Volume 22 Issue 10, October 2018
 
 
 
By Shahid Javed Burki

There is a common impression in the developing world that global financial and development institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are beholden to the developed world. A significant proportion of the capital they work with comes from rich countries. Their executive boards reflect the sources of the capital from which it is obtained. The heads of the institutions are from developed countries. Under the Bretton Woods Agreement negotiated at a meeting held in 1944 at a resort in the state of New Hampshire in the United States, there was an understanding that the Managing Director of the IMF would be from Europe while the President of the World Bank will be an American.


By Waqar Masood Khan

Pakistan has been the largest recipient of funding from the World Bank after China and India. The depth of this relationship is fairly deep and covers all the major economic sectors, such as social sectors, infrastructure, finance, banking, capital market, fiscal, monetary and trade policies, banking, agriculture, livestock, irrigation, energy and many more.

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PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF
Syed Jawaid Iqbal

EDITOR
Javed Ansari

ASSISTANT EDITORS
Faizan Usmani
Syeda Areeba Rasheed

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
S. G. Jilanee

CONTRIBUTORS
Aneela Shahzad
Dr. Ikramul Haq
Dr M. Asif
Dr. Nasir Iqbal
Dr. Riffat Aysha Anis
Furqan Hyder Shaikh
Ghulam Qadir Khan
Huzaima Bukhari
Imran Jan
Irshad Ahmad
Mahrukh A. Mughal
Mohammad Jamil
Munawar Mahar
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid
Noor Javed Sadiq
Osama Rizvi
Saad ur Rehman Khan
S.G. Jilanee
Shahid Javed Burki
Shabana Mahfooz
S. Mubashir Noor
S.R.H. Hashmi
S. M. Hali
Syed Mohibullah Shah
Taha Kehar
Tahir Habib Cheema
Taj Haider
Waqar Masood Khan

GRAPHICS & LAYOUT
Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih

Business Unit Head
Syed Ovais Akhtar

MARKETING & SALES
Shiraz Khanji

CIRCULATION & COORDINATOR
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.




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By Taj Haider

Leon, France 1996. Conference of the Socialist International. The tall figure of Professor Galbrith was standing before me. Putting his hand affectionately on my shoulder, he said, “Senator, it is high time you stopped borrowing from these IFIs”. He then started smiling at my puzzled look. “Relax Senator, when you do not have the money, you start looking for solutions and you always find them.”


Other than inherited hunger, abject poverty, malnourished populations and other embarrassing socio-economic indicators, Pakistan and India stand out in the international community for their political and diplomatic stalemate, which has existed since their emergence as independent nations after the British left. Now the arch-rivals are back in their old blind alley. New Delhi has shamelessly backed out after agreeing to meet and talk to Pakistan’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The foreign ministers were supposed to explore possibilities of resuming talks. India has a known track record of not sticking to its commitments and this time the country did not take more than 48 hours to make an about-turn.

Apparently, the move was motivated by India’s hidden fear and uncertainty which has less to do with sorting out differences with Pakistan and more with pandering to the internal political agenda in the run-up to the forthcoming general elections. Narendra Modi has virtually kick-started his 2019-election campaign with an anti-Pakistan stance and he leaves no stone unturned in cashing in on any opportunity to strengthen his motives to win another term in office. His government has even resorted to hypothetical surgical strikes on alleged terrorist hideouts across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Kashmir. New Delhi also indulges in ceaseless propaganda against the Pakistan Armed Forces, particularly the Pakistan Army, and the Indian Prime Minister is always quick on the trigger to vilify Pakistan both at the national and international level.

These acts can be referred to as nothing more than a mere façade that has tactically been developed and put across by the real movers and shakers of Indian foreign policy. The consistency as well as the direction of such a line of action suggests that they have no intention to come to the negotiation table because they believe that such a move would make things difficult for India. After the UN fiasco, the escalation of rhetoric by the Indian Foreign Office against Pakistan has surfaced as a clear indication of the country’s real intentions for Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan. In his speech in July, Imran Khan took an important step forward even before assuming the PM’s office when he expressed the desire to mend fences with New Delhi. Those elements at the helm of affairs in India now seem to have gone all out to preclude any chances of parleys and working out a deal with Islamabad. As always, they seem to be relishing an anti-Pakistan posture.

These developments must also be taken by the Pakistan government as a warning. Behind Modi’s perpetual narrative of victimisation and the Indian External Minister Sushma Swaraj’s condescending behaviour against Pakistan at the UN lies the mounting pugnacity of the Indian army, particularly in matters of foreign policy, defence policy-making and geopolitics. The Indian army chief, General Bipin Rawat continues to make war-mongering threats against Pakistan and it sometimes looks as if he is not a serving army general who should stay out of politics but a worker of the BJP who speaks the same language as any right-wing Hindu political cadre. It is clear that the entire machinery of the Narendra government as well as the Indian media has been escalating military rhetoric by design, driving the dogs of war at a crucial time when the new government setup in Pakistan is doing its best to improve its ties with New Delhi and is going the extra mile to bring the other side to the table. In these circumstances, merely a lacklustre and repetitive stance on Kashmir is not enough. The Pakistan government needs to re-calibrate and retune its India policy to the extent that it stabs at the heart of New Delhi’s narrative and convinces the world that India harbours hegemonic designs aimed at isolating Pakistan and putting the entire South Asian region under its thumb.

