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Pakistan

Civil-military tensions are not a new development in Pakistan. We have lived with this phenomenon for decades and have seen four spells of military rule. Civil-military tensions, which until recently had been largely underground, have now started to come out in the open.

 

This new year has started with quite a bang as far as relations between Pakistan and the US are concerned. President Trump’s provocative tweet accompanying the US decision to withhold coalition support funds to Pakistan has caused significant consternation amongst our policymakers.

 

Angered by the killing of an American soldier by terrorists in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump let off the first Twitter salvo of 2018 bringing into sharp focus Washington's $33-billion problem of Pakistan and Islamabad's ties to terror and anti-American activities.

 

Although the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was developed far back in 1959 in Ireland, it was the ‘Chinese miracle’ in Shenzhen that sold the concept to the world. Once a small fishing village, Shenzhen now is as populous as Lahore but with GDP as high as that of Pakistan, depicting remarkable productivity.

 

The Security and Exchange Commission’s (SECP) notification aimed at imposing restrictions on all groups and individuals from collecting funds from listed companies can be seen as state’s response to international pressure to isolate such outfits and individuals and hamper their activities through every possible means.

 

Few acts of legislation have raised such an intense debate in recent years as the Election Act of 2017. The focus of the debate has, however, been diverted away from the core issue of electoral reform.

 

A news report published in the Indian Express reveals that the National Security Advisors (NSA) of Pakistan and India met on December 26th of 2017 in Bangkok, capital of Thailand.

 

Pakistan’s future also depends on the way the country is perceived by the world outside. The country’s narrative needs to change. It is viewed negatively by the world at large in part because of the way Pakistanis themselves view their present and their future.

 

The much-delayed and agonised passage of the 24th Constitutional Amendment means that 2018 will most likely witness the third election of Pakistan’s ongoing phase of democratisation. While it is tiresome to talk about critical junctures in a country accustomed to hearing about them for 70 years, the importance of the upcoming polls cannot be understated.

 

Afghanistan remained a key diplomatic challenge for Pakistan in 2017, with various strategic, security, economic and internal political implications. The US pressed Pakistan hard for the desired level of cooperation but China not only eased this pressure, it also helped Islamabad reduce the trust deficit with Afghanistan.

 


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