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[- IKRAM SEHGAL -]
Let the Games Begin?

The heavens have not fallen with Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Chaudhry back in the Supreme Court (SC), what is now in store for Pakistan? Two things are of positive consequence, the decision of Mian Nawaz Sharif to call off the Long March once the objective of restoration the CJ was achieved and good faith of the Zardari Govt in not allowing the likes of Salman Taseer to derail the reconciliation process by legal complications. Taseer’s shenanigans post-March 16 did give rise briefly to some speculation about Zardari’s intentions......more

It’s The Economy, Einstein

The man who actually started the privatization process competently and successfully is Hussain Lawai. Taking Muslim Commercial Bank on behalf of one of the great symbols of private enterprise, Mian Mansha, and a dozen private investors, he converted MCB into a model for privatization by making it a financial powerhouse during Mian Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure in the early 1990s. Lawai Sahib preferred to tap the great human resource within MCB and brought in almost no one from outside the bank or from abroad. If this experiment had gone wrong and had Lawai failed, there would have been no privatization of the banks. The great tragedy is that Mian Mansha and Husain Lawai fell out for disparate reasons. ....more

Now What?

Overcoming its reservations about getting involved in the political process in any manner whatsoever, the Army finally got its thought process in line with it’s responsibility to the nation. With Kayani counselling wisdom to Zardari quietly, the US kept up a drumbeat of pressure, culminating in Hilary Clinton’s late night calls to the main State and non-State actors concerned. The lawyer protest turned ugly with the police violence in Karachi, displaying far more venom a la Taseer in Lahore a day later. As Mian Nawaz Sharif boldly forced his way through the police barriers outside his home the police melted, a “silent” rebellion consequently swept through its rank and file. The manifestation of political force in the streets finally removed all roadblocks to Constitutional sanity. The snowflakes of change became a snowball, and then gathering momentum, turned into a landslide......more

Avoiding Meltdown

A comprehensive review of overall US policy by the Obama Administration notwithstanding, many independent entities have also undertaken such analysis. One such exercise is “The Strategy for Stability Afghanistan-Pakistan” by the Asia Society, appropriately labeled “Back from the Brink?” A commendable effort even at cursory glance, it needs more thorough study before commenting. Thanks to an extraordinary American called Dr Jeffrey Starr I could engage in interactive discussions in both Wash DC and in New York, it was refreshing to see both openness and candour unfortunately missing during the Bush years. Contrary views than could quickly make you an outcast, neither seen nor heard, nor heard from, this despite the enduring American penchant for “fairplay”. ...more

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