PAKISTAN’S population has probably crossed 200 million as we enter 2017. This year the country will complete 70 years of existence. By the time it reaches 100 years its population will approximate 400m.
The biggest question that awaits us in 2017 is whether we will move ahead as a country or go two steps back. In the past, we have moved backwards owing to short-sighted policies of our leaders. We hope the coming year will be different.
There was a time, not long ago, when Patrade utopia of CPEC will remain incomplete if India is kept outkistan blamed America for acts of terrorism inside Pakistan. After its flawed “strategic depth” made shipwreck and America got together with India against China in the region, Pakistan took a close look at what India was doing in Afghanistan and joined the dots. It accepted that Pakistani Taliban ensconced in Afghanistan were killing people inside Pakistan but added the more dangerous detail about India actually funding the Taliban.
If what they’re saying is true, that the government is moving to ‘abolish’ the regulators and practically take over all their functions, then it will be an unmitigated disaster for each of the sectors involved. But, at the moment, nothing of the sort has happened. Most of the people raising a hue and cry about this agree that the main regulator at stake is Nepra, the power sector regulator that is currently in the thick of deciding the fate of billions of dollars worth of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Following the shocking result of the Brexit referendum in the UK, the Supreme Court of England and Wales recently heard an appeal concerning the lawfulness of the UK government’s intention to serve notice of its to leave the European Union under the powers of the Royal Prerogative, rather than through an Act of Parliament.
Past master in wheeling and dealing Asif Ali Zardari, has ended his self-exile and is back in the country in the hope of turning the political tide. His decision to go back to the National Assembly along with his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has surprised even his supporters. His presence in parliament will certainly have a significant impact but it is not likely to change the political dynamics at work in the country.
This week, our defence minister Khawaja Asif directed a nuclear threat to Israel in response to a news report that quoted the Israeli defence minister of threatening to “destroy [Pakistan] with a nuclear attack.”
Pakistan has been inching towards a water crisis for decades. In 1951, it was a water-abundant country with an annual per capita availability of around 5,260 cubic meters (m3). By 2013, this declined to as low as 964 m3 per annum. The country is expected to become “absolute water scarce” — less than 500 m3 per capita per annum — by 2035.
Pakistan has faced multiple active terrorism threats over the past 15 years, which now constitute an existential threat to the state. In order to deal with this, Pakistan enacted an anti-terrorism law in 1997, subsequently improved to meet emergent threats through a number of amendments.
Sheikh also believes legal reforms must be paired with a concerted and coordinated effort to change, firstly, deeply held patriarchal beliefs in Pakistan, and secondly, a misinterpretation of the country's religion -- Islam.
India remians the inflexible bête-noir for Pakistan, yet there are few books by Indian authors that have sought to interpret the prodigal neighbour in a holistic, informed and empathetic manner.
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