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11 Jul, 2014
Property And Property Rights

By Zafar Azeem

July 11, 2014

One view is that property and law are born together, and remain together. When there was no law, there was no property, take away the laws a property ceases. In more recent times, constitutions of individual states have safeguarded the property rights.


30 Jun, 2014
Hopeless In Pakistan

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

June 30, 2014

 That’s the story of the last 67 years. The story is going to be retold if the politicians do not take heart to challenge the actors be they state, i.e. security establishment, or non-state, i.e. Taliban and other violent groups. And if the ruling politicians let the security establishment do what it like, and do not subdue it to play its constitutional duty, they will once again betray the millions of teeming citizens who are living a hopeless life in Pakistan.

 


28 Mar, 2014
Afraid Of Trade?

By Nadir Hassan

March 28, 2014

 The MFN then, even if its name has been watered down to Non-Discriminatory Market Access to remove the misimpression that India will be treated better than any other country we trade with, is something we need to pursue.

 


18 Feb, 2014
Privatisation: The Right Way

By Agha Waqar

July 29, 2013 

For countries like Pakistan, the privatisation argument is mostlybased on two elements. First, the fiscal argument that governments improve their financial positions by selling public business enterprises. Second, that allocation of capital between alternative investments would improve if governments were not involved in the process. While these are true, privatisation should primarily have an economic reform focus.

 


18 Feb, 2014
Market-Friendly Or Business-Friendly?

By Ishrat Hussain

December 31, 2013

Governments in developing countries are increasingly being accused of policies and practices that favour cronies and party loyalists in allocation of scarce resources. They do this blatantly in the name of market-friendly policies thereby creating mistrust, suspicion and doubts in the minds of the ordinary citizens about the ‘market’.

 


10 Feb, 2012
Democracy Or Rule Of Law

January 10, 2012

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

So the time has come whence the citizens of Pakistan need to decide what they want: democracy or rule of law.

The verdict of the Supreme Court (Jan 10) re the implementation of its own NRO judgment, in option 6 reads: 


04 Jan, 2012
Russias "Elections": On The Importance Of Listening

January 4, 2012

By Dmitriy Butrin 

United Russia has lost the right to be regarded as the country’s main political force. Its claims to express the will of the majority are untenable.  What is going on is not a temporary setback or an accidental loss that can be made up for later. It is the corollary of attempts to create a political system that they call “manageable” or “sovereign” democracy. The result of even this “election” shows that the course proposed to “unite” Russia does not sit well with most Russiansit was clearly not supported by a majority of votes. 


14 Sep, 2011
Karachi - Not A Political Problem!

September 15, 2011

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

“And it is our deep conviction that if the Ahrar had been treated as a pure question of law and order, without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealt with them. Consequently, we are prompted by something that they call a human conscience to enquire whether, in our present state of political development, the administrative problem of law and order cannot be divorced from a democratic bed fellow called a Ministerial Government, which is so remorselessly haunted by political nightmares. But if democracy means the subordination of law and order to political ends – then Allah knoweth best and we end the report.” (Justice Munir Inquiry Report 1954, P. 387)


12 Sep, 2011
Media Consumption?

September 12, 2011

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

That is what is known as Public Consumption. Also, government has laws and rules such as official secret acts, or classified information; it goes beyond that and conceals its affairs from the citizens, and makes their leaking a crime. In addition to concealing its affairs, government lies as well as misleads the citizens. It contrives incomplete, incorrect and false information which they mean for “public consumption.” In this game, the media serves as a tool of the government. Otherwise, what else the Information Minister's 'for the media consumption' may amount to?


15 Aug, 2011
Is Keeping Assets Abroad Criminal?

August 15, 2011

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad 

It is as simple as that – if an ordinary citizen, or a public office holder, or an elected representative owns assets in any other country where he abides by the laws of that country and pays taxes duly, and back home also, then keeping accounts and assets there is his legal and constitutional right. In that case, he cannot be barred from being a member of any elected body and joining public office. Innumerable Pakistanis are already present in foreign countries' elected bodies and public institutions and own assets in both countries of their nationality. For that matter, in Pakistan probably very few citizens of other countries would be found in our elected bodies and public institutions! Doesn't this bill invite other countries to go for a legislation of the same ilk? 


