Imran Khan's Historic Washington Rally: The Largest Ever For a Visiting Foreign Leader

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's rally drew nearly 30,000 Pakistani-Americans to Capital One Arena on Sunday, July 21, 2019. It was the largest ever public gathering of any diaspora to welcome a foreign visiting leader in the United States. Earlier record of 18,000 was set by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2014.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Addressing 30,000 Pakistani-Americans at Capital One Arena in Washington DC

Pakistani-Americans' Rally at Capital One Arena:

Coming a day prior to the prime minister's official meetings with President Donald Trump and the US Congressional leaders, the 30,000 cheering supporters at Capital One Arena boosted the confidence and the legitimacy of the Pakistani leader in the eyes of the US government leadership in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It also put on full display the increasing numbers and the growing clout of the Pakistani-American in their adopted home.

Asians in America. Source: National Geographic

There are over half a million Pakistani-Americans and nearly 4 million Indian-Americans in the United States,  a ratio of one-to-eight. However, enthusiastic Pakistani-Americans managed to pull off a bigger rally for their leader than the Indian-Americans did for their Prime Minister back in 2018.

Prime Minister Imran Khan with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Imran Khan Meets President Trump:

On July 22, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was warmly welcomed by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania who tweeted her pictures with visiting leader.  Prime Minister Imran Khan reminded the President that he has always believed that there is no military solution to Afghanistan. The only way to end America's longest war is through a political process involving negotiations with the Taliban.

Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and other Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Speaking with the media in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, President Trump said: "It's my honor to have the very popular and great athlete, the Prime Minister of Pakistan at White House". The President added that Pakistan was helping the US to "extricate" US troops from Afghanistan, through political negotiations.

President Trump offered to mediate in the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir. He said that he was making the offer after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested that he "mediate or arbitrate" in the long running dispute between two South Asian neighbors."If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If I can do anything on that let me know."

Prime Minister Imran Khan with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill:

US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. She said US-Pakistan relations are "important" and thanked Pakistan for the "beautiful gift" of Pakistani Americans that she said the country had given to the US. She was joined by a large number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The United States House of Representatives passed resolution H. RES 506 "welcoming the inaugural visit to the United States of the 22d Prime Minister of Pakistan and continuing support and commitment to the long and enduring friendship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".

The House Resolution acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

PM Imran Khan Signing "Dil Dil Pakistan" Cricket Bat For Congressman Swalwell

Many congressmen with large numbers of Pakistani-American voters were particularly eager to have their pictures taken with Prime Minister Imran Khan. San Francisco Bay Area Rep Eric Swalwell tweeted: "Representing one of the largest Pakistani-American congressional districts in the country, it was an honor to welcome #Pakistan PM @ImranKhanPTI to #America. A former cricket star, he was kind enough to sign a bat I bought in #Islamabad."

Silicon Valley Rep Ro Khanna and Members of Pakistan Caucus With PM Imran Khan

Another Congressman, Rep Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley, tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Imran Khan at USIP:

Prime Minister Imran Khan was a guest at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), a Washington DC think tank funded by the US government. He was interviewed by USIP President Nancy Lindborg in front of a live audience. In response to a question, the Prime Minister called for “a relationship as equals, of friendship,” rather than, “as it has been before,” with Pakistan “wanting aid from the U.S. and then for aid Pakistan is expected to do certain things. The reason why I'm happy leaving the U.S. this time because we have a relationship now based on a mutual interest, which is peace in Afghanistan.”


Prime Minister Imran Khan's successful historic visit to the United States has brought into sharp focus the increasing numbers and growing clout of the half a million strong Pakistani-American community. The 30,000 Pakistani-Americans who attended the rally at Capital One Arena in Washington DC made it abundantly clear that the community has "arrived". Several Congressmen whose districts have significant numbers of Pakistani-Americans tweeted their pictures with Imran Khan. The House resolution welcoming the Prime Minister also acknowledged the "significant role of the Pakistani-American diaspora in building bridges of friendship between Pakistan and the United States; and... encourages people-to-people contact, particularly in the economic domain, as the way forward in rebuilding the bilateral relationship into an enduring partnership."

