Volume 22 Issue 2, February 2018
By S.G. Jilanee

Pakistan is a country whose “pillars of state,” do not function properly. This is particularly true of the executive branch, which is steeped in pervasive corruption and inefficiency. Hence, there is a lack of good governance. To correct the situation, the army has frequently assumed power.

Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a human rights activist and former Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, took a leading role in the Lawyer’s Movement in 2007. He was Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court from November 5, 1997 to May 4,1998; and was moved to the Supreme Court in 1998. During his tenure as Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, a large number of sou moto actions were taken. SouthAsia’s Khawaja Amer sat down with him to talk about the most burning question of the day, “Must Judiciary Intervene?”

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Khawaja Amer
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

S. G. Jilanee

Arsla Jawaid
Dr. Ikramul Haq
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Dr. Raza Khan
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
Faizan Usmani
Huzaima Bukhari
Iqbal F Quadir
Javed Ansari
Javeria Mashal
Justice (R) M. Shaiq Usmani
Khawaja Amer
Mirza Aqeel Baig
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar
Sajjad Ahmad
S.G. Jilanee
S. M. Hali
Soha Sheikh
Syeda Areeba Rasheed
Taha Kehar
Taj Khattak

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih


Syed Ovais Akhtar

Areeb Saleem

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



By Justice (R) M. Shaiq Usmani

As per theory of Separation of Powers propounded by Montesquieu, the famous French philosopher, the salient feature of a Democracy is Trichotomy of Powers i.e three institutions, the Parliament, Executive and Judiciary are independent and separate and must not encroach upon the powers of each other. The functions of the three institutions are clearly demarcated in any Constitution of a Democracy. The Parliament makes laws, the Executive governs while the Judiciary enforces the law and decides the disputes between the citizens as well as between the provinces in a federation and between a citizen and the government authorities. The Judiciary also has the power to interpret the Constitution and other laws.

After the subcontinent, comprising chiefly Pakistan and India, managed to free itself from the shackles of British imperialism in the late forties and become independent, the two new countries were courted by the superpowers as a part of the emerging new world order. The result was that while India responded with favour to the overtures of the Soviet Union, Pakistan joined the U.S. camp and became its ally. Time came full circle when the U.S. started cozying up to India and Pakistan was all but left in the lurch despite the fact that it fought two major wars on behalf of the U.S. In the first instance, it helped drive out the Soviets from Afghanistan and was instrumental in hammering in the last nail in the USSR’s coffin. In the second – the ‘war against terrorism’ – there were no battle lines drawn and the enemy was mostly invisible – it was a different kind of war. All the U.S. and its allies knew was that they were up against an insurgency which had occurred after they wiped out the ruling force of Mullah Omar and his Taliban in the wake of 9/11.

It was as a result that Pakistan too acquired an anti-Taliban stance and became the front-line nation in the ‘war against terrorism.’ To fight this war Pakistan had to retrain its army to counter the guerilla tactics of the Taliban. Some 17 years on, with the size of the allied forces having peaked to more than 130,000 troops at one time, the war still continues. Sizeable Afghan territory was said to have been recaptured from the Taliban at one time, but now they have gained advantage and are said to control 55 percent of Afghanistan. This time they are assisted by the eastern flank of ISIS which is supposed to have been defeated in Syria and is now lending its support to the Taliban. Recent terror attacks in Kabul and the rest of the country tell a part of this gory story.

Pakistan as a frontline state appears to be stuck in the middle. On the one hand, it is a U.S. ally in the war which actually the U.S. started. It would not have been possible for the U.S. to fight the war from thousands of miles away, without Pakistan's active involvement. The U.S. utilizes all lines of communications in Pakistan – air, sea, road and rail – to run the war effort. Supplies to Kabul would otherwise simply not be possible. The US military also uses all actionable intelligence from Pakistan to get behind enemy lines. But Afghanistan is also Pakistan’s brother Muslim state and a neighbour which shares a border across which the Pashtun and Hazara tribal clans of both countries reside. Pakistan has been fighting the war at the cost of many thousands of its own military and civilian casualties. Now the entire Pakistani population is targeted by the insurgency on the Afghan side of the border. Despite Pakistan’s immense sacrifices in thousands of lives and a huge burden on the economy, all it gets from President Trump at the very beginning of 2018 is a Twitter message saying that Pakistan has engaged in lies and deceit while the U.S. has provided it $33 billion dollars in aid. In fact most of this money was nothing but reimbursement of all the services that Pakistan has been providing to the U.S. and quite a bit of it is still pending.

