Volume 20 Issue 08 August 2016
By S.G. Jilanee

It is a bonanza par excellence. It is a windfall sans parallel. It is a game changer. It is a fate changer. That is how the 46 billion dollar dream project of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being described by the media and the government in Pakistan. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, “The corridor will serve as a driver for connectivity between South Asia and East Asia. ”

By Hussain H Zaidi

In case a question were put to top members of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) about their highest achievement over the last three years, the answer for sure would be signing of the agreements for establishing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). If they were asked to point out where Pakistan’s future is headed, the reply would be completion of the CPEC. The corridor is arguably the most important project Pakistan has been part of.

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Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Mahrukh Farooq – Samina Wahid
Faizan Usmani

S. G. Jilanee

Zeeshan Ahmed
Asna Ali
Khawaja Amer
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Muhammad Ali Ehsan
Mahrukh Farooq
Sijal Fawad
S. M. Hali
S.G. Jilanee
Dr. Raza Khan
Taj M Khattak
Sabena Siddiqui
Faizan Usmani
Hussain H Zaidi

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Waqas Jan
Syed Ovais Akhtar
Abid Saeed

Shehryar Zulfiqar

Ali Danish

Danish Shahid

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. M. Hali

The CPEC is being discussed in the national media for the past two and a half years. Though it has held hope for the people of Pakistan but it has also given rise to controversies, based on fallacies created by conscientious objectors. The Nawaz government, which is the prime mover of the project in Pakistan, has made serious efforts to allay doubts regarding the mega project as well as explain its various dimensions, which somehow have been overlooked by a few fickle-minded politicians. Clarity must be focused on the key dimensions of the project to appreciate its significance not only for Pakistan but the whole region.

Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate in the next US presidential elections - something few would have predicted a little more than 12 months ago – while Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party candidate. When Barack Obama first walked into the White House in 2009, he was 47. He was the fifth-youngest president in US history. For the coming U.S. election, one candidate - Donald Trump - has already turned 70 while the other - Hillary Clinton - will turn 69 two weeks before the election, thus becoming the second-oldest president on inauguration, if she is elected. A scandal over her use of a private email account as secretary of state has dented Hillary Clinton’s popularity and heightened perceptions that she cannot be trusted. However, she has been first lady, senator and secretary of state and has been a presidential contender before. As a lawyer she worked on the Watergate investigation. Donald Trump is a billionaire and a real estate mogul in addition to being a reality television personality but he has never held elected office. He declares that if he is elected president, he will make America great again. Hillary Clinton, however, insists that America is already great and never stopped being great.

In virtually every policy realm, Trump has vowed to put his country’s interests before any other — redirecting Washington’s gaze inwards in an age of globalization. He has called for ripping up U.S. trade deals, building a wall on the border with Mexico and deporting undocumented immigrants en masse. He even called for completely banning Muslims from entering the U.S. after the San Bernardino attack. To achieve his aims, he plans to change U.S. immigration policy. In fact, this has become his signature campaign proposal. It is generally believed that Trump has yet to win the battle for America’s hearts. In the campaign so far, he has painted a dire portrait of a lawless, terrorized country and has said that America has become a hopeless nation with a corporate class that is thrusting it into a perilous decline. Donald Trump’s candidacy for president sometimes seems like an epitome of the American Dream — he built his empire from the ground up, entered politics as an iconoclast and now is a man determined to re-write the rule book.

It is not quite clear though how Donald Trump aims to truly represent and lead America which achieved nationhood on the very premise that it welcomed immigrants; America became a nation through immigration as, apart from the local Red Indians, no American is a son of the soil. For the past two hundred years and more, people have continued to migrate to America from all parts of the world - mainly from England and Europe – and today comprise the American nation.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, portrays herself as a strong supporter of immigrant rights and has pledged to create the first national office of immigrant affairs if she is elected president. She wants to enact an immigration overhaul that would create a pathway to US citizenship. Like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is a deeply divisive candidate and will need to work hard at the divide in the Democrat Party between now and November. Along with her credibility problem, she is also seen as an establishment figure, aloof and coolly distant. However, unlike Trump, she has a feel for the management of the presidential office, both as first lady and as secretary of state. The fact that she is a woman could also be to her advantage – or her disadvantage. But it could be that single factor that will either propel her into the history books or dump her.