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Views: 176

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 28, 2019 at 8:53pm

Time for #India and #Pakistan to walk the talk. Was what President Clinton did #mediation? Or was it intervention? #Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Abhinandan was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming. Was it mediation? #Kashmir #Balakot

It took more than 10 years after Simla to group the subjects that India and Pakistan would sporadically talk about, and even then the two countries have been going around in circles. It is reasonable to assume that nowadays Pakistan talks more about India and Kashmir to the U.S. than to India. Terrorism was one of the subjects that the two nations emphasised they would bilaterally discuss, but the 2011 Mumbai blasts shattered that premise. Since then India has been talking about Pakistani terrorism not so much with Pakistan as with any country willing to listen. This is probably why U.S President Donald Trump revealed at the Oval Office on July 22 that he and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be “talking about India”. “I think maybe if we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do,” he said. “But I think it’s something that can be brought back together.”

Clinton’s role during Kargil
President Trump may have been overstating it, but when the Simla Agreement was violated in Kargil, it was an American President who helped push the Pakistani troops back into Pakistan. As the Kargil War began to get bigger, a worried President Bill Clinton, who called the region “the most dangerous place in the world”, reached out to both Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging Mr. Sharif to pull back from the Line of Control (LoC) and Vajpayee not to widen the war front.


Was what President Clinton did mediation? Or was it intervention? Or meddling? Or was this all a shining example of bilateralism envisaged in the Simla Agreement? President Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming when he said: “We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that’s going to be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time, decades and decades. There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately. So we’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organization and some peace, and I think probably that’s going to be happening.” Was that mediation or the Simla Agreement at work? Nobody pointed out to President Trump that only the Ministry of External Affairs or the Pakistani Foreign Office or the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations were allowed to make such announcements.

We have to recognise that the world has changed since the Simla Agreement was signed. After the 1971 war, India returned land taken in battle on the western border, to create lasting peace. The LoC is now more firmly established than ever before. There is no talk any more of United Nations resolutions. Most of the subjects in the ‘composite dialogue format’ like Siachen, Sir Creek and Wullar Barrage have been discussed threadbare. Some of them have been ready for political signatures for years. If the way forward is bilateral, then surely it is time to prove it?

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 28, 2019 at 9:10pm

#India's false propaganda on #Kashmir: "During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. ..manipulation through #media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history."

Mirza Waheed’s latest novel, The Collaborator, interrogates the role of the media in the conflict in Kashmir. It subtly critiques the language used in the press to reinforce propaganda on behalf of the state.

Louis Althusser talked of state control over ideological apparatus. This was a way to reinforce a repressive state that seeks overarching control. The Collaborator is loaded with close dissections of this idiom. It shows up the media for deploying language as subterfuge to cloak military oppression.

Media scholar Craig LaMay has pointed out how authoritarian rule employs strict censorship rules and journalists turn into mouthpieces of such a state. This project of control requires a language that can mislead people and manipulate facts. The purpose is to deny a struggling people their essential memories.

This process is recorded in Media Control by Noam Chomsky. During military oppression, the dominant power considers it “necessary” to falsify history, for it helps justify oppressive measures. Manufacturing consent and manipulation through the media are the usual route to thoroughly falsify history.

This holds true for the Kashmiri experience as well. The historical and political circumstances that define the narratives of the Kashmiri resistance also determine the parameters that will critically analyse the resistance itself. A falsified narrative overshadows the memories of Kashmiris and weakens their power to resist their own oppression.

