Volume 21 Issue 9 September 2017
By Khawaja Amer

Why have none of the elected prime ministers in Pakistan failed to complete their respective tenures? The answer is very simple; they never ruled the country and it was the bureaucracy that actually ran the day to day affairs of the government. In fact, they are still the masterminds behind all the important decisions taken by the government. The inability of the elected heads of government to take independent decisions based on the consensus of the elected assembly and complete dependence on the bureaucrats left them with no option but to remain in power as long as they (the bureaucrats) wanted them to see them in power.

By Shakeel Farooqui

To understand the reason why none of Pakistan’s prime ministers have so far been able to complete their 5-year term, there is a need to study the conditions and forces which resulted in the unceremonious exit of these heads of the government. Frankly speaking, most of them were not only dishonest but unfortunately failed to run the country sincerely and effectively, which created space for nonpolitical forces to enter the political scene.

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Khawaja Amer
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

S. G. Jilanee

Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Syed Zeeshan Ahmed
S. M. Hali Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Shakeel Farooqui
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar
Farhia Jabbar
S.G. Jilanee
Dr. Raza Khan
Zehra Khawaja
Taha Kehar
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
K. A. Naqshbandi
S. Mubashir Noor
Iqbal F. Quadir

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih


Syed Ovais Akhtar

Hira Sarwar

Muhammad Aamir

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 S.G. Jilanee

It is not the executive branch of the Pakistan government that emits an overpowering stench of incompetence, corruption and other associated vices. Its judicial branch is also not far behind. Its contribution in stifling democracy and encouraging the exercise of arbitrary powers by rulers is second to none.

President Donald Trump’s charge sheet against Pakistan and his praise for India in America’s so-called new South Asia strategy has sent shock waves across Pakistan and among its friends. Giving a clear warning to Pakistan, Trump said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. That will have to change and that will change immediately.” The more alarming fact is his enhancement of the role of India in Afghanistan's political and economic growth. What would be the impact of this on Pakistan’s fight against terrorism? The situation is pretty precarious and would give further impetus to the joint CIA-RAW activities which would further aggravate things for Pakistan.

Trump’s stance is a clear deviation from the policy followed by Bush and Obama and even earlier US presidents. Despite repeated frustration, they chose to use money and diplomacy to help Pakistan in its effort to root out terrorist sanctuaries from the country and earlier in resisting the spread of communism. In recent years, Pakistan received massive aid but repeated advice to ‘do more’. In fact, a lot has been done and the successes of Operation Raddul Fasad bear testimony to the fact. As such, at a time when Pakistan has almost achieved the target of eliminating terrorists from its territory, Trump’s words have definitely come as a big shock. Trump administration’s preference for the stick rather than the carrot at this point is really frustrating. But then it shows Pakistan’s inability to compete with India on the diplomatic front. Modi’s meeting with Trump and his much publicized ‘Jadu ki Jhappi’ did work. While Modi was busy lobbying in the US, Nawaz Sharif was busy defending the Panama case. Moreover, the unceremonious ouster of Tariq Fatmi, a career diplomat, left the foreign office without a real boss. In fact, the foreign office till recently was functioning without a foreign minister which very obviously affected Pakistan’s diplomatic moves and lobbying in the US. Had Pakistan taken some time out from its internal political bickering and attended to its foreign relations and had taken actionable initiatives against terrorism, it could have avoided Trump’s charge sheet.

It is quite surprising that while the US President unfairly criticized Pakistan, in response the Pakistan government chief (namely, Prime Minister Shahid Khakkan Abbasi) did not utter anything and it was the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa who responded to America and made it clear that Pakistan did not want any material or financial assistance from the US, but trust and respect and acknowledgement of the sacrifices the country had made. The army chief added that such efforts were not to appease anyone but in line with the country’s national interest and policy. It needs to be noted that the Pakistan economy has, over the past 16 years, suffered a loss amounting to over one billion dollars and has lost more than 70,000 military and civilian lives. The COAS also informed the US ambassador who came calling on him, of Pakistan’s reservations over giving India an enhanced role in Afghanistan. It was good to see Pakistan’s close friend China responding very strongly to Trump’s allegations that Pakistan was not doing enough to shut down safe havens of terror groups in its territory. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying categorically said, “Pakistan lies on the front line of the anti-terrorism struggle and has made ‘great sacrifices’ in battling insurgents who pose a threat to the region and the world.” The response from Russia and Iran was equally encouraging.

