Lahore attack latest attempt to silence Pakistan’s minorities

A Pakistani Christian lights up a candle to mourn the victims of suicide bomb attack in Lahore Pakistan, 29 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Rosita Armytage, ANU

The public park targeted in the recent suicide bombing in Lahore was popular with families. It is one of the largest green spaces in the city; a place where middle- and working-class Pakistanis go to picnic, exercise and play with their children. The attack targeted Christians — a predominantly working-class community in Pakistan — who were celebrating Easter. Yet most of the 72 people killed were middle- and working-class Muslims.

Read more…

Breaking the deadlock between India and Pakistan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, at the airport in Lahore, Pakistan on 25 December 2015. The historic visit followed an agreement earlier that month to initiate a comprehensive dialogue process. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

South Asia is one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. At 5 per cent, trade shares among South Asian neighbours are lower than trade shares among Sub-Saharan African economies. This is largely because the region’s two biggest players — India and Pakistan — do not have normalised economic relations. Read more…

Realising the potential of India–Pakistan trade

A man carries a sack of flowers after buying it at a wholesale market in Bangalore, India on 29 February 2016. Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is currently far below its potential, despite the considerable benefits increased trade would bring to both countries. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mohsin Khan, Atlantic Council

Even though India and Pakistan are both members of the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA), trade between them is strikingly small. Total trade between the two countries averages only US$2.5 billion a year. Currently, Pakistan accounts for less than 0.5 per cent of India’s trade and India represents little over 3 per cent of Pakistan’s total foreign trade. Read more…

Why has SAFTA failed to boost Pakistan–India trade?

Authors: Nasir Iqbal, BISP, and Saima Nawaz, COMSATS

Pakistan’s trade with India leaves much to be desired. The volume of bilateral trade is very low, ranging between only 2 to 3 per cent of each country’s total trade, and is concentrated in a few commodities. Read more…

Pakistan inches towards stability

A farmer collects cauliflower harvested from a field on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, 24 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ghulam Ali, Peking University

After a dramatic end to 2014, Pakistan has gradually moved towards greater political and economic stability. This has been largely due to its successes in reducing terrorism, which injected new hopes about the country’s ability to handle crises. Read more…

Picking up the pieces in Pakistan

A Pakistani civil society activist holds candles near portraits of victims during a rally on the eve of the first anniversary of the Peshawar Army Public School attack, in Karachi, Pakistan on 15 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The bloodbath at a Peshawar school in December 2014, when Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists killed 151 people, among them 125 children, triggered a 20-point National Action Plan aimed at retribution and securing Pakistan against ongoing attack from within. Read more…

Is Pakistan’s economy out of the woods?

Employees at a garment factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan on 16 February 2015. Despite the upbeat view of the Pakistani government and the IMF, Pakistan's economy still faces significant problems. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mohsin Khan, the Atlantic Council

Looking back over 2015, there are two quite distinct views on how Pakistan’s economy has fared. The first, expounded frequently by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and supported by the IMF, is that there has been a significant turnaround in the economy and Pakistan is now basically on track to become a vibrant and dynamic emerging market economy. Read more…