Friday, September 25, 2020

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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.

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

ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

The mistakes of the past are being repeated according to Dr. Mian. The reliance has continued to be on external borrowings, with IMF support and maintenance of an over-valued Rupee which severely hampered exports. Today Pakistan’s debt has the lowest maturity among peer countries. As a result, inflows continue to be short-term with maturities in the 3 -12 month range. Of the foreign investment of US$2.25 Billion only US$24 Million went towards the longer term Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs)

INDIA’S KASHMIR FIASCO

The so-called facilities created for journalists are a farce and a mockery of the international media. The only news is government announcements that are obviously far from the truth and the grim reality that is IOK today

Voice of Justice, for “Vulnerable to Justice”

Women from urban and more developed areas Pakistan are quite open to the idea of being liberalized and empowered, as compared to women from rural and less developed regions of the country. This difference was also observed during the recently held “Aurat March” under the banner of Aurat Foundation. Interestingly, both of these women empowering projects have the same funding source

Forward March

The government had been crying hoarse that it had stabilized the economy and good things would happen. The economists, the media, the analysts and the street opinion solicited by roaming media people did not agree. Now Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has changed Pakistan’s outlook from negative to stable affirming Pakistan’s local and foreign currency long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at B3.

The Road Ahead

The media including the social media and the governments various stratagems acted as a pressure valve by keeping the pot simmering without boiling over---in fact this is how the many protests and strikes taking place as well as the socio-economic grievances that remain below the street riot level, are being managed.

EVEN THIS SHALL PASS

The most accepted line of thought is that there is a government and supporting it is the country’s most powerful institution and together they are tackling the issues facing the country and managing the multiple issues that are raising their heads. So far this management has managed to avert a major crisis and is in fact putting the country on the road to stability

CPEC GETS A SHOT IN THE ARM

The CPEC Authority would be empowered to make decisions about CPEC projects all over the country, overriding the authority of the provincial governments. In the past Chinese officials have repeatedly complained about bureaucratic red tape in Pakistan stalling progress of CPEC projects. The creation of the CPEC authority will act as a one-window operation to avoid red tape... Islamabad has a very strong incentive to signal Beijing that it's still committed to CPEC and what better can be to announce two new measures on CPEC that benefit CPEC in a very big way.

Book Review: Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India

A decision that has sparked international outrage and led to a widely condemned 80 days and counting shut down of Kashmir and that has brought immense misery to the Kashmiris and led to renewed and dangerous hostility with Pakistan