Dr. Usman W. Chohan

  • The archons of “Western democracy” have long professed the belief that liberal democratic ideals are universal and must therefore be spread across the world at any cost. Where they have not promoted the so-called Western democratic ideal, they have at least believed that it will eventually take ...

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  • The government is mulling the sale of shares in prime state-owned companies to foreign owners, and the rationale being provided is that the country must take desperate measures to avoid an imminent default. That eventuality would have far graver consequences than the country is prepared for, ...

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  • The crisis in Sri Lanka appears to deliver worse news with each passing day, as the otherwise dynamic South Asian nation faces a snowballing effect of multiple challenges. As it stands, Sri Lanka is unable to provide for even the most basic needs of its people, and the public has been roiled by the ...

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  • The 48th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which was held in Islamabad, laid an important and due emphasis on collective effort towards solving the problems of the Ummah as a whole, as encapsulated by the theme of “Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development.” This included ...

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  • The former chair of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, attempted in his mea culpa, The Map and the Territory to explain why central banks failed to foresee the 2008 financial crisis, and argued that the frameworks and knowledge that the Fed drew upon (the “map”), did not and could not ...

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  • As the new National Security Policy (NSP) unequivocally states, geoeconomics is the new paradigm through which Pakistan will shape its security calculus. As a whole-of-government document, the NSP directs the entirety of the state machinery to work towards the realisation of the country’s ...

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  • The dissemination of critical information about natural disasters, including pandemics, is premised on international cooperation with transparency and good faith. This requires countries to alert the world as soon as they can about the dangers posed by new pathogens and their variants, so that ...

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  • There is a prominent theory in the public administration known as public value (PV) which, put simply, argues that politicians, bureaucrats, and civil society must work together to create value for the wider public, while also reflecting the values of the public. My previous three books have ...

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  • There is a rich body of scholarship in the fields of economics and public policy around the idea of path dependency, which seeks to explain how policies maintain a secure equilibrium, until the point that they are disrupted by an unusually powerful exogenous force. This force creates a ...

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  • In both India and Pakistan, there are voices that advocate for better trading ties as a “win-win situation,” arguing that economic rapprochement is either (1) a circuitous route to normalising relations which bypasses political hurdles, or (2) a simpler and more efficient path to ...

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  • In recent months, it has been frequently discussed in economic and media circles across South Asia that Bangladesh has surpassed India and Pakistan on the basis of GDP per capita. Having recorded many years of high GDP growth, driven largely by an export-oriented garment sector, its incomes have ...

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  • The National Accounts Committee (NAC) recently signed off on an annualised projected GDP figure for the current fiscal year of 3.94 percent, which seems astounding to many. Aside from technical aspects of the accounting process, the surprise was attributable to factors such as: weariness from the ...

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  • Pakistan’s salaried class serves the role of a steadied backbone in our otherwise rough-and-tumble economic life. Their salaries are subject to taxation that offers the slimmest modicum of tax effort in a country with a worryingly small tax base and unsound fiscal health. The salaried class ...

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  • The funeral pyres are burning brightly across India these days, as 300,000 daily cases and nearly 3000 daily coronavirus deaths are being reported in the official statistics. Given that there is persistent under-reporting and a chronic manipulation of the coronavirus statistics, one should multiply ...

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  • “Apart from winning the war, there is no task facing society today so important as the elimination of economic insecurity,” wrote the famed economist Abba Lerner in 1943, as ideas of how to grapple with both traditional and non-traditional security threats were being considered in the ...

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  • The first Islamabad Security Dialogue (ISD) was conducted in mid-March 2021 with the aim of drawing upon national and international thought-leaders to discuss how Pakistan’s national security calculus should more accurately reflect the nation’s multidimensional and interrelated security ...

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  • The notion of central bank independence (CBI) is both sensitive and complex, driven not just by a local economic context but by larger international “conventional wisdom” on what monetary authorities should do. In Pakistan, the ongoing efforts to make the State Bank a truly autonomous ...

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  • The flame of hatred towards the Mussalman has long simmered in India. It has always radiated intensely in the backdrop of Indian society, as structural violence and systemic discrimination. At times, however, it has boiled over into open and unrestrained violence against the Muslim minority. The ...

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  • In the global vaccine drive against Covid-19, which began around the world in late 2020, developing countries came to find themselves at a considerable disadvantage in the procurement and distribution of dosages to their populations. This was attributable to several factors, including: the resource ...

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  • On February 26, 2019 the Indian Air Force (IAF) engaged in a hasty misadventure against Pakistan, and was met with an immediate and impeccably executed response that later came to be known as Operation Swift Retort.In the heat of that confrontation, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down Indian ...

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  • As tensions between the United States and China have simmered in recent years, scholars and strategists have sought to frame the contemporary rivalry between both powers in a wider historical context. The frequent temptation of Western scholars is to refer to the work of Thucydides on the ...

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  • In 2020, the world waited with bated breath as pharma companies around the world raced to arrive at a workable, safe, and efficient vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19). By December, 2020, good news was coming in from various companies including BioNTech (Pfizer), Moderna, Sinopharm, and ...

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  • The convulsions of the year 2020 roiled the United States in at least two important ways: (1) they reopened the gaping wound of racial inequities in an already divided society, and (2) they worsened the fissures of economic inequality and strife in a society already characterised by vast financial ...

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  • The vitality of capitalism is premised on markets that do not exhibit distortionary behaviours, such as cartel behaviour and mass tax evasion. Yet recent examples from two major Pakistani industries, sugar and cement, indicate that they are not acting in ways conducive to vibrant markets. Major ...

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  • India’s economic growth in the early decades following independence was extremely low. Between 1950 and 1980, its economy grew on average 3.5 percent per annum, which translated into a per capita income growth of only 1.3 percent per annum. To many development economists, this appeared to be ...

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  • It was recently announced by the Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary that a special programme of animation and video games would be launched to encourage young people to be part of the large and lucrative global gaming industry. This is an excellent initiative because it could ...

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  • There is a burgeoning conversation in Pakistan around the use and ownership of an asset class commonly known as “cryptocurrencies.” While heightened investor, academic, and regulatory interest in this new form of economic capital is already well-documented around the world, the ...

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  • For all the pundits who have been heralding a firm and decisive “retreat” of globalisation in the past few years, there is now a stunning counterexample of resurgent globalisation in the world. In the midst of global economic gridlock and a public health catastrophe, a large group of ...

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  • With President-Elect Joe Biden having declared victory in the 2020 presidential race, a new tenor for international economic and diplomatic engagement is likely to be set, which in Biden’s words is to “renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the free world”. An ...

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  • The violent tremors of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt across the developing world, and despite the comparative success of some developing countries in managing the immunological fallout of COVID-19, the economic burden placed by the pandemic remains dire. What is of particular concern is ...

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