Growing Pains: Reflections on Party Development in Punjab and KP

In the limelight (photo: Dawn)

In the past month or so, two unrelated and currently ongoing stories have highlighted some interesting aspects of political party development in Pakistan.  The first is Pervaiz Khattak’s Chief Minister-ship and PTI’s management of the coalition in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and the second are the debates, or lack thereof, on local government elections in Punjab. The reason why I bring them up ... Read More »

Intellectual Atrophy of Two Karachi Generations

Ibrahim Hyderi

When some of my students started signing up for jobs at Phillip Morris, Pfizer and Citibank, I was a little concerned.  Had we taught them the technicalities of the English legal system so as to enable them to live the yuppy dream, enjoy the fruits of neo-liberalism, get a big paycheck, and buy their coffee at Gloria Jean?  Students want ... Read More »

Guest post: The struggle continues: Mandela and his Legacies

By: S Pakhrin - CC BY 2.0

This is a guest post by Nicholas R. Smith, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is currently completing a dissertation on crime, policing, and vigilantism in post-apartheid South Africa.  South Africa’s national image has been remarkably tied to the image of one man: Nelson Mandela. However, as Mandela’s life seems to be ... Read More »

Chicago in 13 Maps

By: Bryce Edwards - CC BY 2.0

Perhaps a blog that focuses on Pakistani politics isn’t the best place for this post. However, this is the only blog I write for, so here it goes… I really miss Chicago. I’m incredibly sad to leave Chicago for Washington DC after eight years. Chicago is a city of extremes. There are many downright awful things about Chicago: It has the ... Read More »

The Value of Kamran Akmal


Watching the NBA playoffs recently, and the articles that came with it, the most conspicuous aspect had been the rise of analytics in importance. A freeform sport like basketball does not immediately adhere to the sort of revolution that Michael Lewis made Billy Beane famous for, but it hasn’t stopped the people trying. The rise of analytics in general in ... Read More »

[Guest Post] Yeh Jawani Hai Noorani

Gastrointestinal examination

The following post is in Urdu, written in Roman letters. If you would like to read this in another language, please lift your keyboard and hold it directly over your head for 10 seconds and the post will be translated into a language of your choice. Written by: Palang Tor Patriot aka The Artist Formerly Known As @RangeelaBabu   Ye ... Read More »

Income Taxes are Still Low

By: Alan Cleaver - CC BY 2.0

In my previous post, I argued that income taxes are very low in Pakistan. Some friends raised valid points in contention, some angry people commented on other issues (I was arguing about the rate of income taxes in isolation, not the wider out-of-tax-net situation), and others suggested comparing to previous years. A friend sent his firm’s take on the new ... Read More »

Tax Haven

By: Images Money - CC BY 2.0

As soon as there is some talk of budegtary or taxation in Pakistan, a loud lament is heard across the commentariat where the salariat class cries that only they are taxed, only they do pay the tax as it is withheld at source and the tax burden on them is increased in every budget. While there is a lot of ... Read More »

Not (just) Mercurial


I wrote this after reading the responses to the South Africa defeat, as well as an email conversation. It’s a bit late, but we promise to refund the money you paid for it.  Pakistan can be a really annoying country to write about. Cliches and simplistic conclusions are eternally seductive, begging you to forsake the country’s considerable complexities in the ... Read More »

What Happens to Musharraf?

Pirate Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf has been back in Pakistan for a while now. He defied the advice of the Army, the ISI, most of his advisors (however few are left) and apparently his family as well. Reported rumors suggest his prime motivation to return was to respond to critics who accused him of cowardice. A man of Musharraf’s ego does not take such ... Read More »