Waheed’s narrative is located within this definitive context and here it is intersected by entrenched historical and political factors. The complex interplay of these factors transfigures into a struggle that stands against military siege. Recalling the bleak 1990s in Kashmir in an interview, Waheed calls the nineties “a dark, brutal decade” during which nothing about the horrific violence could reach the world outside. In those days, while Pakistan described the conflict as “Jihad”, India called it a “law and order” problem. In the novel, these two nation states adopt the posture of storytellers who control the master narrative of Kashmir. The narrator echoes this phenomenon, saying, “You know, sometimes I wonder—because for Kashmir there is always an Indian and a Pakistani version of everything.”

In many passages, The Collaborator refers to the assertions and contestations of both countries on how the Kashmir conflict is to be officially documented. In this way it drives home the point that the official accounts seldom echo what is really going on. It records the processes that have cloaked significant facets of the conflict; letting many stories remained un-rendered and pictures go unseen.

In doing so, Waheed wrests that “expropriated historicity back,” in the words of Barbara Harlow, a scholar of resistance writing. Many significant events of the early 1990s find place in his novel as it endeavours to re-describe and re-explore them, to “re-appropriate it,” in Harlow’s words.

Waheed’s narrative actively engages with how the historical memory of the oppressed Kashmiris can be restored, by tearing it from the pages of hegemonic power discourses. He lays bare how the inadequacies of the official accounts of the conflict have distorted these events or ensured that they are not fully rendered.

The references to tragic events of the 1990s include the bitter confrontation between Kashmiri militants and the Indian state’s repressive force. The (alleged) mass rapes in Poshpora, massacres of Gaw Kadal and Sopore, fake encounters along the Line of Control, which resulted in mass graveyards close to the border, are some of them.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 29, 2019 at 10:53am

After #ImranKhan's meeting with #Trump, #Pakistan's F-16 P&W engines to be upgraded with some advanced F-22 Raptor and F-35 features, according to #Indian defense/security analyst Bharat Karnad. via @BharatKarnad

Imran returned home a hero having consolidated Pakistan’s status — surprise! surprise! — as the indispensable front line state the US desperately needs to zero out its military presence in Afghanistan at any and all cost, along with a goodies bag for the Pakistan armed services, which indubitably is the first tranche of upfront payoffs — a $125 million package to retrofit 12 PAF F-16Cs and six two-seater trainer version F-16Ds with the technologically updated Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 jet engine with 79 kiloNewton dry thrust and 129.7 kN with afterburner. Most likely, senior PAF officers accompanying the COAS General Qamar Bajwa, who was part of Imran’s delegation, wangled the EEP (Engine Enhancement Program) version.

The P&W website reveals the EEP as incorporating advances in such areas as turbine materials, cooling management techniques, compressor aerodynamics, and electronic controls, from the F-22 Raptor’s turbofan engine and from the propulsion system in the latest American combat aircraft F-35 jet power plant, thereby increasing the “Depot maintenance interval” of the warplane from 4,300 to 6,000 hours or, to put it differently, from 7 to 10 years, while easing upkeep procedures and reducing the lifetime costs by almost a third. In other words, PAF is well on its way to at once refurbishing its entire F-16 fleet, lengthening its life, and making it more affordable.

Again by design and, perhaps, to suppress any hard reaction from Delhi, the US insisted on placing 60 Lockheed representatives in Pakistan (whether on PAF air bases, is not clear) constituting a Technical Security Team (TST) to monitor the end-use of these revamped F-16s. Except, a Pentagon official told Indian news agency, PTI, that the Americans would be there to also, as he put it, protect the engine technology, presumably from being onpassed to China — one of the usual channels Beijing has used over the years to access US technologies. Pakistan, for instance, shipped an F-16 for Chinese engineers to study and reverse engineer its many technologies when it was first inducted into PAF in 1982 and, likewise, moved the high-performance, silenced, rotor system in the US helicopter that crashed during the 2011 American Operation Neptune Spear to take out Osama bin Laden, to China for a decent amount of time before returning the damaged ‘copter to America.