08 Aug, 2011
Change Direction In U.S. Policy Towards Counter Terrorism: Focus On Rule Of Law

May 15, 2011

By Wiktor Wojciechowski, Sergio Daga & Ali Salman

For the U.S. aid efforts to be effective, ineffective economic grants must be supplemented with aid directed towards the civil administration and a criminal justice system to enforce the rule of law. It is time for U.S. policy-makers, as well as U.S. tax payers, to build pressure on their administration to do the right thing. It is time to focus on rule of law.


29 May, 2011
Parliaments Incompetence

May 29, 2011

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

So the real issue is complicity and overstepping the constitutional mandate! The information got out of the Parliament’s closed session tells a different story of sovereignty sentimentalism eclipsing all other issues, as is borne out by its outcome, the resolution. Probably none took up the issue of Pakistan Army’s grabbing of civilian powers of formulating defense and foreign policy. None dared ask the security leaders about their past and present interfering in the political affairs of the country, and intelligence agencies’ meddling in civilian affairs, and more than that intervening in public and private sphere of political and civil society leadership, and their penchant to control media. None found courage of challenging their complicity with the Taliban and other brands of extremists in Pakistan, and giving safe heaven to Osama in Abbottabad’s garrison area. In sum, making a defense and foreign policy of their own.


25 May, 2011
Egypt: You Can't Eat Democracy

May 26, 2011

By Alan Fraser & Ben Crossland

But the most pressing problem for the interim government remains the economy, as in most of the Arab Spring countries: “We are very much concerned by the rise in expectations... Sometimes the demands are justified and sometimes they are unrealistic," Finance Minister Samir Radwan said this week.


09 May, 2011
What About Internal Sovereignty?

May 10, 2011

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

Sure, the nationalists’ anti-American stance and dubbing the present government as US-backed validate their argument. Indeed, by way of inference also, most of these nationalists lean toward the Taliban who are openly attacking the sovereignty of Pakistan. But it seems they have no idea of internal sovereignty, but are concerned only about guarding the external sovereignty of Pakistan which is in no danger by the Drone attacks.


03 May, 2011
Tunisias Free Trade Revolt

May 3, 2011

By Tibor R. Machan

How ill conceived it is that government is thought to be authorized to regiment people’s economic activities and affairs should be plain to anyone who understands a thing or two about human liberty. But what happened in Tunisia to set off the recent rebellion might illuminate the point a bit. Here is what we find in the pages of THE WEEK (February 19, 2011, p. 48), originally published in The Times/N.I. Syndication:

“[Mohamed Bouazizi, the] young [street] trader had been in trouble with the authorities before....Under the dictatorship of President Ben Ali, permits were required for every form of business activity, often accompanied by a bribe. Bouazizi’s family would later claim that he had refused to pay the bribe demanded by the officials....According to other fruit and vegetable pedlars, vendors have a choice when faced with a municipal inspector: they can flee, and leave behind both borrow and merchandise; pay a fine equivalent to several days’ earnings, or fork out a bribe. Bouazizi, it seems, was not inclined to do any of these. When [a 45 year old female inspector] Hamdi began seizing his applies, he tried to grab them back, and she slapped him in the face....”


29 Apr, 2011
Forsaking Institutional Sovereignty

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

April 29, 2011

Had he not bowed down to the outside pressure on his sovereign office to reinstate the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges, and his party’s Prime Minister not withdrawn his orders of putting ISI under the control of the Interior Ministry, I would have been madly in love with President Asif Ali Zardari and his government! Alas, in Pakistan wishes and interests of a select few reign supreme, not the constitution of the country!


25 Apr, 2011
Reliving Pak Tea House

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

April 24, 2011

The demise of the Pak Tea House is symptomatic of the crisis of intellectual independence and private initiative in Pakistan. The premises is still there, existing with its symbolic glory, waiting for someone with entrepreneurial spirit to make use of its huge potential, who would turn it once again into Pak Tea House? Let’s see who reinvents and relives the Pak Tea House!


11 Mar, 2011
A World Without Rules

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

March 11, 2011

There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
[Major General Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket (1935)]


02 Mar, 2011
Legislating Middlemans Ouster

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

March 2, 2011

The middleman tends to be eliminated . . . He can only be safely eliminated by natural processes. Sometimes he is of real use and helps production; sometimes he is not; but this cannot be decided by a blind strike, but only by allowing the forces of competition to act upon him.
[Hon. Auberon Herbert]


21 Feb, 2011
Economic Backbone: Its None Of Your Business

By Nyda Mukhtar 

February 21, 2011
 
They are capable of resuscitating a dying economy and of making third world countries first world powers. They can develop cities and rural areas, put an end to wars, and make societies and communities stronger.


