Volume 22 Issue 9, September 2018
By Shahid Javed Burki

One way of looking at the way Imran Khan and his associates would change the old Pakistan into something new -- naya, as they like to call it -- is to look down the road ahead, say, ten years from 2018. Speculating about the future is something economists do regularly. For several years, the World Bank, in its signature document, the World Development Report issued every year, used to have a section devoted to thinking about the future: where the world was likely to be five to ten years from the time the report was written. The Bank seldom got the future right and some of us in senior positions convinced the management of the institution to drop that exercise.

By Dr. Moonis Ahmar

There is no example in the history of contemporary Pakistan that one political party which won only one seat in an election (November 2002) secured 115 seats in polls sixteen years later (July 2018). Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insraf’s road to power in the last 16 years speaks of self-confidence, persistence, struggle and the courage of its Chairman who founded PTI in 1996 and transformed it into a major political force in Pakistan in just 22 years.

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the 'Genesis Awards' video.


Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

S. G. Jilanee

Abdul Basit
Adnan Amir
Ayaz Ahmed
Dr. Imran Khalid
Dr. Mehreen Mujtaba
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Dr Murad Ali
Dr. Niaz Murtaza
Dr. Raza Khan
Hafsa Bashir
Hassan Daud Butt
Hussain H Zaidi
Imran Jan
Javed Ansari
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Mubashir Noor
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar
Muhammad Atif Ilyas
M Zeb Khan
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid
Nighat Kamal Aziz
Saad ur Rehman Khan
Saima Mirza
S.G. Jilanee
Shahid Javed Burki
Sikander Bizenjo
Soha Sheikh
Riaz Khokhar

Neha Ansari

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih


Syed Ovais Akhtar

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 Soha Sheikh

Imran Khan is Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister — after a grueling and arduous 22 year period. He campaigned on lofty promises of stamping out corruption, ushering in equality for all and ending Pakistan’s economic woes. But he is just about to discover the uphill climb he’s signed up for.

In his first address to the nation, among other things, Prime Minister Imran Khan especially sought the assistance of the Pakistani Diaspora in rebuilding the national economy. He asked overseas Pakistanis to send money home through banking channels so that the country would get more foreign exchange in terms of dollars. He also asked them to make more investments in Pakistan so that the nation’s industry would get a boost and this, in turn, would increase exports. It is a fact that overseas Pakistanis have always served as a backbone of the country’s economy and the remittances made by them to their families have buttressed Pakistan’s foreign earnings in a big way for many years. They are being called upon once again by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to come to the country’s rescue.

This is all well and good and the overseas Pakistanis would now certainly have more confidence in helping the country in its current tight monetary situation as now their hopes in the country’s future would be more enhanced and their sentiments would be boosted by the fact that the foreign exchange the country earns from their remittances would not be stolen and would be spent judiciously. However, it is most unfortunate that while the country’s new leader is asking its citizens living and working abroad to do their extra bit in helping the economy, these very people have not been treated in a welcome manner by successive governments. They are not extended any special privileges and, until very recently, they did not enjoy the right to vote in any elections held in Pakistan.

It is good that now with Imran Khan’s coming to power, changes are being brought in the rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan and overseas Pakistanis are being empowered to vote. They would do so in the coming by-elections in October. The ECP has taken the step to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis on an experimental basis. The ECP has taken the decision in light of an order passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after it heard a number of petitions in which the plea was taken that citizens of Pakistan living outside the country were being denied their right of franchise. It is true that voting is a fundamental right that every citizen of a country is free to exercise. In Pakistan, a citizen can vote if he is above the age of 18 and is registered with NADRA. It was, therefore, unfair until the 2018 elections, that overseas Pakistanis were denied this right. It was apparently done for the simple reason that they were not physically present in the country during the elections and were registered with NADRA as overseas Pakistanis. Now, under the orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Nadra is designing an internet voting mechanism so that the ECP can have a foolproof voting system for overseas Pakistanis at its disposal.