The fact is even with Americans exercising physical oversight of the revamped F-16s, there’s no way they can prevent these aircraft from being flown to satellite air fields ostensibly on routine exercise either for the Chinese aviation designers and engineers to closely inspect them there, or to embark them on offensive sorties (assuming the TST is really there to deter such uses, which is doubtful).

Curiously, at the same time as the F-16 deal was announced in Washington a couple of days after Imran’s departure, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency issued a statement saying that India had asked to buy spare parts and test equipment for IAF’s C-17 transport planes, and that it “is seeking personnel training, among other things, “for an estimated cost of $670 million.” India, it added, “needs this follow-on support to maintain its operational readiness and ability to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) assistance in the region…[and] will have no difficulty absorbing this support into its armed forces.” Both the press releases announcing the F-16 upgrade and the the Indian buy of C-17 support, iterated that these sales “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.” 

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 30, 2019 at 10:58am

#Indian Ex Diplomat: #US, #Pakistan move to end #Afghan war. #Delhi will take note that the proposed #American #military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering #nukes. #India

he US State Department chose last Friday to announce the decision to approve a $125-million aid package providing technical support to Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.

Ironically, the news reached New Delhi on the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas celebration, an anniversary that symbolizes, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it on Saturday, “India’s might, determination, capability, discipline and patience” to thwart Pakistan’s hostile acts.


Delhi will take note that the proposed US military aid may significantly enhance Pakistan’s offensive capability insofar as some of the F-16 jets are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Withdrawal looms
Indeed, the “big picture” emerging out of all this is that the US and Pakistan are marching ahead in tandem to implement the decisions taken by Trump and Imran Khan to end the Afghan war swiftly.

No sooner than Khan had left Washington on July 23, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, traveled to Kabul for consultations with American, NATO and Afghan officials.

Dunford said he wanted to ensure that General Austin Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, has all he needs. He added that he wanted to take the pulse of US military operations in the country. Indeed, the pulse rate is rather high, as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan looms large.

Dunford insisted that the negotiations have not changed the military mission in the country. “Day-to-day, the mission hasn’t changed for General Miller and the team, and they are still taking the fight to the Taliban and supporting the Afghan military,” he said.

Clearly, Washington has begun to “incentivize” Pakistan, after talks between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on July 22.

But that’s putting on a brave face. Evidently, the US is pushing for a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan,” as former Central Intelligence Agency deputy director Michael Morell told Axios.

The message has gone down the line in the State Department and the Pentagon that Trump wants to move quickly toward a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. Morell is deeply skeptical about whether a deal with the Taliban will secure peace.

He said: “I would bet that the US intelligence community and policymakers have a pretty good understanding of what the Taliban’s intentions are. So we’re making a deal that we know isn’t going to be kept just to save face, just to maintain honor.”

Morell repeated his past warnings that the Taliban are “ideologically not disposed to sharing power.”

However, an apocalyptic scenario cannot deter Washington anymore. On a parallel mission, the US special representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, also took off on July 23 from Washington to Kabul, where he is now speaking with members of the Afghan government, as he works to encourage inter-Afghan conversations between the Taliban and the government.

In immediate terms, Khalilzad expects Pakistan to deliver on the promise that Imran Khan made to Trump – that he plans to meet with the Taliban to persuade them to hold negotiations with the government in Afghanistan. The Taliban has welcomed such a meeting.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 30, 2019 at 11:02am

Indian analyst @PravinSawhney tweet:  Strategically, Pak is major geopolitical pivot wooed by major powers. Militarily, it is not easy to beat; rather impossible after CPEC. The way forward always was to talk with Pak & find mutually acceptable way to peace. Losing time is working to India’s disadvantage.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 31, 2019 at 10:08am

WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan can further enhance bilateral trade if strategic ties between the two countries continue to improve, said a White House factsheet released on Tuesday.

