Volume 23 Issue 5, May 2019
By Shahid Javed Burki

There are several international organizations that are important for Pakistan. While Pakistan has been fairly active in the United Nations and several affiliated organizations, its relations with economic entities have real significance for the country. A number of these institutions have provided large amounts of financial support; some of them have been important for improving the global environment in which the country must work. My focus in this article will be on the financial and economic institutions.

‘ADB provides development knowledge and expertise to Pakistan.’

Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, talks to SouthAsia in this exclusive interview.

Click this photo to view
the 'Genesis Awards' video.


Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Javed Ansari

S. G. Jilanee

Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

Noor Javed Sadiq

Aadil Nakhoda
Atif Shamim Syed
Ayaz Ahmed
Dr M. Asif
Dr Nausheen H Anwar
Dr. Farrukh Iqbal
Dr. Mehreen Mujtaba
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Dr. Taseer Salahuddin
Faizan Usmani
Hadiqa Iqbal
Haris Tohid Siddiqi
Imran Jan
Kamal Siddiqi
Kiran Farooq
Komal Niazi
Manish Rai
Muhammad Ali Khan
Muhammad Atif Ilyas
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid
Najam A. Anjum
Nuzair A. Virani
S. Mubashir Noor
S.G Jilanee
Sabria Chowdhury Balland
Shahid Javed Burki
Syeda Areeba Rasheed
Syeda Dhanak Hashmi
Taha Kehar
Tahir Habib Cheema

Haroon Rasheed
Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Riaz Masih

Business Unit Head
Syed Ovais Akhtar

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Shehryar Zulfiqar

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 Tahir Habib Cheema

It may not be an option, anymore, for the South Asian countries to keep ignoring social sector growth without realizing the need to set priorities right. Rapid but isolated and unsustainable economic growth will stay under the looming threat of an ultimate pull-down by the deepening vacuum in social development – a fear equally shared by the Asian Development Bank in its recent reports on the region.

The death toll from the Easter Sunday (April 21) bombings in Sri Lanka had crossed some 300 over the ensuing days. Some people in the country and the authorities blamed a little-known radical religious group for the attacks. According to officials, the group had not carried out any serious attacks before but is, this time, said to have received help from an international terrorist organization. It is also being said that Sri Lanka’s security forces had been warned at least 10 days before the bombings that the militant group was planning attacks against churches, but no action was taken which represented a catastrophic intelligence failure. It is said that ten days before the bombings, a top Sri Lankan police official had warned the security services that a radical religious group was planning suicide attacks against churches in the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said, however, that neither he nor any of his cabinet members had been informed of the warning, highlighting the power struggle between him and President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the defence minister.

Late last year, the feud in Sri Lanka had led for a time, to there being two officials claiming to be the rightful prime minister. The apparent intelligence failure and the breakdown of communication within the government are now likely to prompt political recriminations and attract attention in investigations into the attacks. It is not clear what precautions, if any, had the security agencies taken in response to the threat warnings. The Sri Lankan police did subsequently arrest many people in connection with the explosions. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was also imposed in Colombo, the capital and major social media and messaging services such as Facebook and WhatsApp were blocked by the government to try to curb the spread of misinformation.

The bombings in Sri Lanka underlined the rise of intolerance and violence across the region, based at least partly on religion and often feeding on government rhetoric. Perhaps the worst example has been the persecution in Myanmar of the Rohingya Muslim minority by the government and by members of the Buddhist majority, especially since 2016. Thousands of Rohingya have died and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes. In Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, politicians have increasingly made appeals to sectarian resentment and ignored calls of political allies for violence.

On Easter Sunday in 2016, a suicide bomber killed more than 70 people in a busy park in Lahore, Pakistan. A splinter group of the Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it had specifically targeted the Christians. In May 2018, suicide bombers struck three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, killing 28 people, and in January, two bombs ripped through a cathedral in the Philippines, leaving 20 dead. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks. However, Christians are not the only religious constituency at risk, as the recent shootings in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, show. The shootings left 50 Muslims dead.

What is clear is that in sowing terror, the terrorists hoped to reap division in a country like Sri Lanka that has endured horrific violence in the past and that is home to multiple ethnicities and religions, with the Buddhist majority living alongside sizable Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities. This is by far the worst incident of violence in Sri Lanka since the long and brutal civil war with Tamil insurgents, in which so many civilians died. It is a shocking and heartbreaking blow to the hopes of an island still striving for a lasting peace, amid enduring tensions. It also occurs at a time of political instability. Last year’s standoff between the president, Maithripala Sirisena, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, concluded with the latter’s reinstatement. But if the immediate constitutional crisis ended, the tensions underlying it were in no way resolved. A presidential election is due this year and a general election in 2020.

Injustice and hate can manifest themselves anywhere. So too can love and faith. Hope for peace has been voiced by leaders from around the world following the Sri Lankan bombings. The bombings also raise many unanswered questions that reflect the complexity and variety of passions that drive people to embrace terror. Hopefully steps will be taken to neutralize this trend. The power of the social media is one element that needs to be seriously curbed.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


Pulse Lost

Your magazine in its cover story of April 2019 asked the question, ‘Is The Party Losing The Pulse?’ The question is that when in its over 50 years of existence has the PPP ever had the people’s pulse? It started with the slogan ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan.’ Was there any point in the last fifty years, starting right from ZA Bhutto, when the Party delivered Roti, Kapra aur Makan and the people were happy about it.
I am sorry to say that the PPP has all through been a party of only slogans and has never delivered. If it is now close to meeting its end as it has been reduced from a national party to a Sindh-only party, then it has no one else to blame but itself.

