M A Niazi

  • There seems to have been a distinct shift in the Russian position on the Syrian crisis. Last Friday, its President, Vladimir Putin, said that there could be elections to solve the crisis, and that there was no guarantee that there would be a place for current President Bashar Al-Assad afterwards. ...

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  • By supporting India’s application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the USA signaled as clearly as possible that it was backing it in Asia. This move also told Pakistan that its attempt to curry favour with the USA was not going to work any longer. Of course, the US move ...

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  • It was something of a coincidence that Mian Nawaz Sharif missed the two most important speeches of the year. The first was that by the President, delivered to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, in which he reviews the year past, and talks of the year to come, including any subjects of ...

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  • The focus of the country during Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s quadruple bypass was obviously on his survival, and subsequent recovery, and not just among his supporters, but also those of his opponents who felt that the country could not afford the loss of an experienced leader, ...

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  • Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif did not reveal anything new in his speech to the National Assembly, in what was his first statement on the floor of the house about the Panama Leaks, in which he was not named, though his children were mentioned as owning offshore companies. However, his speech was ...

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  • One of the side-effects of the War on Terror are missing persons. There are the classical missing persons of Pakistan, with the security agencies using the War on Terror to make missing persons out of Baloch nationalists, as well as those who have been subject to ‘rendition’. At the ...

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  • Though Donald Trump is almost certainly going to be the Republican nominee for the Presidency, he is still accounted something of a buffoon. However, it is his very buffoonery that has brought him as far as this, enabling him to connect with the ordinary Republican voter, whose concerns he has ...

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  • The Syrian Government of President Bashar Al-Assad revived memories of the gas attacks in Damascus, which led to its being forced to divest itself of chemical weapons, with the series of bombings of hospitals in Aleppo, which is one of the strongholds of the anti-Assad forces. These bombings ...

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  • There seems to be a vague feeling that William Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, which fell last Saturday, must be a significant event, but there does not seem enough of the feeling that he helped define the world as we know it, because he played a major role; perhaps the most major; in ...

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  • The centre of gravity of the Panama Leaks is away from Pakistan. In principle, it should be in Pakistan, but the entire political leadership went to London, thus shifting attention away from their normal arena. The focus could have been on Panama, but since the Panama police had finished its raid ...

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  • The Panama Leaks scandal has rocked the world, but though one head of government has been forced by it to leave office, and others have been affected because linked, it has shown also that democracy has not handled the underlying problem, the inability of the capitalist system to handle campaign ...

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  • The visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia reflects the fact that India is trying to ensure oil supplies for its economy. However, Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is not just upsetting to Saudi rival Iran, but also old ally Pakistan.In fact, the only way India can assuage ...

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  • The visit to Pakistan by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani coincided with the arrest of Indian RAW operative Kulbhushan Yadav in Balochistan. The visit was not just drowned out by the fact of the arrest, but by the role of Iran, which had allowed Yadav entry in its port of Chahbahar, after which he ...

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  • The departure of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf abroad after his name was finally taken off the Exit Control List means that, at least until the next election, due in 2018, this particular cause of friction between the civilian government and the military, has been disposed of.General Musharraf is ...

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  • The coinciding of the dramatic return of Karachi’s ex-nazim Mustafa Kamal with the rumours of MQM supremo Altaf Hussain’s ill-health, even death, indicated that there was a massive and unsolved succession problem within the MQM. However, underneath this was the underlying problem that ...

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  • The whole episode of the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri showed that the fundamental questions raised by his hanging, and his murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, were left unanswered, and were as much likely to trouble the polity, as before the murder. The issue was not whether the punishment ...

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  • Though initially the ceasefire in Syria is holding, none of the external parties to the conflict seem likely to achieve its aims, and thus not only is the ceasefire unlikely to hold, but the next stage of the conflict is likely to see Pakistan get involved where it has previously stayed out. The ...

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  • The events following the arraignment of the President of the Students’ Union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi seemed about academic freedom, but there are also issues of patriotism involved, as well as of youthful rebelliousness.Behind the entire debate, which has convulsed ...

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  • The US primary season is well and truly on, with the first candidate selection events, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, having occurred and given whatever shape they would to the campaign. 2016 happens to be an ‘open’ year, as the incumbent President is not contesting, ...

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  • The shooting of three PIA employees demonstrating against the privatisation of the national flag carrier concentrated the attention of the nation on it, apart from allowing opposition parties an opportunity to bring obloquy onto the government for its handling of the situation. At the same time, it ...

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  • The announcement of COAS Gen Raheel Sharif that he would not seek an extension at the expiry of his term in the later part of this year begs the question of whether it would not have been better coming from a civilian authority, preferably one involved in the process of appointing a service chief. ...

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  • Pakistan has found itself involved in more issues than its policymakers would perhaps like, and certainly at this point they would find themselves stretched very thin. As the centre of attention would be the problem of keeping the Indo-Pak peace initiative on track despite the militant attack on ...

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  • Pakistan has found itself involved in more issues than its policymakers would perhaps like, and certainly at this point they would find themselves stretched very thin. As the centre of attention would be the problem of keeping the Indo-Pak peace initiative on track despite the militant attack on ...

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  • By establishing the Prime Ministers National Health Programme, the PML-N government has taken a step into the world of socialised medicine, a step away from the present capitalist model. However, presently, this is merely a baby step, for the coverage is by no means universal, nor is it unlimited. ...

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  • When Narendra Modi dropped in on the day of Mian Nawaz Sharifs granddaughter’s wedding, he moved towards meeting a goal one had heard in 1999, from a retired Indian diplomat: that the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers should feel free to drop in on the others country whenever there was ...

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  • On the 136th birth anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the most pressing political problem seems to be that of the fate of former Federal Minister Asim Hussain, who is being defended as vigorously as he is being pursued. It is perhaps a bizarre coincidence that the case has brought ...

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  • The Paris attack and the shootings in San Bernardino have caused an outburst of anti-Muslim sentiment in both Europe and the USA, respectively. Both have been reflected in mainstream rightist political gains, with the former showing in the unprecedented success of the Front National in the French ...

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  • The country has finally come to the end of the local body elections, with a number of things apparent. Perhaps most obvious is the advantage of incumbency, but in the provincial government, not the federal. The party ruling in the centre lost in the two provinces ruled by other parties, and also ...

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  • The UN Conference on Climate Change is taking place in Paris less than a fortnight after the attacks there, providing an illustration of the huge difference between the two threats of terrorism and global warming. Terrorism is happening, and everyone agrees that it is. However, one of the most ...

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  • Perhaps so much attention had never before been devoted to the visit of an Army chief to a foreign capital, as that of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif to Washington, probably for three reasons, though the ultimate result will be seen later. It is worth noting that the overt ...

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