The factsheet “Working toward Peace and Stability: Building Economic Prosperity” notes that the United States and Pakistan enjoy a strong economic partnership that benefits both countries.

The official document points out that Pakistan and the US traded $6.6 billion worth of goods last year, setting a new record of bilateral trade.

While the document recognises Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, US officials recently also urged Islamabad to encourage transit trade between India and Afghanistan, noting that it would benefit all by enhancing trade between South and Central Asian regions.


President Donald Trump also expressed his desire to increase trade with Pakistan when asked at his July 22 news briefing what his administration was willing to do to help boost the Pakistani economy.

“Yes, I see great trade with Pakistan. And I’m not talking about a little bit more. I’m talking about — we could go 10 and even 20 times what we’re doing right now,” he said.

“You know, Pakistan is a big country. It’s actually a very big country, and they have tremendous product. They make great product,” he added.

“I’ve bought from Pakistan over the years when I was in the private sector. They make incredible product. They’re brilliant people. They’re hard-working people.”

He said that he believed the US and Pakistan could “have a fantastic trade relationship. I don’t mean we’ll increase it by 20 per cent. I mean, I think we can quadruple it. I think it could go — I mean, literally, it sounds crazy — you could go 10 times more. You could go 20 times more.”

He said he believed in multiplying trade with Pakistan because he felt “what we do right now is not much, and we should do a lot.”

Trump’s statement and the White House factsheet endorse Islamabad’s claim that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit was a success, although it also highlights the key issues that need to be resolved to further enhance this relationship.

The document notes that Pakistan also purchased extensive amounts of American liquefied natural gas during the same period, about 22.8 billion cubic feet.

ExxonMobil re-established its presence in Pakistan in 2018 after 27 years and is working to increase LNG imports.

It lays greater emphasis on economic relations than did recent statements by US officials, who focused more on Pakistan’s cooperation in restoring peace to Afghanistan.

American energy producers are seeing more and more business opportunities with Pakistan and American companies are incorporating cutting-edge technologies into energy projects throughout Pakistan, the document adds.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 31, 2019 at 10:09am

U.S.-Pakistan Trade Facts

In 2018, Pakistan GDP was an estimated $312.6 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 5.2%; and the population was 201 million. (Source: IMF)

Pakistan is currently our 56th largest goods trading partner with $6.6 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $2.9 billion; goods imports totaled $3.7 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods to Pakistan supported an estimated 10 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available).


  • Pakistan was the United States' 55th largest goods export market in 2018.
  • U.S. goods exports to Pakistan in 2018 were $2.9 billion, up 4.3% ($121 million) from 2017 and up 54.3% from 2008. 
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous grain, seeds, fruit (oybeans) ($694 million), cotton ($615 million), iron and steel ($225 million), machinery ($211 million), and optical and medical instruments ($117 million).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Pakistan totaled $1.5 billion in 2018, our 19th largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($689 million), cotton ($615 million), tree nuts ($49 million), dairy products ($38 million), and planting seeds ($37 million).


  • Pakistan was the United States' 58th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.
  • U.S. goods imports from Pakistan totaled $3.7 billion in 2018, up 3.9% ($138 million) from 2017, and up 3.4% from 2008. 
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: miscellaneous textile articles ($1.3 billion), knit apparel ($809 million), woven apparel ($586 million), leather products ($121 million), and cotton ($112 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Pakistan totaled $126 million in 2018. Leading categories include: rice ($31 million), sugars, sweeteners, bev bases ($30 million), spices ($19 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($9 million), and snack foods ($7 million).

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $783 million in 2018, a 2.2% increase ($17 million) over 2017.


  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan (stock) was $518 million in 2017, a 25.7% increase from 2016. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan's FDI in the United States (stock) was $224 million in 2017. There is no information on the distribution of Pakistan FDI in the U.S.

NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.NOTE: No services trade data with Pakistan are available.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 31, 2019 at 8:36pm

Why we believe Imran Khan and PTI can put Pakistan on a lasting economic recovery

By Mattias Martinsson
Chief Investment Officer / Founding Partner på Tundra Fonder AB 

We understand the picture of Imran Khan gets blurry in international press given foreigners' traditional skepticism towards politicians in what they perceive as "third world countries". These are times of populism and this person seems to have come from nowhere. Is he a Pakistani version of Donald Trump? Is he a dictator targeting to leverage Pakistan's position as a nuclear armed country? Adding to that - The opposition has claimed, and continue to claim, foul as to how he won the election. And his accountability drive seems limitless. Pakistan has jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Zardari, both former leaders of the historically dominating two parties. Family members of them are under investigation and headlines of other former government members being targeted for misconducts seem to come on a daily basis. We are not going to vouch for all of Imran Khan's actions. We are not gonna claim that the targeting of wealthy politicans have been justified in every single case. Simply because we don't know exactly what has happened in the past. We are netither going to defend what seems to be "a bit shorter leashes" on local media. But if we are blunt enough to put aside our western version of how we believe implementation of accountability in a democracy should work, the symbolic value of starting an accountability drive with the country's past leaders should not be underestimated. 90% of the population would probably say that the targeted politicans had a baggage worthy of the public's attention. And there is most likely a background as to why one of them used to go by the nickname "Mr 10%". Ask any Pakistani about their past leaders and they would say that anyone after the 60's was corrupt. Seeing "justice" being done (again from the populations' perspective) makes the very hard austerity measures that now follows more bearable. Here is our crude interpretation of Imran Khan and why his party PTI might actually change Pakistan's boom and bust cycles and set the country on a lasting recovery:

Imran Khan is trusted by the people, and especially the youth and the educated. Among the Pakistani diaspora (8m Pakistanis live outside Pakistan) he is considered the great hope. When he entered the stage of Capital One Arena in Washington recently more than 20 000 Pakistani-Americans greeted him like a rockstar:
Even the most cynical parts of opposition would not call Imran Khan corrupt. They would call him a dictator, a naive idealist, many would frown upon his sometimes rude wording towards other politicians. But they will not say he is corrupt. That matters because as Pakistan now undertakes a massive tax reform, aiming to document its economy and make its citizens and corporates pay their taxes, the essential ingredient to succeed is trust. Far from everyone believes Imran Khan will spend their money wisely, but very few believe he will steal it. That’s a big, big first step when you want a nation to gather around a common goal - the "Naya Pakistan".
He is trusted by the military. “Selected” or “elected” the military is behind Imran Khan. For the first time you have an elected political leader who undoubtedly has the support from the political force which most citizens and political spectators believe is still the ultimate decision maker. For the meeting with Donald Trump in U.S. Imran Khan, as the first Pakistani leader, brought also the Army Chief General Bajwa. The two main opposition parties (PML-N and PPP) who used to take turns running the country always were perceived to lack actual powers in foreign policy as this area was anyway assumed to be decided by the military. I

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 3, 2019 at 8:48pm

Opposition unity in #Pakistan is a mirage. #PMLN's #NawazSharif #PPP's #AsifZardari must undertake a long overdue introspection on their own track record. #MoneyLaundering #Corruption

by Farhan Bukhari

Exactly what happened behind the scenes that simply crumbled the Opposition’s majority in the senate remains a matter of debate, discussion and widespread speculation. Given Pakistan’s political history, it's possible that some powers prevailed in defeating the motion against the chairman.

For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle.
- Farhan Bokhari, Pakistan commentator
But the Opposition must also be made accountable for its own record in the past year, mostly spent in building pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan who was elected in 2018. That election marked the first time ever that Pakistan successfully opted for a third party, setting aside the two parties that have ruled the country. Beyond shaming Imran on still unproven charges of flaws in the last elections, the Opposition has done little to focus on real life issues.