India’s stance also reflects the reality that it does not seem to be interested anymore in such a regional grouping as SAARC. The philosophy that brought SAARC into existence was a sound one and it could have opened many new opportunities of prosperity and development in the region had its aims and objectives been pursued in letter and spirit. It seems, however, that India’s negative attitude towards Pakistan and its hunger for hegemony overrides everything else. As a result, one-fifth of the world’s population continues to live in starvation and poverty while South Asia’s largest nation pursues its own selfish agenda.

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal
Editor in Chief

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Ailing E-commerce Sector

Based in Bangladesh, textile and garment manufacturers are globally known for producing quality products. However, Bangladeshi companies find it difficult to market their products in the world through leading B2B websites and portals operating online. To be very honest, most online business websites and portals are ruled by counterfeiters and copycat manufacturers from various countries, who tend to market their pirated products to international buyers at quite reduced prices. This severely affects the business of quality manufacturers of the developing countries. The Bangladesh government must rise to the occasion to help its exporters to successfully market their products online. The best way to achieve the objective is to devise a long-term e-commerce strategy and allocate a sizeable budget for the promotion of the country’s exports through e-commerce platforms. The government should also establish a Ministry of E-commerce.

Syed Nawab Akhtar,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Decreasing Cement Exports

Pakistan is one of largest cement producing countries in the world and is ranked amongst the world’s top 10 cement exporters. Running at over 90 per cent capacity, the country’s cement sector is growing at an exponential rate. However, the sector is unable to increase its export volume owing to a non-existent export mechanism and flawed policy-making. Despite having a huge potential for exports, what fails the cement sector is the subsidy-oriented, makeshift policy-making of the government that goes the extra mile to support such energy-deprived sectors as textiles and fertilisers. This is done at the cost of those stable and profitable industries that have adjusted to the energy crisis on their own and can easily meet local and international demands. Unfortunately, the cement industry has been pushed into a corner by the very ministry that is supposed to bring it back to the centre of the national economic lifeline.

Faizan Riaz,
Sargodha, Pakistan.

 

 

Long Way to Go

This is with reference to the cover story on Imran Khan becoming Pakistan’s Prime Minister. Before taking the helm of affairs, Imran Khan was a staunch critic of the regimes that had ruled the country, but could not have any impact on the people’s wellbeing. Since Imran Khan has come into the saddle as Prime Minister, he is supposed to fulfil his promises he repeatedly made to the people before and during his election campaign. Running the government has always been a herculean task and one should not expect an overnight change from the government in terms of economic uplift and social welfare. Being led by Imran Khan, the new government setup is no exception and it must be given sufficient time and support to undo the wrongs. Since all eyes are on Imran Khan and his cabinet, he must leave no stone unturned in improving the people’s lives through long-term reforms and sustainable development policies. The Prime Minister has a long way to go.

Sidra Umer,
Islamabad, Pakistan.


Neglected Naegleria Virus

According to a recent news report, Naegleria fowleri, the ‘brain-eating’ amoeba, has been detected in nearly all samples collected from drinking water being supplied to Karachi. As revealed by the latest edition of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (IJID), a U.S.-based research periodical, the water supply system in Karachi is contaminated by such brain-eating amoebae as Naegleria fowleri, which is otherwise supposed to be a rare phenomenon in the rest of the world. In Karachi, for instance, over 25 cases of Naegleria were reported from 2015 to 2017. This is in contrast to a total of 34 Naegleria cases reported in all of the fifty states of the United States from 2008 to 2017. This shows how active the virus has been in water supply systems of Karachi. I appeal to the Sindh Ministry of Health to address the concern on a war-footing and launch a consolidated programme to eliminate the menace on a permanent basis.

Ahmed Jaleel,
Karachi, Pakistan?.


Technology-based Writing

In Bhutan, the Society of English Language Teachers has introduced a technology-based writing programme that has been particularly designed for English language learners in primary and secondary schools. The programme helps students get more writing practice with built-in writing assessment and scoring rubrics. Introduced for the first time in Bhutan, the programme is based on state-of-the-art computer-based essay-scoring technology, which was introduced by Dr. Ellis Batten Page, a pioneering educational psychologist who is known as the father of computer-based essay scoring. Being equally beneficial for schoolchildren and teachers, the privately-sponsored programme is more than a blessing for a country like Bhutan, where the literacy rate is much lower than its neighbouring countries. The Bhutanese government should come forward, own and implement this programme in primary and secondary schools of the country.

Rinzin Wangmo,
Gelephu, Bhutan.

 
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