Over the years, the state of Afghanistan has experienced terrorism, drug trafficking, human rights abuse, political turmoil, geostrategic and geo-economic tussle, and societal deterioration. The instability in the state has impacted Pakistan, China, Iran, Turkey, and the Central Asian Republics as well. The authors, Muhammad Saad, Eman Anjum, Jizza Babar, and M. Shaheer Khattak, note that for their own interests, these regional states seek a peaceful Afghanistan, the establishment of which is not an easy task. For this reason, they have made efforts to stabilize and develop the war-torn state.
This research paper aims to evaluate the role of the United Nations Organization in light of some of the most highlighted events in its history, ranging from Rwanda to Kashmir; the crises mentioned will be summarized and analyzed to provide the reader with only the relevant information which is consistent with the central theme of this paper. In addition to this, the paper will also shed light upon the effectiveness of the UN when it comes to dealing with the world’s superpowers. A brief part of this paper will scrutinize the role of the International Court of Justice from a legal point of view, covering its overall structure and the extent to which its decisions are binding on the member Nations.
In March 2021, a container ship called “Ever Given” blocked Egypt’s Suez Canal for six days. On one hand, the blockage of the canal cost the world around $10 billion in trade each day, while on the other hand, it provided Russia and Israel with the perfect opportunity to garner support for their respective sea route projects. The authors, Alyan Waheed and Muskan Moazzam, note that Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR) and Israel’s Ben-Gurion Canal can act as alternatives to the Suez Canal and reduce the international community’s dependency on it. As such, to prevent states from opting for these routes, Egypt will have to make several changes – one of them is lowering the trade barriers.
Judicial activism can be defined as the exercise of legislative and judicial functions by the judicial branch, thereby compromising the doctrine of the separation of powers. One thing is for certain: judicial activism has not gone unnoticed by the people of Pakistan. Judicial activism in its very nature is pervasive and inequitable. The author, Asfand Yar Katchela, presents a compelling argument for restraining judicial activism by giving reference to significant case laws and the findings of his own survey.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal, the disclosure of the Pegasus spyware, and the hacking of Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have made the vulnerable nature of cyberspace abundantly clear. The author, Taaha Rauf, notes that Pakistan’s decision to use electronic voting machines (EVMs), in the 2023 general elections, comes with the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks. He explains that since the US, Australia, and Canada, already employ technology for several purposes in their elections, they have undertaken measures to ensure their cybersecurity and election integrity. For Pakistan to do the same, he makes certain recommendations.
President Erdogan is seeking to incorporate the Chinese economic model in Turkey. As such, Turkey will abandon high-interest rates and turn to production and exports. Opposing parties have cited this proposal to be unquestionably authoritarian. The author, Necati Demircan, explores Turkey’s abandonment of the neoliberal economic model and the new slogan of production in the country’s orientation towards Asia.
Democracy is considered an integral part of the West’s foundation. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Democracy Index, flawless democracies are the least corrupt. As such, since corruption hinders the economic growth of states, the extent to which a state is democratic should correlate to its economic development. The author, Syed Taha Mehdi, argues that in Asian countries like Pakistan, where the top 1% of the population controls 16.8% of the wealth, the political elite often exploit the state and sponsor electoral campaigns which benefit them. Hence, the policies enacted in weak democracies cater to the economic and political interests of the powerful few, often at the expense of the populace that has elected them.
Contentious politics is the use of confrontational and unconventional tactics against political authorities to make a social or political point. Such advocacy has transformed the national political landscape in Canada since the announcement of the White Paper policy. The author, Hurain Sheikh, addresses the definition of contentious politics, the use of social movements and protests in Canada and its contributions to indigenous peoples, especially during the “Idle No More” movement.
The main aim of this study is to look at the current global status of poverty and existing practices to alleviate it. Global actors have launched many strategies in the past three decades to help nations in reducing poverty. The author, Zaryab Fatima, highlights a continuous rise of global politics of poverty alleviation. The results of her study clearly show that poverty reduction strategies and approaches are probably going to be entwined with standard monetary arrangements based on principles of equity rather than equality.