While tough economic conditions tied to a recent loan from the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, have been at the centre of the Opposition’s ire, little has been presented by way of policy alternatives. Sweeping statements which have claimed that the Opposition could lift Pakistan from its many economic challenges remain largely unconvincing.

Pakistan’s economic history easily shows the unending slide in yesteryears that has taken the country to its present turmoil. During the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s exports crashed and there was a reckless build up of debt including on largely ill-conceived initiatives. The economic tsar during the time, former finance minister Ishaq Dar now wanted in connection with money-laundering investigations, conveniently arrived in London for a de facto exile before he could be brought to justice. Before Sharif’s tenure, Pakistan was led by former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP. Though the regime came to power on the back of a sympathy wave following the tragic assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, its goodwill was quickly squandered. Today, Zardari appears from time of time on Pakistan’s TV screens when he is summoned by Pakistan’s top anti-corruption authority to answer graft related charges.


For Imran too, Sanjrani’s survival this week must not be reason for complacency. As the government oversees what will likely be a future period of unprecedented pain in Pakistan’s economic history, there will be a constant need to review policies and the way they are being conducted in real life. Some of the reported conditions that Imran’s government has agreed with the IMF appear to have been conceded without an apparent discussion with key stakeholders across the country. A pushback is therefore set to be the likely outcome.

Notwithstanding gaps in the government’s own house however, this week must be seen as an empowering moment for Imran and his team. The all too visible egg on the face of Pakistan’s Opposition parties has been quickly followed by promises of further defiance from the parties. But seeking to build anti-government pressure on the streets of Pakistan, for now remains a futile venture barring unexpected trends. For key opposition leaders notably Sharif and Zardari, undertaking a long overdue review of their past and future will be far more productive than setting the stage for another futile battle. That could be the best outcome of this week’s ill advised push that eventually came crashing down.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 5, 2019 at 9:36am

#India's Shares #Market Index Sensex tumbles 418 points after #Modi revokes #Kashmir special status

Tensions in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir coupled with simmering trade war concerns between the United States and China led to broad-based sell-off at D-street on Monday as benchmark indices plunged up to 675 points at the S&P BSE Sensex and 215 points at the Nifty50 intra-day. Benign corporate earnings and sluggih economic activity furter contributed to fresh-five month lows during the volatile trade.

The Sensex ended 418 points, or 1.13 per cent, lower at 36,700 levels dragged by selling across public sector banks and metal counters. YES Bank, Tata Motors, Power Grid, and Reliance Industries were the top laggards while Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra, TCS and Bajaj Auto gained the most during the day. The Nifty50, too, slipped 135 points, or 1.23 per cent, to settle at 10,863 mark. India VIX, the volatility index, rose 15 per cent intra-day.

The Narendra Modi government on Monday moved to scrap provisions under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the Union of India.

It has decided that Jammu and Kashmir would be turned into a Union Territory with a legislature, similar to Delhi and Puducherry, and the Ladakh division would be made a separate Union Territory without legislature, akin to Chandigarh and most other Union Territories. READ MORE

In the broader-market, S&P BSE Mid-cap dipped to 13,376 level, down 170 points, or 1.26 per cent. The S&P BSE Small-cap closed at 12,285 level, down 212 points, or 1.7 per cent.

Sectorally, all but Nifty IT index ended with cuts. Nifty auto, metal, PSU bank, realty, private bank, and financial services indices ended between 1.4 to 2 per cent lower. NIfty IT index settled 0.63 per cent higher at close.


Global stocks fell for a sixth day on Monday as an escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China spooked markets and the yuan fell to its lowest levels in over a decade.

Asian shares suffered their steepest daily drop in 10 months, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sinking 2.5% to depths not seen since late January. Japan's Nikkei ended 1.74 per cent lower while South Korea's Kospi slipped 2.56 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite index, too, shed 1.62 per cent at close.


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