No hope on the horizon for Pakistan’s myriad problems

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Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

Pakistan is in a state of discord. Its civilian governance structure is becoming corrupt and oligarchic. Its façade of democratic order belies a more tawdry reality characterised by money, patronage and cronyism, in which parliament exists to enhance the privileges of the few. Read more…

A bittersweet year for Pakistan

Children hold flags as women supporters of Pakistani political and Islamic party Jammat-e-Islami stage a protest against the Taliban militants attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, Islamabad, 26 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: S. Mahmud Ali, LSE

Pakistan in 2014 was characterised by a mixture of ongoing malaise and, in some instances, guarded optimism.

For many Pakistanis, the proudest moment came when the Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 Peace Prize to the teenager Malala Yousafzai along with India’s Kailash Satyarthi for ‘their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education’. Read more…

Pakistan’s economy still limping along

A labourer carries vegetables at the main vegetables and fruits market in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab province, Pakistan, 25 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mohsin Khan, Atlantic Council

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inherited an economy in poor shape when his government came into power in 2013. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government launched an economic plan in September 2013, with the financial and technical support of the IMF, to reverse the deteriorating macroeconomic picture. Read more…

Too little, too late? Pakistan’s counter-terrorism strategy

Pakistani soldiers gather at the site of a bomb blast in Peshawar on November 21, 2014. A bomb planted on a motorbike killed a soldier and wounded another in Pakistan's restive northwest on November 20, officials said. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Daniele Grassi, IFI Advisory

On 2 November, a suicide bombing near a border crossing between Pakistan and India killed at least 60 people and wounded dozens — marking an increase in terrorist activity in the region. Is it time for Pakistan to rethink its counter-terrorism strategy? Read more…

The future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) speaks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang (R) after visiting an exhibition of innovative technologies at the Open Innovations Forum in Moscow, Russia, 14 October 2014.  (Photo: AAP).

Author: Swagata Saha, Observer Research Foundation

China recently reaffirmed that it backs India and Pakistan becoming members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of SCO on 12 September, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for full membership for SCO observers, including India and Pakistan. Read more…

Why Pakistan’s army stands to gain from political turmoil

Pakistani supporters of cleric Tahir ul Qadri listen to his speech during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Islamabad on 17 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Vivek Kumar Srivastava, CSJM University

The political turmoil in Pakistan is approaching a decisive point. The ongoing protests led by Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri against Nawaz Sharif’s government have the potential to develop into a clash between democracy and the military. Already the crisis has given the Pakistani army greater political leverage. Read more…

Seeking accountability and failing to find it

Supporters of Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan wave flags during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament in Islamabad, 14 September 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Rosita Armytage, ANU

It started off fun. The Azadi (freedom) March led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former cricketer Imran Khan, and the Inquilab March (Revolution March) led by Tahir Ul Qadri of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) party have created a festival atmosphere in the nation’s capital of Islamabad. Read more…