and Bosnia, for example, it was not uncommon for small groups of perhaps a few dozen well-armed men ...

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  • TIt is a pattern that has become all too familiar. An utterly innocuous occurrence, one that would pass without any mention whatsoever in virtually any other part of the world, ignites a moral panic of apocalyptic proportions, sending with raging fanatics frothily baying for the blood of those whose ...

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  • TNumbers are thrown about with gleeful abandon; $10 billion is laundered every year, $200 billion is stashed abroad, $180 billion exists to be spent on housing, $30 billion is about to be invested by one company. As the figures fly thick and fast, they are met with the cacophonous applause of the ...

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  • TThis is now starting to get out of hand. After a series of weeks in which the government and the courts have outdone themselves in their efforts to silence dissent and stifle free expression, flinging allegations of treason at political opponents, journalists, and ordinary people who merely ask ...

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  • TIt has been a fascinating few weeks in American politics. Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative federal judge nominated by Donald Trump to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court, has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by three separate women, all of whom claim that the ...

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  • TCredit should be given where it is due. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement that his government would work to provide citizenship to Afghan and Bengali refugees in Pakistan is a welcome one, and the proposal will go some way towards addressing the blatant injustice and marginalisation ...

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  • TA populist leader comes to power promising to disrupt a moribund status quo dominated by corrupt and out-of-touch elite. On the campaign trail, this leader vows to resolve one of the most pressing problems facing the nation by investing in a massive infrastructure project. Critics of the plan decry ...

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  • TWell, that did not take long. Just two days after the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry took to the airwaves to demonstrate that the PTI has a spine, defending its decision to appoint Atif Mian to the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), the government showed its true colours by backtracking and ...

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  • THere we go again. Somewhere in Europe, a group of far-right demagogues decide that the best way to win support is to dress hate up as free speech and draw blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), knowing full well that their provocation will generate a backlash that will allow them to cast ...

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  • TIt is a familiar script. Two groups of young men get involved in an altercation. Things get heated, tempers flare, and there is an eruption of violence leaving injuries and property damage in its wake. This is what happened on Eid in Faisalabad earlier this week, when around 30 people were injured ...

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  • TIn a recent study published in the American Political Science Review, academics from Harvard, Stanford, and UC San Diego estimated that the Chinese government employs hundreds of thousands of people to pose as ordinary users and post 448 million comments on social media a year. The study argues ...

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  • TWhat seemed inconceivable a year ago has come to pass. With its leader and his daughter in jail for corruption, its government dissolved, electoral candidates defeated, and ranks in disarray, the PML-N increasingly looks like a spent force destined to fade into political irrelevance. If the results ...

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  • TIn trying to understand the outcome of the July 25 elections, there are two narratives that have been advanced by the winners and the losers respectively. For the former, the PTI’s emergence as the largest party in parliament after capturing 117 seats is nothing less than the triumphant ...

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  • TSomething remarkable happened this week. During a corner meeting in his constituency, social activist and electoral candidate Jibran Nasir was confronted by a group of angry provocateurs who demanded that he declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslims and, furthermore, hurl abuse at that entire community. At ...

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  • TIf there is one good thing to be said about the events of the past few weeks, it is that the façade has finally crumbled and even the pretense of the elections being free and fair is no longer sustainable. For those willing to see, the writing has been on the wall for some time; the ...

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  • TWhy is Nawaz Sharif’s conviction by an accountability court so troubling? Why is it that people with impeccable democratic credentials and a history of fighting for the rule of law find it worrying that the former Prime Minister and current head of the PML-N has been sentenced to ten years in ...

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  • TUsually, by this point in time, the contours of the contest have been relatively clearly defined. Candidates have been awarded tickets, manifestos have been published, and leaders have taken to the streets of Pakistan as they swing into campaign mode. There are always some issues that continue to ...

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  • TIt’s a tale as old as time. Idealistic man decides he wants to change the system, is frustrated by the structure of the system and the hurdles in puts in the way of challenging the status quo, decides to fight the system by using its own weapons against it, and in doing so becomes the same as ...

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  • TThis week, three women were in the news for three very different reasons but were nonetheless subjected to the same depressingly familiar torrent of abuse and misogyny that tends to be directed towards women who step out of line in the Land of the Pure. Excerpts from Reham Khan’s forthcoming ...

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  • TThe completion of the current parliament’s tenure is an important milestone in Pakistan’s consolidation of democracy. For only the second time in the country’s history, a democratically elected government has been able to serve its term and lay the ground for a peaceful transfer ...

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  • TThe past few years have not been kind to the political polling industry. The election of a conservative government in the UK in 2015, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and the Brexit vote are the most visible and high-profile examples of how pollsters have failed to forecast ...

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  • TRamzan in Pakistan is always a time of contradictions. Fasting is ostensibly meant to be a test of both patience and piety, with those who do it being expected to demonstrate moderation in their behavior; in addition to all of the prayer and worship, those who fast are told to control their ...

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  • TFrom the very beginning, Pakistan’s politics has been characterised by the tension between a state that has sought to consolidate and centralise its power, and federating units that have tried to gain greater autonomy and freedom. This tension has manifested itself in several ways, from the ...

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  • TAll bets are off. Conventional wisdom suggests that the 2018 elections should have been a walkover for the PML-N. Indeed, until a few months ago, there would have been few observers willing to suggest otherwise; a stranglehold on the networks of patronage and influence in Punjab, the gradual ...

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  • TConsider the following: Under Pakistan’s notorious Hudood Ordinances, women accused of adultery or fornication could be arrested without the need to provide any supporting evidence to corroborate the allegation. Under the same laws, promulgated during the Zia years, women who had been raped ...

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  • TAcademics across the country are receiving threats from unknown numbers and anonymous callers. At least one, Ammar Jan, has been removed from his position at Punjab University for his efforts to raise the political and social awareness of his students. In a similar and not unrelated set of ...

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  • TIt’s not quite the same as the 1990s, but there are plenty of signs to suggest Pakistan returning to the tumultuous politics of those troubled times. For those whose memories of that period are hazy, it is worth recalling precisely how the nascent democratic order that was first put in place ...

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  • TOne curious feature of elections in Pakistan is the relative absence of programmatic campaigns put forward by political parties. Programmatic politics is based on the idea that parties win support by making policy promises, often rooted in their manifestoes, that they would then be expected to ...

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  • TPredicting the future has never been a particularly easy thing to do. History is littered with the ignominious pronouncements of experts who spoke too soon on issues ranging from technology to politics and if there is one thing that is certain, it is that change can come from unexpected directions. ...

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