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
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
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.
It 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