This is a wake-up call for Pakistan and the time has come to tell the US and the world very clearly and loudly about the achievements of Operation Raddul Fasad and, before that, Operation Zarb e Azb. A refusal on the part of the U.S. to listen to Pakistan’s side of the story can be termed as a diplomatic failure and poor lobbying by the country’s foreign office. So far, despite its stand and constant actions against terrorism, Islamabad has failed to counter allegations against it with any encouraging results. The reasons may range from incompetent diplomacy in Washington and other world capitals to its failure to successfully woo world media. Now that Khawaja Asif has taken over as a full-fledged foreign minister, his ministry must pull-up its socks and start projecting Pakistan as the pivotal country in the region and the war in Afghanistan rather than being unceremoniously pushed to the side and its many sacrifices appearing as of no consequence.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


A New Escape

It seems like the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could not hold the defeat he sustained when the Supreme Court announced his disqualification from holding public office in a landmark decision. The so-called lion on his journey home made a last-ditch attempt to undo a devastating Supreme Court decision that could land him and his family in jail. During the rally, from inside a purpose built shipping container, he was noted saying that the people of Pakistan have rejected his disqualification. It seems like Nawaz Sharif was only making efforts to please himself as the people of Pakistan know what kind of unrest the country went through when Nawaz was in power. I just wish someone would be there to console Nawaz Sharif as this is the time when he really needs it.

Farzana Siddiqui,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Binding Ties

The Bangladesh government has initiated a new project to improve the infrastructure of three land ports namely Shaola in Sylhet district, Bhomra in Satkhira district and Ramgarh in Khagrachari in order to raise trade with India. It is indeed a very positive idea for both the countries as the security system in Benapole will also be modernised. The new approach will also increase the import and export activities of Sutarakandi port in Karimgani district of Assam state. After the Padma Bridge, the most costly bridge in the world, the flow of cargo at Bhomra port will also boost further increase in communication and traffic movement. The value of the Ramgarh land port will also rise affecting trade with India’s Tripura state. Both Bangladesh and India are making their full efforts to continue binding ties for mutual benefit.

Lalit Das,
Sharjah, UAE.


Pointless Culture

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on Lota Culture. Although the word Lota in Urdu means a spherical water vessel having the tendency to roll over in unpredictable directions when kept on uneven ground, but it can be synonymously used with Pakistani politics as it has been playing a very important role since the very start. The word is dangerously used for people who frequently switch loyalties from one party to another for the sake of benefits. Recently as well as after the Panama Papers case surfaced, some changes were observed in the parties. Some people joined hands with PTI leader Imran Khan, as he’s the one who may be next in power, while some other relocated themselves to other parties. The shuffling can continue to be a part of Pakistan’s politics if no rules and regulations are applied. Someone needs to be accountable for the ongoing lota culture.

Mohib Akhtar,
Karachi, Pakistan.

“No Loo, No I Do”

The women in India are refusing to marry in a family that doesn’t have a toilet. It’s a movement nicknamed “No Loo, No I Do”. Many women have come forward telling stories about how they have to wake up at 4 a.m. in the dark to go to the fields trying to squat in a sari while holding a cup of water and also looking out for rapists. Open defecation is the biggest challenge India is facing in terms of sanitation. More than 53% of people in India are defecating openly because of which more than 200,000 children die from diseases caused by faecal contamination. This is an emergency not only of public health and safety but also of human dignity. Access to toilets can’t hurt, unlike the chronic, acute shame, embarrassment and fear that Indian women and girls must deal with at least once a day, every day.

Aakash Oberoi,
New Delhi, India.

Modi’s Congress-mukt-Bharat

It is clear that Narendra Modi’s call for Congress-mukt-Bharat, which he made back in 2004 when he was the prime ministerial candidate, was not just a melodramatic tool but a serious statement. But we failed to understand as to what to get from it and secondly what Narendra Modi and Amit Shah mean by the slogan. Does it mean the end of the Congress in terms of being a political entity? If this is the case, then I must say that they have been quite successful as the Congress has been reduced to just 44 Lok Sabha seats and their government is only in a handful of states. More clarity on the meaning and purpose of the slogan could only be possible if both Modi and Amit Shah clear the air.

Priya Lalwani,
Mumbai, India.

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