Monthly Archives: May 2019

Identity Politics and Problems in the 2019 European Parliament Elections: Remembering Charles de Gaulle

Caught right off guard or simply unwilling to process the implications that these results may pose, Europe – it may be argued – is visibly unsettled. The results of the European Parliament Elections of 2019 usher in a transformative, albeit disconcerting era where 25 per cent of the European Parliament’s seats are expected to be occupied by the euro-skeptic, far-right, ultra-nationalist parties that have been generating notorious headlines across Europe. Despite the traditional, centrist parties just about managing to scrap the majority in the elections, the question still remains – what can one make of the ruffling victory of the euro-skeptics? Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party of France, Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord (Northern League) party of Italy and Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party of Hungary made impressive breakthroughs, with Le Pen most notably managing to win 25 per cent of the vote over incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party, which stood at 21.3 per cent. Salvini, too, confidently and resolutely secured 34 per cent of Italy’s vote.

The momentum that the far-right has picked up within contemporary European politics is a contemplative political development which may be tied down to a diverse range of mutually inclusive and exclusive factors. One of the most pertinent causes for this rise can be linked to the mainstream, centrist, social-democrat parties becoming increasingly influenced by the neoliberal ideological framework – this is most notably encompassed through the economic policies of Emmanuel Macron. Marine Le Pen’s late father, the infamous Jean-Marie Le Pen, had explicitly mentioned the strategy of galvanizing on the disenchantment on the left-leaning supporters who had consistently cast their votes for the social-democrats, stating: ‘Left-wing voters are crossing the red line because they think that salvation from their plight is embodied by Madame Le Pen. They say ‘no’ to a world that seems hard, globalized, implacable. These are working-class people, pensioners, office workers who say, “We don’t want this capitalism and competition in a world where Europe is losing its leadership.’” Continue reading

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Is the UK’s self-winding foreign policy taking a nosedive in the 21st Century?

Brexit becoming paralyzed indicates for the country being steered towards danger due to the absolute challenges yet to come.    

Theresa May never envisioned for Britain to contest in the European Parliamentary elections, 2019 with it being around the corner. All political parties are fighting for it inevitably as a proxy quest for Brexit. The recent local elections have been expounded in the same imprudent way the decisions on Brexit results were interpreted. Yet it would be an extent to make-believe that for the first time in the history of Britain, the European Elections of UK are truly focused on Europe’s and Britain’s position in the contemporary world. The reality is extremely less gratifying. The elections can be comprehended with a holistic understanding of another occurrence in the state and particularly the Conservative party’s distress due to the significant deterioration of British influence as the referendum was a short-term highlight. Therefore the elections are dubious to be therapeutic and purgative. On a conflicting note, the vote of 2016 has hauled the Brits into an entrenched melodrama.

The case regarding Brexit is one that is inescapable. It is binding for leaders and political parties to engage in it. The more it persists, the further the country goes beyond any endeavor to make a thoughtful, far-sighted decision about the actualities that shape its contemporary presence. The argument concerning Brexit is so severe that we fail to perceive lucidly enough the self -injury Britain is inflicting upon itself, regardless of the temporary consequence of the clashes that presently preoccupy the activists’ of the parties. Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP who is also in favor of a soft Brexit was of the opinion that they have become dangerous in the sense; the European Union’s conventional partners are not willing to exert any burdens any longer stated by Charles Grant, who is a pro-European veteran. In past Britain was considered Continue reading

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Conference on Climate Change: Speech by Dr Masuma Hasan

Dr. Tariq Banuri, distinguished members of the audience. It is my great pleasure to welcome you, especially Dr. Tariq Banuri, to this opening session of the conference on the existential challenge faced by Pakistan from climate change. I am thankful to Dr. Tariq Banuri for taking the trouble to travel to Karachi to join us this afternoon. As some of you would know, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs is the oldest think tank in our country. It was established in 1947 and was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. In his augural speech, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan recognised the need for an institution which should act as a bridge between policy makers and public opinion. For 72 years, our institution has fulfilled this purpose. We have given space to statesmen, scholars, diplomats, jurists and specialists in their fields from all over the world and have, on the other hand, provided a platform for informed debate on international politics and foreign policy challenges.

Our research output is disseminated through our publications and our quarterly journal, Pakistan Horizon, which has appeared without a break since 1948. It is the oldest scholarly journal in Pakistan. It is significant, perhaps, that we are holding this Conference in the sizzling heat outside ― and the electricity can go off at any minute. We have convened this Conference because climate change is considered to be the greatest threat to our planet in the 21st century. While some governments may have dragged their feet, the people have mobilised against it in many countries. Young people have gone on school strikes and taken to the streets to draw attention to the disastrous affects of climate change on the environment. We have all heard about the Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, whose activism has led her to address the highest forums on this issue ― the World Economic Forum, the European Parliament and the United Nations. Continue reading

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There is no proper climate change policy in Pakistan, experts conclude

There is no proper climate change policy in Pakistan, say experts. Policies are made here to get funding from international donors. 

“Climate change is a threat multiplier. There are other more critical threats but climate will multiply their impact,” said HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri on Friday. He was speaking at the inauguration session of a two-day conference on climate change — An Existential Challenge for Pakistan — organised by PIIA. “It is real, it is here and we caused it though we are quite sure that we also know how to fix it, but only if we cooperate,” said Dr Banuri, adding that the window for acting was short and closing fast. “There will be pain, nevertheless, we have to adapt. We also have to learn to prosper in a world defined by climate change,” he said. Bringing up the four horsemen and their horses of the Book of Revelation who symbolise the evils to come at the end of the world such as conquest, war, famine and death, he said that over the years things such as the industrial revolution, the manufacturing of pesticides, introduction of vaccines, etc, have pretty much warded off threats of famine, death, etc as more people today die of obesity than hunger and the incidence of premature deaths was also on the way out.

“But if we think that we have pushed back the four [horsemen] of the apocalypse, just know that climate change is bringing them back in,” he said. He also said that the government here was not serious about doing anything for climate change. “So there is really no such thing as climate policy here. No one knows what is happening as the policies here are not made to solve issues, they are made to see how to get funding from international donors,” he said. Prof Dr Noman Ahmed, the dean of the faculty of architecture at the NED University, started his presentation on ‘Citizens’ Concerns about Climate Change’ with a little story about him going to Lea Market for his research and casually asking a labourer there about the heatwave and its repercussions on people like him. Continue reading

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