13 Feb, 2011
Next Elections Next Month

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

February 13, 2011

Then there was the Raymond Davis episode that proved to be a blessing in disguise to each and everyone fond of trying his / their hands at politicking. Both provincial and federal governments are making political hay while the Raymond Davis’ sun shines. This long queue also includes so many of those who are determined to fight and defeat US the Super Power in Lahore. What a great opportunity they have got to wage the 3rd World War against the last Super Power! (These politicos plan to be the next themselves!)


31 Jan, 2011
The Cruelest Tax Of All

By Sarel Oberholster 

January 31, 2011
 
The zero-interest-rate policy deserves closer scrutiny. Would a saver willingly agree to an economic environment of zero interest rates? Certainly not. Would a debtor prefer a zero interest rate? Absolutely. The saver and the debtor would, under normal, willing-economic-participant conditions, negotiate a "price" for the use of money saved. That price for the use of funds is interest.
 
The central bank enters the negotiation between saver and borrower, and by counterfeiting money it destroys the negotiating base of the saver. Counterfeiting money through policies of unlimited liquidity provision is a "price control" over interest rates, instituted to force interest rates down and eventually spiral them downwards out of control to zero. The interest income of the saver is eventually taxed to extinction at zero interest rates.
26 Jan, 2011
Natural Gas: Need For Price Rationalization

January 26, 2011 

By Ali Salman
 
The multi-pronged strategy of the government to make up for the gas deficit does not consider price rationalization in its policy mix. In presence of wrong price structure, supply side measures like exploration and conservation are likely to meet with failure. 


22 Jan, 2011
The Fatal Folly Of Protectionism

By Farooq Tirmizi 

January 18, 2011
 
In a nutshell, protectionism is when a government restricts the flow of goods in or out of the country – either through tariffs, quotas or outright bans – in order to protect either local producers or consumers of the good in question.
 
Yet, since 1929, the world’s economists have, by and large, agreed that protectionism is damaging to both the country that engages in it as well as the rest of the world. This is because protectionism was the leading cause of the Great Depression.

22 Jan, 2011
Monetary Policy: The Right Increase

By Ali Salman 

January 22, 2011
 
The State Bank’s decision to increase the discount rate seems justified to counter the rising inflation, a negative real interest rate and increased government borrowing.
 
When real interest rates are negative, there is no incentive for lending and saving. In such an inflationary environment, every individual would rationally spend her money today rather than save for tomorrow. This would further deepen the inflationary spiral. 

12 Jan, 2011
Anarchy Or Rule Of Law

By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

January 13, 2011

There are anarchists in every society,it is for the state to control them through law and force!


11 Jan, 2011
Trade Deficits And Fiat Currencies

January 11, 2011 

There is a definite connection between fiat currencies and trade deficits. Critics of the Federal Reserve are right to blame it for distorting trade flows and setting the US economy up for an inflationary crash. However, a trade deficit per se is not a sign of a bad economy. Indeed the trade deficit might blossom if the US ever returned to the gold standard, though it would be due to a productive net inflow of producer goods.

03 Jan, 2011
Sense Of Direction

January 3, 2011

With JUI (F), MQM, and PML (Q) once again out to test their gamesmanship, and ANP, PML (N), the Army, and the political-religious parties outside waiting in the wings, it seems Pakistan is all set to brace for another bout of political crisis - leaving us the people bewildered what the hell is the direction they are all moving Pakistan into!


25 Dec, 2010
This Bread Is Mine

December 25, 2010

What Smith, Ricardo, and Marx have done, and what the followers of the latter two continue to do, is to confuse the meanings of two important words: cost and value. While it may be true in the above instance that it might cost five dollars to produce the lumber from a given tree, the value of the lumber from that tree has no immediate relationship to cost.


20 Dec, 2010
Rewarding Market For Disclosure

December 17, 2010 

Adapting existing social contracts for business transactions hold the answer towards documentation; not levy of more taxes.


13 Dec, 2010
Food Security In Great Peril From Biofuels

December 13, 2010 

Agriculture faces many difficulties, from how to establish land rights to how to disseminate technology or adapt to climate change. But the biofuel problem is a no-brainer.

