Monthly Archives: January 2012

Majyd Aziz: The Fat Lady is about to Sing

Imran Khan is riding the waves because he is talking about change à la Obama. Right now he is being propped up ostensibly by the establishment as an acceptable alternative to Zardari or Nawaz Sharif. Unfortunately he has not come out with any concrete answers or a roadmap for improving the economy, creating quality jobs, global bilateral relations, and good governance. Salman and Abrar can whip up a frenzy at his rallies but the question is, “Where’s the beef?”

Some big names as well as the youth, and what are called “burger families”, have rallied behind him. He terms his various rallies as a Tsunami that is out to wipe away the traditional political environment that is the root cause of the way this nation is being governed. This was the same scenario in 1977 when the Pakistan National Alliance was set up against Z A Bhutto till Gen Zia took over. The “primo” leader of PNA was Air Marshall Asghar Khan who was touted as the next Prime Minister. At that time, the big names in the politics of Pakistan were in PNA but the focus was on Asghar Khan. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Politics

Umair Khalil: Iran and the Strait – Prospects and Implications

Consider this question: if you were the policymaker of a country on the verge of an economic catastrophe and involved in a complex political imbroglio with the world’s foremost power, would you attempt to close down ‘the world’s most important oil chokepoint’ (which – according to international law – belongs to no one in particular)? For the sake of peace, personally I would avoid doing so.

I ask the question because Iran has threatened to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important shipping passage which links major oil-rich Gulf States to the rest of the world and through which almost one-fifth of the world’s oil passes. According to various analysts, if Iran blocks the Strait entirely, the global oil prices could increase by 50 percent or more in a matter of days. The Iranian decision of obstructing the strategically vital sea route may arise as a result of the latest US sanctions against Iran and mounting European pressure which might lead to the possibility of an oil embargo. Continue reading

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Filed under Discussion, Energy, Iran, Sanctions, Shipping, The Middle East