On average, 7 thousand women die in India each year due to dowry harassment. The dowry culture in India has penetrated every social stratum and is so deeply embedded in the societal structure that despite being declared illegal, it openly persists. The author, Lyba Mobeen, analyzed several cases of dowry deaths and harassment to explain how women in India are threatened, beaten, starved, and even murdered due to the greed of their husbands and in-laws. She argues that the continuation of dowry can be attributed to societal acceptance and India’s socio-economic and patriarchal structure. On top of that, since many Indian women are unaware of their rights under the Dowry Prohibition Act, they continue to suffer in silence.
The present government has put forward its proposal of e-voting through electronic voting machines (EVMs), but this proposition is fraught with uncertainties, given political deadlocks and transparency issues The author, Nimra Dawood, discusses and analyzes the wrangles over the introduction of EVMs in Pakistan for the 2023 elections, particularly the incompatibility of the EVMs with the 2017 Election Act.
According to UNESCO, 58 million children over the age of 15 are illiterate in Pakistan, while 22 million children in the age group of 5-16 years are school dropouts. With the pandemic impacting every part of the world, the situation of Pakistan’s education sector is worsening. The author, Muhammad Hashir, notes that the state has adopted several digital education measures and introduced several initiatives—eLearn.Punjab, Teleschool, and Radio School, etc.—to improve Pakistan’s literacy rate and educational outreach. Regardless, the efforts are greatly hindered due to several socio-economic constraints. Apart from these challenges, a survey conducted by the author reveals that education in rural areas is greatly forestalled due to internet connectivity issues and the lack of digital infrastructure.
China has exhibited a deep interest in developing the Gwadar Port of Pakistan, under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), for the enhancement of its strategic and economic benefits, while India is investing in the Chabahar Port under the tripartite Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Iran and Afghanistan, with the drive to counter China’s growing presence in the region. Both ports are situated at the international energy trading route and provide connectivity to different regions of the world including Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Such equalizing behavior of both states is not just causing problems for them but also for the neighboring states such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, in this regard, which are the key stakeholders in the construction of these ports. The authors, Ms. Kinza Shah and Mehwish Kayani, look into the geostrategic and geo-economic importance of both ports. This paper also explores the stances given by the major states of the world over the construction of Chabahar and Gwadar ports in accordance with their national interests and ties with the major stakeholders of both the ports i.e. India. Iran, China and Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s relation to the illegal drug trade can be traced back to the 1980s. Since then, opium cultivation has become an integral part of Afghanistan’s economy and the livelihoods of its farmers. The author, Madiha Rauf, notes that although the US and the previous Afghan governments have introduced measures to reduce opium production and trade, the efforts have been half-hearted. In reality, Afghanistan’s opium trade has not only benefitted the warlords and the Taliban but also the previous regimes. Although the Taliban regime has made promises to eradicate the illegal drug trade, given the state’s dependency on it, it is unlikely to fulfill these promises and the opium war in Afghanistan might not see an end in the near future.
When the United Nations first introduced its peacekeeping missions the operations simply observed ceasefires and monitored conflicts. Yet, over the years, peacekeeping operations have evolved to include humanitarian and technical assistance as well. The first two generations of peacekeeping required non-use of force, impartiality, and the consent of the parties involved, hence, limiting the authority of the peacekeepers. The author notes that due to the failure of these generations, third-generation peacekeeping has been tasked with reforming the peacekeeping operations.
The dissolution of empires and the formation of new nation-states after the two world wars divided the Kurdish region and population into four states—Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. For decades, the Kurdish people have been subjected to persecution, discrimination, assimilation, and repression in these states. Unlike the Kurds of Iraq, the Kurds of Syria, Iran, and Turkey do not have their own autonomous regions. The author argues that this can be contributed to the fact that the Kurdish people have long forgotten their true objective and have assumed the role of pawns for the very states that once abandoned them.
In the quest to become the regional hegemon, Iran and Saudi Arabia have backed governments, militias, and organizations based on sectarian lines in the Middle East. While Tehran is financially and militarily supporting the Assad regime and Hezbollah in Syria, Riyadh has resorted to backing the Syrian rebels and jihadist groups, like the Army of Islam, Jaish al-Fatah, and Ahrar al-Sham, against the regime. The author argues that the proxy war in Syria, while only a battle for supremacy for Iran and Saudi Arabia, has devastated the Syrians and turned the state into a haven for extremist groups.