04 Dec, 2010
Wikileaking Clandestine Governments

December 4, 2010

Hence, if all the affairs of governments are open and transparent, most of the possibility of this or that type of armed revolts, and war will be reduced to the minimum. This proposition would never be welcomed by rulers and governments, and also by those who despite their being outside government are stuffed with a thinking of ruling other people. They are ‘rulers’ from inside, or by instinct. They can never concede to or tolerate that the matters of governments be brought in open before the ‘ordinary’ citizens.


01 Dec, 2010
A Stinted Mindset
December 1, 2010

We are not a normal nation and live down inside the proverbial well made of our own presumptions. Thus we are a perfect subject matter for psychologists to study. In addition, we are never ready to admit that, instead declare others abnormal. That makes us own a stinted mindset in our heads. What’s wrong with this mindset is that it never allows us to live normally, to have introspection, to see ourselves in a critical mirror, to identify our mistakes, to understand our inconsistencies, to grant others the same rights and freedoms that only we rightfully claim to possess and enjoy. It is this mindset that does not let us come out of our obsession of a charismatic nation (for whom things will happen on their own without any effort), and finally it is this mindset that never permits us to move ahead and improve ourselves.


17 Oct, 2010
Bridging The Communication Gap With PPP!

October 17, 2010

The latest Nawabshah speech (October 11) of President Asif Ali Zardari, replete with the same old rhetoric, and the adoption of the same hazy and symbolic rhetoric by the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani also, proves the same point that the disconnect or the communication gap is but a deliberate strategy to refuse to follow the norms, rules, laws, and constitutional provisions. Whatever its motives are, the PP leadership has taken refuge behind the populist parlance. In this vein, every piece of criticism of whatever nature is dumped under the carpet of conspiracy against the people of Pakistan, and their Party, i.e. the PPP.


07 Oct, 2010
Pakistan: A Flood Of Restrictions

October 07, 2010 

The government is also considering a flood tax aiming to raise Rs.138 billion (US$1.6 billion). In the current economic meltdown, such a claim looks very implausible. Moreover, taxes always discourage private and philanthropic giving. If I were taxed in the name of flood relief, I would obey but would then refuse to give to all charitable organizations. Thus a flood surcharge would only increase the flow of cash to government coffers instead of going to the many fairly effective humanitarian charities.

16 Sep, 2010
How To Make It Through The Floods?

September 16, 2010 

At present, Pakistan remains hidebound by restrictions on economic activity. Inefficient and expensive law courts make it difficult to enforce contracts. Restrictions on property make ownership insecure and undermine investment. Employment regulations and corruption make it difficult to operate a formal business, driving economic activity underground, where it cannot be taxed. These factors put Pakistan near the bottom of every ranking of economic freedom and are the main reasons for its weak economy and slow growth.


15 Sep, 2010
Jobs without growth?

September 15, 2010

International lending agencies want Pakistan to launch public works programmes to contain rising unemployment and poverty, instead of focusing only on growth. This is a mirage hidden in a trap.


23 Aug, 2010
Pakistans Crisis - Its Roots

August 23, 2010

Pakistan is in the grip of a deadly crisis. Whether it is political or economic domain, social or religious life, private or public sphere, the chaos is overriding. Watch for the utter disregard for social and moral values, and social norms on the one hand, and on the other for rules and laws, and the constitution, rampant at every level without any exception. That tells not only of the moral bankruptcy of Pakistani society but of the gravity of the deep moral crisis also. 


13 Aug, 2010
Water: This Right Is Wrong

August 11, 2010

The right to clean water and sanitation is far less definable and depends on economic development, technology and infrastructure. Above all, if people have a right to water and sanitation, other people must provide it--in practice, governments using public money. Such privileges are called “positive rights,” as opposed to the inaptly-named “negative rights” to things that cannot be taken away from you. So this is really a call for state intervention, at the expense of other priorities and freedoms--and water is no more a practically enforceable human right than other essential commodities such as food, clothing or shelter.


13 Aug, 2010
Pakistan - A Criminal State

August 14, 2010

It doesn’t matter which Independence Day it is – 64th or whatever; what matters is whether we are justified in celebrating the Independence or not!

In fact, and indeed, instead of celebrating, we need to indict ourselves. Nay, not ourselves, but those who are responsible of abusing this independence and turning this country into a criminal-elitist state.