Sarah Ashley,
New York, USA.

Balanced Issue

The April issue of SouthAsia magazine was very interesting and had good balanced articles. Both, my husband and I, enjoyed reading it and in particular the articles by Mr Jilanee and Mr Hashmi. The criticism on the Dastak oil ad was so correct too!

Zarina Asghar Khan,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Bangladesh a Growing Economy

Bangladesh is not a flower garden for its people. The air pollution there has made the indoor and outdoor atmosphere hazardous. We breathe toxic fumes every day. The lives of our children are at stake. That the Bangladesh’s economy is the fifth fastest growing economy in the world is far from reality. Yes the economy is growing but not for its people. It is growing only for the politicians who are corrupt and put money in their pockets. What Bangladesh needs is not macro growth but micro reforms to guarantee the health of a better country. Then only will Bangladesh be able to say that its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world.

Waqar un Nissa,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Summer is Here!

We are indeed facing the worst summer this time and so it becomes even more necessary to find ways to bear the scorching heat that keeps increasing day after day. Air-conditioners and other cooling machines no doubt are serving as life savers in summers but we also cannot forget the huge bills they cost us and utterly drain our wallet. The best way to beat the heat is by keeping yourself hydrated, taking a cool bath, not going out unnecessarily and seeking shade when outside. You should also consume fruits and salads as much as possible and wear lightweight clothes.

Kashan Iftikhar,
Karachi, Pakistan

Hope Against Hope

Pakistan is facing testing times. Since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came to power, the economic indicators have become bleak and inflation has risen from 3.98 to 7.48 in just nine months. People are hoping that the new budget will bring a ray of light. The promises made by the Prime Minister to his voters have not been realized and they feel betrayed, hopeless and agonized about the instability. The new budget can ease the cries of the people but looking at the current approach of the government, it seems unlikely. If the budget fails, the major brunt will fall on the underprivileged people. There is a danger of people coming onto the roads to protest in the coming months as it has become hard to survive in the current economic situation. The government should come out with a budget that brings hope to the people of Pakistan.

Fabeeha Adil,
Sukkur, Pakistan


Accepting reality

Congrats to you and team on continuous improvement of SouthAsia magazine in contents, restructuring of pages, choice of photos along with title of the story that tells a lot and finally the printing quality. Even the ads seem to be embedded within the flow of articles. ZAB cover portrait by Gulgee (I think) is most appropriate reminder to PPP to accept the realistic assessment of his party.

Nisar Memon,
(former information minister of Pakistan)
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Rise and Fall

Last month’s cover story was very insightful for me. In what seems like the last spell of the Pakistan Peoples Party, it was interesting to read how Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became the leader of the country that people still love. The simple slogan Roti, Kapra aur Makan was a well-thought slogan that made him loved by many in Sindh and even today people outside Pakistan remember him for his slogan. Politics is not all clean and good and being the politician that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was, he had to give his life due to politics. There are still controversies regarding his hanging. The PPP never saw another leader like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as neither his daughter nor his grandson could streamline his vision in Sindh and Pakistan. With Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the current Chairman of the PPP, the party is surviving merely because of the name “Bhutto” and the emotions of the people attached with the party. Otherwise Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are not aiming in the right direction. It is rather a shame to see Bilawal not delivering. He doesn’t seem interested in the seriousness of the issues of the people and the party. After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan People Party never saw a new dawn.

Adeel Mehtaab,
Washington, D.C.

Complexed People?

Recently Pakistan hosted its first Pakistan Tourism Summit which was initiated by Federal Minister for Tourism Atif Khan. The Summit got a backlash from the masses as the banner for the summit included all foreign vloggers [video loggers] and no Pakistani vloggers. Many vloggers came forward and said that they were not invited and it was sad to see how the local vloggers were neglected. What made me write to SouthAsia is the fact that I was taken aback when I read the reply of Taimoor Salauddin and Umer Khan, two most famous Pakistani travel vloggers. It was rather disappointing to know how Pakistanis step back and play safe where authorities take a questionable decision and are least interested to become a face in doing something internationally. Taimoor’s assumption probably is that Urdu is only understood by Indians and Pakistanis so he doesn’t need a summit to promote tourism as his videos are Urdu shows. He is living in a bubble. Both Umer and Taimoor said they make videos for themselves but then my question is why are they made public? One does not understand why Pakistanis are complexed? It is this reason that Pakistan is where it is today?

Alia Rafiq,
Lahore, Pakistan.

Truck Art Adds Life

Truck art is gaining momentum in Pakistan at a good speed. Truck art motifs are used in fabrics, which make them very colourful. You get to see dull coloured kurtas with a truck art motif on the neckline or elsewhere, making it colourful and graceful. Even lawn prints are full of oranges, yellows, reds and pinks. The best part is that you can wear these kurtas on top of churidars as well as jeans. Adding so many colours to your outfits makes you feel full of life because your outfits have a very important place in whatever you do.

Tooba Siddiqui,
Karachi, Pakistan.

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