Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development Cost

Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development CostDespite the official narrative in both Beijing and Islamabad, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) an ambitious US$51 billion plan to expand and upgrade Pakistan’s infrastructure that is an integral part of Beijing’s “one belt-one road” regional master strategy, is failing to yield the expected results.   With China-Pakistan bi-lateral trade tilting heavily to the former’s…

Polio Nearly Eradicated Despite Pakistani, Afghan Suspicions

Polio Nearly Eradicated Despite Pakistani, Afghan SuspicionsHuma Shazif had just vaccinated five children against polio in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar when gunmen attacked. They sped off on a motorbike as her colleague lay dying on the ground after being shot in the abdomen, while she was hit three times in the leg. "It was painful,” she told IRIN. “I had…

A Tide of Immigrants in the UK’s Birmingham

A Tide of Immigrants in the UK’s BirminghamThe television news has just broken the news of the murder of 86-year-old French priest Father Jacques Hamel while he was saying Mass. I walk outside to one of the main commercial streets in central Birmingham. A man walks over; around his waist is a banner reading “Ask Me about Islam.” “Can I interest you…

Little Hope for India-Pakistan Détente

Little Hope for India-Pakistan DétenteThere is no prospect of India and Pakistan coming to terms and settling their border differences in the foreseeable future, certainly not in the lifetime of the two countries’ present governments and probably not for much longer. Efforts to improve the relationship in other ways will also be precarious and uncertain. That has been clear…

China’s US$46 billion Gift to Pakistan

China’s US$46 billion Gift to PakistanThe one thing to take away from the visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan is that both are in trouble diplomatically if they have to regard each other as their closest friends in Asia. Even by its standards of official largesse, China’s offer of US$46 billion for road, rail, energy and other investments in…

Pakistan’s Afghan Conundrum

Pakistan’s Afghan ConundrumWhat if what’s been called the world’s most unstable and dangerous country were to take over the destiny of one of the world’s most impoverished, insecure and fragmented ones? The 13-year Afghan war is expected to wind down this year with the departure of the bulk of NATO troops, with the likelihood that Pakistan will…

China Expands its Regional Reach

China Expands its Regional ReachThere is little more graphic evidence of the tightening hold of China on a hinterland well beyond its borders than the takeover in 2013 of Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which they assumed control over last year to serve commercial traffic to and from the Central Asian states and Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, China,…

Pakistan’s polio fight goes under the radar

Pakistan’s polio fight goes under the radarA few torn remnants of a government poster advertising an anti-polio drive conducted in 2012 are still visible on the gate of Sajjida Bibi’s house, and the impression given to passers-by is that years of vaccination drives have come to an end. Bibi has delivered polio vaccines to children for over 12 years as part…

Pakistan’s Missing Middle Class

Pakistan’s Missing Middle ClassIn most countries, it is the middle class – the bourgeoisie – who form the bulwark against radicalism because of their vested interest in property, business and the country’s institutions. In Pakistan, what middle class there is, and there isn’t much, is fragmented and almost irrelevant, which spells danger. Only 17.33 percent of the population…

Karachi: Burning and Dying

The spate of violence that has engulfed Karachi, Pakistan's chaotic commercial and economic hub, has come to resemble in many ways the lawlessness of the tribal areas, giving it the dubious distinction of being known as the world's most dangerous megacity. Armed gangs operate with impunity and without fear of detention, holding hostage the city,…
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