Jinnah and his young admirers

Jinnah could be kind to children. His reserved nature probably prevented him from making physical gestures of warmth and his affection may have been imbued with sternness. That he was devoted to his daughter, Dina, is borne out in all accounts of his life. She grew up in his homes in London and Bombay where she spent time also with her mother’s family, particularly with her indulgent grandmother. Jinnah denied Dina nothing, just as he had denied nothing to his wife, Ruttie. In London, she would coax him away from his briefs and persuade him to take her to pantomimes. She would lovingly address him as ‘Grey Wolf’ after the biography of Kemal Ataturk which he had urged her to read.

Despite his unhappiness with her marriage to a Christian, the bond between them remained strong. In her letters to Jinnah, written on the eve of Partition, Dina addresses her father as ‘Darling Papa’. The contents of the letters, apart from her concern about the sale of South Court as his house on Malabar Hill was known, are full of mundane matters which she apparently felt confident enough to write about. There is no record of how frequently she and her children met him as he fought for time, grappling with his frequent ‘breakdowns’ and ‘self-imposed’ burden of work. Jahanara Shahnawaz recalled, however, how Jinnah was the heart and soul of one of her parties, regaling the guests with stories about his grandsons. The Raja of Mahmudabad first met Jinnah as a child when he and Ruttie stopped at Qaiser Bagh during their honeymoon. Continue reading

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FCO: General Election 2015 does not impact historic UK-Pakistan ties

On 11 June 2015, His Excellency Mr. Philip Barton, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, addressed PIIA members on “UK-Pakistan Relations after the UK Elections

There will not be significant changes in the overall relationship between the United Kingdom and Pakistan after the recent General Election in Britain, said H.E. Philip Barton, the British High Commissioner. The high-ranking western diplomat articulated his thoughts at a talk he gave at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on Thursday evening. He said even though now there was a different government in power in the UK the prime minister and top four senior ministers remain unchanged. “The two governments know each other well. They have a mature relationship allowing genuine partnership and where there are issues in which they differ with each other, they can discuss it without being rankled.”

He spelled out the six areas which he and his team would be focusing on during his tenure in Pakistan: furthering of business relationship between UK and Pakistan, access to EU markets, increasing the tax revenue base, regional relationships, development and security. Continued efforts will be made in making both the countries prosperous, said Mr Barton while speaking on commercial relations between Britain and Pakistan. “We are promoting Pakistani companies to the British ones, finding ways of doing business with ease. Retail sector will see a potential increase as more British brands coming into Pakistan. Information technology is another area will there be a potential increase both ways.” Continue reading

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Cheers for the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Movement

It was a landmark decision which brought both joy and tears of emotion to the eyes of those who have long struggled for women’s rights in Pakistan. In a short order, on 2 June 2015, a full bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan declared null and void the by-election held in PK 95, Lower Dir II, on grounds of the disenfranchisement of women in that constituency. A re-polling will take place. It seems forever now that women have been barred from casting their votes in some parts of Pakistan. Over the years, women have not only participated defiantly and vibrantly in elections at all levels, they have also reached the highest level of representation in the houses of parliament both on reserved seats and general seats. But some areas have kept their women indoors on every election day.

It has been customary for political parties operating in these areas to arrive at prior agreements among themselves that women would not be allowed to cast their votes. This includes conservative and religious parties as well as the so-called ‘secular’ parties. It seems that custom and patriarchical tyranny has always prevailed over the agendas of ‘progressive’ parties. The agreements are verbal but have often been reduced to writing as they were in this case. Aurat Foundation has worked for the participation of women in politics at all levels. It has facilitated the participation of women in local, provincial and national elections by getting their national identity cards made Continue reading

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Filed under Aurat Foundation, Constitution 1973, Courts, Discussion, Pakistan, Women

Sarwar Hasan: The Library and the Research Worker

PIIA’s founder Barrister Sarwar Hasan thought that the test of a real scholar is whether he has been published by a publisher of world repute.

khwaja-sarwar-hasanIt has been said of the great Arab historian, Tabari, that he wrote forty pages a day for forty years. Edward Gibbon took fifteen years to write the eight volumes of his famous book, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. We have taken these two examples of writers of multi-volume works for the reason that, while they belong to two different cultures and periods, the nature of their effort was the same. Undoubtedly it was in both cases a purely personal effort. The material which they drew upon for their books was also self-collected. And, of course, their purpose was not monetary gain. They were motivated by a passion for enquiry and zeal for making available to others the knowledge which they themselves were deeply interested in acquiring. The times in which Tabari or Gibbon wrote were more spacious than present. There was then more leisure than there is today and practically no competition.