This article is an indictment of the State and governments of Pakistan. On this day of August 14, 2010, I present it to the genius of the people of Pakistan!

May this article be able to awaken the conscience of the criminal elites of this country!

May this article be able to trigger a process of intense introspection among us!

May this article be able to grace us with the courage of admitting our crimes, and not declaring others responsible in our stead! [Khalil Ahmad]


02 Jun, 2010
Rules Must Rule Beliefs

June 2, 2010

Recall the Gojra killings of Christians and arson of their households! Did it result in anything that could stop the Lahore massacre? Instead, the government of Punjab appointed Ahmad Raza Tahir as the Lahore Capital City Police Officer whereas a Lahore High Court judge, Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, after conducting judicial inquiry into the incident of Gojra, had recommended strict action against him as at the time he was the Regional Police Officer Faisalabad and failed to control the riots there. It was only due to the Court’s direct intervention that his appointment was made an issue of, however his appointment was not cancelled by the government, but the Court itself. Why the Court did not initiate the contempt of court proceedings against the persons responsible of appointing such as an officer is anybody’s guess!

27 May, 2010
My Mean Pleasures And The Facebook

May 27, 2010

Now after the banning of the Facebook and Youtube I feel extraordinarily passionate about the watch-dog living inside me. I am feeling nostalgic how I brought this watch-dog up, how I institutionalized it into The Watchers. Alas, in my absence The Watchers could not survive long. But now I see how many The Watchers have sprung up in Pakistan. The courts too are playing The Watchers. I am happy how people campaigned against the Facebook, and finally got it banned.


27 Apr, 2010
Green Protectionism Vs. Growth

April 28, 2010

"I think everyone today considers the question of an adaptation mechanism at Europe's borders to be an unavoidable and essential matter," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in March, using the European Union euphemism for Green tariffs.

 
These ideas threaten international trade, growth and recovery.

27 Apr, 2010
Privatizing Climate Policy

April 28, 2010

Tort litigation on the basis of strict liability would protect the right to a climate free from human intervention if the climate does need protecting, and, in case it does not, would save economic activity across the world from the imposition of unnecessary costs. By providing a public arena for the competitive testing of scientific hypotheses concerning climate change, litigation would also promote the advancement of climate science. 


11 Apr, 2010
Two Pakistans

April 12, 2010

Anyone can see that there is not one Pakistan. After more than 60 years the two Pakistans can clearly be demarcated. One is for the ordinary lot of the people, and the second one is for the elite classes. Pay a visit to the ordinary Pakistan, and experience the ordinary life there, have a taste of some basic social services available there, and you will realize how neglected is this ordinary Pakistan of the ordinary people of Pakistan. Likewise almost in every big city, there are two cities, one for the ordinary lot and one for the special elite. All other smaller cities including the vast rural expanse fall under the ordinary Pakistan.

11 Apr, 2010
Free Food!

April 11, 2010 

Food production far outstripped population growth in the 20th century, despite widespread pessimism. And the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) says there is enough land and water to allow this to continue through the 21st century.

 


16 Mar, 2010
Do We Need Secularism?

March 16, 2010 

Secularism is an old song that keeps reverberating in the liberal, enlightened, progressive, leftist, and socialist circles of Pakistan. Earlier this January news from Bangladesh that its supreme court banned use of religion by political parties provided a fresh impetus to the choir. Since then a plethora of op-ed appreciating and envying this progressive step of Bangladesh continues appearing in the newspapers. They all regret Pakistan’s lagging behind in this important improvement.
 

12 Mar, 2010
Micro-Finance: Taking A Step Back

March 11, 2010 

It is evident that microfinance has helped the poor in managing their cash flows and in sustaining their income levels; however, it has not necessarily helped them to come out of poverty by increasing their income levels. We can’t turn people into entrepreneurs by just providing them with capital – if this were so, we would not have seen countless examples of “rags to riches” throughout the world without the aid of any formal credit!
 

07 Mar, 2010
Democracy That Delivers

March 08, 2010

Improving public confidence in a democracy is not just in the interest of any incumbent regime. It is in the interest of every party or individual who declares its belief in change through democratic means. The only remedy available is to focus on economics, and thus less politics.


10 Feb, 2010
Copenhagen: The Skeptics Views

February 10, 2010

The Oregon petition, signed by the 31,000 scientists, states: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”


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