It must not be forgotten that the Election Commission of Pakistan has its own problems in devising a fool-proof voting and reporting system anyway. The ‘crash’ of the RTS (Reporting Transmission System) that had been developed under the aegis of the ECP and was supposed to transmit polling results from the remotest regions of Pakistan in a swift and efficient manner in the 2018 elections, is a case in point. The result is that the opposition parties have called the whole elections in question and are not willing to accept the results, surprising as they are in many cases. The ECP will have the next five years to put its act right and make appropriate changes in the 2023 election process. It must have already referred to the elections systems in vogue in regional countries or in countries that have populations of about the same size as that of Pakistan. Besides other issues of the ECP, the matter of overseas Pakistanis not being able to vote in the elections was a major one. It is certainly a wrong done right with the Pakistan Election Commission agreeing to involve overseas voters in the by-elections. This is a dimension that needed to be addressed in a fair and equitable manner and to be all-inclusive. There was no point in depriving those millions of Pakistanis who live abroad of their franchise rights when they contribute so much to the nation’s well-being.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief


One Nation, One Election

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently forwarded the idea of ‘One Nation, One Election.’ Led by Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has categorically rejected the proposal owing to many practical difficulties in holding simultaneous elections to provincial assemblies and Lok Sabha (National Assembly) throughout the country. Apparently, Modi’s suggestion is quite rational considering the advantages of the ‘One Nation, One Election’ idea. First of all, it will cut election expenditure to an exponential level, which will help spend the saved money on the country’s ailing social sectors. In addition to that, the proposed move will help the ruling dispensations to focus on governance and legislation, instead of being in a campaign mode all the time. The government as well as the leading political parties in India should take the suggestion seriously and they must try to sort out the practical implications in holding simultaneous elections.

Suryanarayana S. Krishnamurthy,
Bengaluru, India.

Supremacy of Government Representatives

In the political history of New Delhi, various attempts have been made by unelected forces to undermine an elected government and seize power to rule the National Capital Territory all alone. Once again, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal, who is also a former Union Home Secretary, tried to act beyond his authority and went an extra mile to put the Delhi government under his thumb at the behest of those elements who wanted to rule Delhi without having a mandate to do so. In that regard, the judicial intervention of the Indian Supreme Court must be acknowledged as it has clearly ruled out any possibility of the Lieutenant Governor having any independent decision-making power on how to govern the national capital without seeking advice of Delhi’s elected representatives and the capital’s Council of Ministers. No doubt, the SC has restored the primary role of the elected representatives.

M. Ganesh Montadka,
New Delhi, India.



Boundaries of NSC

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on the National Security Council (NSC). Seemingly, involving the armed forces in decision-making matters related to governance and foreign policy looks to be an anti-democratic move, which disparages public opinion and shows the lack of trust on the ability of those public representatives who are constitutionally elected to legislate and govern the country. No doubt, the concept of having a separate military-civilian-run authority to oversee security matters is logical. However, in a country like ours the track record of such an institution suggests quite an opposite trend, as its role is not merely constrained to national security and it rides roughshod over civilian representatives to claim its authority over non-security related issues as well. The need of the hour is to first define the boundaries of the National Security Council and then allow its military officials to work in tandem with government representatives in a way that obeys the supremacy of the civilian government, instead of dictating it to pander to the military’s ego.

Kokab Jehan,
Lahore, Pakistan.

Safe Haven for Chikungunya Virus

According to a recent news report, Pakistan has been declared as a safe haven for the Chikungunya virus. This means that Chikungunya is further spreading in the country. The announcement has been made by a team of international researchers who studied full-scale outbreaks of Chikungunya Arbovirus infection in Pakistan over the last 5-year period. The study further reveals that Sindh is the most affected province with Chikungunya virus, while the constant spread of such a mosquito-borne disease poses a serious challenge to public health in the country. Published in the August edition of ‘Infection, Disease and Health,’ an international medical science journal, the study warns that recurring Chikungunya outbreaks threaten a severe blow to the fragile economy of the country and its healthcare system is also poorly equipped to handle the looming Chikungunya crisis to make things worse. I appeal to the Pakistan Ministry of Health to launch a consolidated programme to eliminate the menace from the country on a permanent basis.

Dr. Rashid Keyani,
Gujranwala, Pakistan.

Future of Martial Arts

Other than promoting cricket and hockey, Pakistan’s Ministry of Sports needs to focus on other games as well. Martial arts, for instance, remain the most ignored sports in the region that seems to be obsessed with such capital-intensive games that incite glamour and attract lots of money. Despite their huge popularity and fame, however, such sports offer little room for players who come from a poor background. The martial arts, on the other hand, do not require any equipment or playing accessories. They just require a fighting spirit, an ideal fitness level and an artistic display of talent. The rampant power politics within sports governing bodies coupled with a declining patronage of the concerned ministry adds more ignominy to Pakistan’s sports, particularly the martial arts.

Asad Hanif,
Karachi, Pakistan.

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