The bigger question for U.S. voters, therefore, is not about Trump or Clinton, Republican or Democrat. It is about how to manage a changing, less homogenous, less wealthy and less dominant America in a highly competitive, often chaotic and dangerous 21st-century world. The American nation is already said to be living beyond its means at home and is increasingly failing to project its will and interests abroad. This is a serious moment and could even be a turning point. Trump needs to understand this in particular – he must rise above bragging, bluster and bullying because at this critical hour, what America needs more than anything else is leadership – and whatever the outcome, it is clear that nothing will be quite the same again for this nation after the 2016 elections.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


India’s Shame

The recent violence that has erupted in the Kashmir Valley is an eye-opener for the Indian government. It also serves as an unacknowledged revelation for the international community, which has been mistakenly ignoring the Kashmir issue for decades. The way the United Nations, as well as global powers, take the matter is quite surprising. It also reveals the fact that in the age of egalitarianism and human rights, it does not make a difference to the most civilised nations when their regional interests are not affected while over 12.5 million people suffer from atrocities. The US remains motionless when people in Kashmir are denied their basic rights. The European Union is also oblivious to the plight of those men, women and children who receive bullets and pellets whenever they ask for independence. The unsettled Kashmir issue has become a matter of shame for the international community.

Pirzada Sharf-e-Alam,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Democracy to Despotism

Marching towards authoritarianism, Banglad-esh’s political structure is almost on the brink of nonexistence, thanks to the revengeful policies of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid. Other than targeting the opposition parties, namely the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamat–e-Islami, Hasina seems to be sticking to its highly biased and utterly unjustified approach when it comes to addressing the grave issues related to terrorism and militancy. Instead of finding out the root causes behind such threats, Hasina thinks these are her political rivals who are pushing the country towards anarchy.She simply disregards the flaws in her own policies and ignores the top-down approach that she often takes to govern the country. It had a satisfactory record of democracy in the past, but Bangladesh has lost its political traditions which were based on mutual cooperation, tolerance and forbearance.

Abdul Rehman Nizami,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.


India’s Obstinacy

This is with reference to your last month’s cover story on the NSG. In June 2016, the Nuclear Suppliers Group refused to consider India’s request for membership, as it hasn’t signed the mandatory treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, or NPT. It will be a disaster if the NSG were to welcome a non-NPT member like India that has recently repeated its stance of not signing the non-proliferation treaty and is still willing to become a part of the NSG through lobbying even without meeting basic requirements. This shows India has a tendency to act beyond the rules, as it always tries to achieve its foreign policy goals via diplomatic tactics and political manoeuvres. To become an NSG member, the red-carpet treatment India wants to be given by the rest of the world is no more than a forlorn hope.

Farid Uddin Shahab,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Saffron Afghanistan

The Afghan government has revealed its plans to increase saffron cultivation in the next five years. According to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Afghanistan can produce more than 70 tonnes of saffron annually which will generate substantial revenue for the country. Compared to such saffron-producing countries as Iran and India, the quality of Afghan saffron is better. At the moment, saffron is being cultivated in 30 provinces in Afghanistan, while the government is going to expand it all over the country as the best alternative to poppy and opium. The decision is quite commendable. Saffron can be the most valuable crop for poor farmers and can also help Afghanistan emerge as a major saffron-producing country, instead of being recognized as the epicentre of opium production.

Saeed Ullah Jan,
Kabul, Afghanistan.

Back Home

There are many families of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who have been living in camps in the Jaffna district of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province since 1990s. Recently, the government decided to close down all refugee camps in the area to complete its resettlement drive. The National Cabinet of Sri Lanka has approved LKR 971 million, which will be used to build houses, toilets and other facilities for returning families. The move must make sure of transparency in the resettlement process as there are many displaced families who need permanent shelter in the homeland, but some elements have seized their homes on political grounds. As a result, a number of such people in the Western Province are still homeless and are looking for the government to help them out.

M. Y. S. Chinthaka,
Valikamam, Sri Lanka.
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