Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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This section contains all research and opinion based posts by Spearhead Research team. All registered users are welcome to post their original work under this section.

A Comedy of Errors

The initial ineptitude in managing the Finance and Tax functions led to high-interest rates, closure of businesses, and an unprecedented devaluation of the Pak Rupee. The parallel economy supporting the real economy suddenly dried up and the economic activity started to gradually come to a grinding halt. The promised Billions from overseas Pakistanis never materialized, and the Prime Minister was forced to ‘ask’ friendly countries to donate to support Pakistan’s tottering economy. His continued tirade against the ‘Elite’ (incidentally most of the PTI stalwarts are part of that same elite) and support for the so-called ‘down-trodden’ led him to come down hard on the investors forcing him to shift gears and move into a donation-asking mode as opposed to a more productive industrialization and investment mode.
China moves towards Iran

A Landmark Event

China’s most significant outreach to Iran was long in coming but like all strategic decisions by China it is well considered, well timed and calibrated for maximum geo-political impact. This is truly a milestone in regional policy evolution with implications not just for Iran and China but also for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and the Central Asian states. It creates exploitable opportunities.

Blunder in the Himalayas

Behind the incident is India’s drooling tail-wagging relationship with the US and anti-China statements on many issues especially CPEC. In the CPEC context India has talked of its ambitions in Azad Kashmir (the part with Pakistan) and Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan area. India has also steadily stepped up its cease fire violations along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. No doubt China took note of India’s attitude as it has a Line of Actual Control with India and its own claim line with an agreement not to change status quo in the area.

Sparring in the Himalayas

Stepping back from the immediate situation it is clear that India’s unilateral action in August last year to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh led to reverberations beyond the India-Pakistan situation because the disputed status of Kashmir has been endorsed in many UN Resolutions. If India thought that by its blatant step it had resolved the Kashmir issue in its favor, then it miscalculated seriously as is evident from the reaction in Kashmir and the brutality unleashed on the Kashmiris including steps to change the demographic reality. The Kashmir situation is not resolved and Indian actions on the LOC and elsewhere will have consequences. Apparently China has not accepted the Indian action to bring Ladakh under New Delhi’s control and India has exacerbated the situation by irresponsible statements about its claim to Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan.

Power and the Powerful

There is a link between leadership and power because all leaders have, and exercise, power. One can be in a leadership position because of an appointment, or rank, or elected office or authority assigned or delegated-- but being in a position to exercise power does not make one a leader nor does the power that comes with the position make one an expert in the use of power. Leadership skills whether God given or acquired give one the ability to accumulate and carefully calibrate the use of power.
Indian Army violates Kashmir LoC

India’s Misconceived Game

Driven by political ambitions and inspired by a civilizational notion of leadership India under the RSS-BJP-Modi Combine has launched itself on a path that is already having dangerous consequences and that if unchecked, can lead to a catastrophe for the region and the world
Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Trudeau’s Message

The Prime Minister faced the camera without a row of flunkies beside him or behind him. He was alone. He did not have media persons asking him planted questions. He spoke simply and sincerely and effectively reached out to his targeted audience. He never strayed from the topic to drag in politics or ongoing events or his own or his governments achievements.
COVID-19 in Pakistan

The Thin Red Line

The problem now is that the health sector needs massive resources to cope with the virus and ramp up its capacity for the future and the unemployed and poor need sustained support. The government is mustering resources but the Prime Minister is right when he says that there has to be a ‘nuanced lockdown’ to permit a bare minimum level of economic activity so that some people start working for their living to reduce the enormous burden on the state
Pakistan China fight against COVID-19

Coping with the Virus

Though it took time to gel into specifics, the response has been comprehensive and robust. The various measures are being constantly reviewed and fine-tuned based on solicited feedback and close monitoring of the situation. There is criticism—too little too late, skepticism over implementation capacity
COVID-19 Panic

COVID 19 – Panic Mode

The fact is that the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) continues to witness nothing short of a bloodbath as the KSE-100 continues to decline and the Market is being halted on a daily basis as the triggers are being tripped. Close to Rs.400 Billion has been wiped off in value - the biggest decline in 10 years. The Rupee continues to fall against the USD and has lost close to Rs.4.00 and fallen to Rs.159 in the interbank market. Gold continues to rise. The Growth rate has been revised by Moody’s to around 2.5 per cent, which is also starting to appear optimistic. Utter mayhem. Yet, this is not an isolated event for Pakistan, but something that is being witnessed on a global scale. Other economies have been more proactive and put in place measures to try and reduce the fallout from the current situation