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan could be greatly improved if the air of mistrust that currently prevails could improve. Historically, Pakistan has deep-rooted ties with Afghanistan. Even then, Kabul has more trust in India which does not have a contiguous border with the country. When Pakistan became independent and there was a vote in the United Nations to recognize it, Afghanistan abstained. Afghanistan is a land-locked country and it must have good relations with Pakistan to benefit more fruitfully from its seaports and roads. It must also be realized that the Taliban are a force whose presence must be recognised but the U.S. says it will not involve them in any negotiations for peace.

If the U.S. aims at developing a healthy and long-term relationship in the region then it needs to sort these matters out, particularly with reference to Afghanistan-Pakistan ties. It should understand that Pakistan is an important strategic player in the region. It has a population of over 200 million, has one of the best armies in the world and it has a sizeable nuclear arsenal. The country has attracted world interest because it is a part of China’s massive BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), which makes it a key part of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). Rather than fanning hatred in this increasingly important part of the world, the U.S could dig in and share the space with other world powers instead of continuing to lose a pointless war which has already become the longest U.S. war in the world.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


Well Done Modi!

Since Narendra Modi has become India’s Prime Minister, he has been initiating numerous reforms in the country’s economic sector to turn India into a financially stable and prosperous land. From currency demonetization to introducing the Aadhar system of biometric identification, the Modi government is seriously giving a lot of attention to the economic development of India, which is no doubt a good sign for local businesses and for the people at large. Compared to the previous regimes led by the Congress, the current BJP-led government seems to be way ahead in terms of its performance, particularly when it comes to delivering results. Like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Narendra Modi is not a highly qualified economist, but the way he is leading the charge has simply outperformed the former heads of the Indian government. Well done Modi ji!

Syed Abdul Wasay,
Faizabad, India.

A New Flag

The flag of a country is supposed to be a canvas on which the nation proudly represents itself to the rest of the world. However, the case is quite different in Sri Lanka, where all nine provinces have different flags, while the national flag looks confined to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. In the presence of a national flag, sometimes it looks quite embarrassing to find different flags representing different parts of the country as if it is geographically divided on the basis of ethnicity and race, which is not true. Sri Lanka needs a new national flag that equally represents all provinces and minority groups, but at first there is a need to disown provincial flags so that the new national flag can represent Sri Lanka as a whole without any reference to ethnicity or race.

S.V.P.T. Bandara,
Ratnapura, Sri Lanka.



Hold It!

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on Saudi Arabia that is currently going through rapid political changes and socio-economic upheaval. Honestly speaking, the current situation in Saudi Arabia cannot be termed as satisfactory as these changes are not systematic and are not being made through a pre-defined process. For an oil-rich state that has always been so rigid when it comes to bringing in much-needed social reforms and policy restructuring, an overnight change in the name of governance must not be viewed as a positive development. In fact, what Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is trying to achieve is a paradigm shift in the way his country is run. The pace of his reformative measures is quite alarming and needs reconsideration since a country like Saudi Arabia can ill afford an Arab Spring that could bring to the country nothing but instability and unsteadiness.

Riaz Ahmed Khanzada,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Mayoral Elections 2018

The year 2018 is momentous for Bangladesh as the country is supposed to hold mayoral polls this year in six city corporations - Gazipur, Barisal, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet and Khulna. The polls are scheduled in December, almost a couple of months before the 11th parliamentary elections that are supposed to be held in late December 2018 or early January 2019. To the Election Commission of Bangladesh, the holding of mayoral elections will not be a straightforward exercise as the previous elections were marred by several controversies, rigging and large scale violence that took place in many constituencies. Since more than fourteen political parties and independent candidates will contest the upcoming mayoral elections, the Election Commission needs to establish its writ to make the polls transparent and fair.

Shakhawat S. Liton,
Khulna, Bangladesh.

Future of Democracy

Afghanistan is going to hold the long-pending parliamentary and district council elections in July. The holding of both elections in the same year will be quite a positive development in a war-torn country like Afghanistan which finds itself nowhere in terms of its evolution as a truly democratic state. However, a mere holding of legislative polls is not enough to strengthen democracy as, without ensuring the full and equal participation of all political parties, civil society organizations and representatives of ethnic nationalities, the future of democracy will always be at stake. Above all, the current security situation in Afghanistan is not conducive and most people are not sure about the timely holding of parliamentary elections. This is owing to the lack of interest shown by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who seems to be in favour of extending the current administrative setup to avoid any more trouble in an already trauma-ridden country. So far, the upcoming parliamentary elections in Afghanistan do not look to be on course.

Abdul Jabbar,
Peshawar, Pakistan.

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