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.
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.
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.
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.
The social and economic challenges introduced by COVID-19 have forced numerous small and large businesses to fold. Yet, despite these challenges, many organizations from different industries have persevered by evolving. The author, Anum Imran Mir, focuses on organizational resilience and addresses what makes a business remain afloat during a global pandemic. Through the primary data collected from the employees of Engro Fertilizers Limited (a Pakistani company operating in the agricultural sector) via questionnaires and interviews, she explains the challenges of working from home and the factors that contributed towards (and hindered) organizational resilience.
Since the Cold War, the US and India have signed a series of strategic agreements, strengthening their alliance. The US-India nexus stems from the threat of a rising China in the international arena. The author, Muhammad Abubaker, notes that the US has capitalized on the Indian regional aspirations and effectively used India to advance America’s strategic goals in Asia vis-à-vis China. He explains that this strategic cooperation between the two powers has impacted China, Pakistan, and the Asian region as a whole. It has aggravated Pakistan’s security dilemma and forced it out of the American bloc. The insecurity caused by this has compelled Pakistan to strengthen its relations with China and look for an ally in Russia.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is recognized as an important aspect of increasing the employability of workers. However, the author notes that the current model of TVET employed in Pakistan places more emphasis on domain-specific expertise, in an unpredictable world where transferrable skills are necessary for job security. To reform the TVET system he proposes a competency-based approach, along with the incorporation of job crafting behavior and transferrable skills, to be used in TVET in the pre-employment phase, not only will the employability of workers increase but so will the job security and their motivation to work.
The paper highlights how the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terrorist group, lost its momentum. The paper also discusses how the political and military leadership (with public support) contributed to taking decisive action against it. While evaluating the TTP’s behavioral patterns, the author considers case studies on China and Sri Lanka, among others.
The paper deals with China’s ‘soft balancing’ in Pakistan through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and explains how such has helped limit the influence of the United States in Pakistan after 2015. The author argues that the CPEC is a step towards a more Beijing-led regional order —part of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and greater ambition of extending his country’s influence — which has been working in China’s favor.
It would come as a surprise to many that the presumption of innocence is not applicable to those that suffer from insanity. To familiarise the public with the legal dimension, the author explores the precedents that are the foundation of the insanity plea, or otherwise known as the insanity defense. The paper uderscores the importance of reforming the policies and laws related to mental illnesses.
Pakistan’s foreign policy choices have been consistently subservient to exogenous factors and demands. This paper aims to build a case for the introduction of strategic autonomy in Pakistan’s foreign policy and in the pursuit of security. The palpable shift in global powerhouses has brought a rare moment for Pakistan to reset its security policy and move towards a more autonomous course of foreign policy.
China’s economic transformation in the last 40 years has had a huge impact on the global economy. This unprecedented economic scenario has attracted a lot of interest, particularly from developing countries looking to emulate China’s success. The author considers the infant industry model to explain China’s rapid industrialization and subsequent economic rise and explains how China’s long-term approach and facilitative policies have enabled local industries to become competitive worldwide. It also discusses what countries like Pakistan can learn from the Chinese experience with regards to strengthening their industrial base.
The economic and political growth of Pakistan and Bangladesh after 1971 can be seen as a reflection of their political culture. The author, Hurain Sheikh, explains that the political culture of Pakistan and Bangladesh is not new to elitism, nepotism, and corruption. She notes that while both states have a history of political instability, the economy of Bangladesh has flourished as compared to Pakistan. Keeping in mind how Bangladesh has managed to lower its unemployment and poverty rate, and improved its economy, she suggests a few measures to help Pakistan develop.