The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment project, is heralded as a game changer for Pakistan’s economy and for regional cooperation more generally. As a crucial part of the major development initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR), to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the CPEC is widely linked to hopes, interests, as well as regional and global geopolitics. However, such a mega-project also raises numerous questions, especially with regards to the feasibility of its implementation, the impact on the region and, India’s stance vis-a-vis the endeavour. Therefore, this Research Paper seeks to shed light on involved interests and challenges, potential impact on regional development and makes special reference of India’s role in it.
Regionalism in South Asia has entailed the search for collective efforts to overcome mostly weak, congeneric economies, political fragmentation, socio-religious cleavages and the consequent deep-rooted conflicts between different states, especially between Pakistan and India. In order to enhance regional cooperation, for quite some time, the idea of Economic Corridor (EC) has become not only a trend in foreign policy strategies but also a buzzword in plans for stimulating economic growth as well as deeper integration of Asia’s sub-regions. This has especially been the case within South East Asia, spearheaded by the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) initiative. In South Asia, it is a more recent phenomenon that the establishment of economic corridors has gained prominence. One of the most advanced examples is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
There is life in the old dog yet! This simplistic slogan demonstrates how wrong international media and many analysts were by assessing the latest trajectories within the Taliban and the future path this movement might take. To be precise, the tendency to announce the ushered disappearance of the Taliban, as they are commonly known on both sides of the Durand line, the much troubled Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) border, turned out to be a disastrous, consequential misunderstanding of the facts on the ground. There are no doubts that the Taliban had to face serious challenges after the fall of their Islamic fundamentalist terror regime in Afghanistan (1996-2001).Continue reading “Kunduz – Beyond the Battleground”
In witnessing the 2013 general election and the installation of a new government entrusted with a remarkable majority in vote, the people of Pakistan and many international observers thought that the time for major change had finally come. Especially the country’s neglected and repressed areas, like North Waziristan, which is part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), were hoping for significant improvement of their socio-political and economic conditions. However, after two years in power, it seems more and more obvious that the current administration of Nawaz Sharif did not intend to change the patterns of Islamabad’s decision-making in any significant policy area. Today, the country’s political arena is still determined by the unchallenged supreme role of the army, the lack of political will and capacities of civilians to implement any noteworthy reform measures, endemic corruption, and the ongoing dominance of the Punjab province and its establishment leading to the consequent side-lining of the smaller territorial entities. Continue reading “Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan”
On 15 June 2014, Pakistan‟s Armed Forces launched a major operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, which is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a remote and restive mountainous region bordering Afghanistan. The military campaign marks the end of a series of fruitless attempts to negotiate with Islamic terrorists. However, after the Jihadists continued their attacks on Pakistani soil, it seems that even Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, known for having a weakness for Islamic fundamentalism, understands that conflicts with Jihadists cannot be resolved through dialogue. In this case, the deadly attack on Karachi‟s airport a week before Zarb-e-Azb started doubtlessly triggered this turning point. Zarb-e-Azb, which means „Strike of the Prophet‟s Sword‟. Continue reading “Will North-Waziristan turn into a Jihadist hub after Operation Zarb-e-Azb again?”
After having completed its 12th Parliamentary year on March 4th, Senate Polls took place in Pakistan the following day. The Senate is the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan, also known as Majlis-e-Shura. Pakistan’s political system consists of a President and the Parliament, which comprises two houses, the National Assembly (the Lower House) and the Senate. It came into existence on 6 August 1973 after the introduction of the 1973 Constitution (especially Article 50) which was adopted on 12 April of the same year. Before, the Pakistani Parliament had only one Chamber, the National Assembly. Basically, the Senate consists of 104 members elected indirectly by the members of the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. Senate polls are held every three years for one half of the Senate and each Senator’s term lasts for 6 years. Continue reading “2015 Senate Polls in Pakistan – Urgent need for Reforms and some Recommendations”