The problem of earning a livelihood to maintain oneself and one’s family was also not so acute. Thus it was that men of learning read books which they themselves collected or books to which they had access in private collections or such public libraries as then existed. They were research workers who fended for themselves. Circumstances have now changed. The research worker of today is not a man of leisure. He has generally to earn his living by his writing. He has to work under severe pressure of time. He knows that he has competitors in the field and must finish his work before his rival does. Continue reading

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Filed under Discussion, India, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, PIIA, Sarwar Hasan

CPEC: Ambassador Masood Khan Addresses PIIA Members

Balochistan will be main beneficiary of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not a single road. Instead, it is a network of opportunity which will spur the growth of industrial zones supported by energy plants, connecting Kashgar in China to Gwadar. Balochistan should be the primary beneficiary of the project. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will also benefit from it as there is no discrimination against any province. These were some of the points canvassed by Masood Khan, Director-General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and Pakistan’s former permanent representative to the United Nations in a lecture titled ‘Pakistan: security challenges and opportunities’ in the library of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday.

Before his talk, Mr Khan expressed his sadness at the tragedy that had taken place in the city in the morning in which 43 members of the Ismaili community were murdered in a bus. He termed the dastardly act “a sad day in our history”. Mr Khan commenced his lecture by focusing on national security underlining four important things — ideology of Pakistan, sovereignty and territorial integrity, social and economic development and development of democracy. Drawing parameters for that he said, “national security is human security,” a synthesis of aspirations and intentions of the people of Pakistan where “people are the centre”. National security, he said, depended upon internal and external environments.

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Yemen’s problem is not sectarian

This post relates to coverage in the Dawn regarding our recent event on the crisis in Yemen … “Pakistan has no business in the Arab world”

Ever since King Salman ascended to power, there’s been a gung-ho feeling in Riyadh. Yemen’s is not a sectarian issue rather the Saudis are trying to make the country into Saudi Yemenia, said Raza Naeem, assistant professor at the School of Governance and Society in the University of Management and Technology, Lahore, during his talk at The Pakistan Institute of International Relations (PIIA) on Thursday 23 April 2015. The round-table conference held in PIIA was entitled The Crisis in Yemen and Pakistan’s Response. Before giving an historical account of Yemen, Prof Naeem said it was not a country talked about much in our part of the world and he was disappointed with the mainstream commentary dominated by security analysts and ex-ambassadors. He explained Yemen was a water-scarce country that imported 90 per cent of its foodstuffs. Ever since Saudi Arabia started bombing the country, a humanitarian crisis with electricity and food shortages had enveloped Yemen, he said. In the future, he added, there was a chance of water wars in the Middle East.

He termed ironic the name ‘Restore Hope’ that the Saudis had given to their operation because it was the same name that the American gave to their operation when they attacked Somalia and destroyed it. Shattering the myth that Yemen was the birthplace of Al Qaeda, he said it was an attempt to whitewash the region’s past. Yemen was the only republican country in the peninsula and the Saudis had never liked that, he explained. Prof Naeem said Yemen used to be two countries, divided into north and south parts.

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Economic Crises and Reforming Karachi’s Informal Textile Industry

This post extracts the key points of an important impact assessment in relation to reforming Karachi’s informal textile sector.

It has recently been reported that Pakistan is the eighth largest exporter of textile and related products in Asia and that Pakistan’s textile industry accounts for 9.5 percent of the country’s GDP and provides employment to about 15 million people or roughly 30 percent of the country’s 49 million strong workforce. Arguably, Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world. Contributing 5 percent to global spinning capacity, Pakistan possesses the third largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India. Equally, The textile industry in Pakistan accounts for more than 60 per cent (US$9.6 billion) of total exports. Indeed, the industry forms the spine of Pakistan’s economy. To date, no empirical research has examined the local impacts of economic crises and reform on cities in Pakistan, including Karachi.

This study by Arif Hasan, Mansoor Raza and IIED addresses this gap by examining how the textile industry – as one of Pakistan’s most productive economic sectors – has been impacted, with a focus on the informal power loom sub-sector. The factors that have contributed to the decline of the textile industry and the repercussions for this sub-sector, including one of the settlements in which it operates, are discussed. The conclusions contemplate the challenges of formulating urban policy responses to an economic problem that is shaped simultaneously by local, regional and global pressures. This study examines the local impacts of economic crises and reform on the textile industry in Karachi, with a focus on the informal power loom sub-sector and the low-income settlement (Dibba Colony) where it operates. Continue reading

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