Last update: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07pm

Articles and Letters: Articles


Matthew Parker, author of Panama Fever and Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II, in his famous book, The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies, uses the rise and fall of the sugar dynasties of the West Indies as a framework for the intertwined histories of sugar, slavery, the industrial revolution, and Britain's American colonies. The story narrated in this book, occasionally horrifying, portrays the worst period of exploitation during the colonial period. Unfortunately, many of its reminiscent still exist at many places like Pakistan in post-colonial era. It is evident from the landmark judgement of Lahore High Court in JDW Sugar Mills Ltd etc. Versus Province of Punjab etc [Writ Petition No 37 of 2016]. The only difference is that now the sugar barons are not colonial masters but known politicians of Pakistan.
In 1975, PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto renamed the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), the Army's Head, as Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), subordinate to the mainly created Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC). His stated vision to have a modern integrated armed forces was correct, the real reason was to stave off possible military coup d'etats by creating another power centre. When push came to shove in 1977, the Chairman JCSC was powerless to stop the CoAS from declaring Martial Law. The CoAS today remains the C-in-C in all but name.
A blockchain platform developed by a group that includes more than 70 of the world's biggest financial institutions is making its code publicly available, in what could become the industry standard for the nascent technology. The Corda platform has been developed by a consortium brought together by New-York-based financial technology company R3. It represents the biggest shared effort among banks, insurers, fund managers and other players to work on using blockchain technology in the financial markets.
"There is honour among thieves."
In this media-dominated age where hype and hysteria prevail, views of Pakistanis and Indians about each other and their respective worlds continue to collide. The propensity to assume the worst about each other and to wholly succumb to hypernationalistic furies is a tragic flaw. In great measure, this stems from a psyche of fear and insecurity, which is evident in vociferous sentimentality.
In the hurly-burly of Pakistan's politics and the Kashmiri intifada, the IMF just released its twelfth and final review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) first contracted by this government in September 2013. The press release patted IMF and the government on the back for a successfully implemented programme. The operative part of the review noted that: "Pakistan's Fund-supported programme has helped the country restore macroeconomic stability, reduce vulnerabilities, and make progress in tackling key structural challenges."
The way he is going India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a lifelong activist of the Hindu extremist organisation, RSS, reminds one of what the late Indian journalist, Praful Bidwai, had to say about the country's Hindutva zealots in a newspaper article: "they want to get even with history." One of the RSS' declared objectives is to avenge the Muslim invaders' - real or perceived - oppression. No matter if most, at least a substantial number, of the present-day Muslims of the subcontinent are decedents of the native people who belonged to the same faith as the avengers and converted to Islam at one or another point in history.