Why Maulana Qadri and Cricketer Khan can’t save Pakistan

Published: January 18, 2013

The writer retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Pakistan has two angry messiahs, the Maulana and the Cricketer. Both are men of fine oratory — the former being more gifted. They promise to kick wicked leaders out of government, reward the righteous, and deliver a new Pakistan. Before a coup-plagued nation that has spent many decades under military rule, they preach to adulating under-30 crowds about the corruption of the present rulers. But neither dares to touch Pakistan’s real issues. Both are careful to castigate only the corruption of civilians; there is nary a word about the others.

Inspired by his fiery rhetoric, for four days the Maulana’s youthful Lashkar-e-Qadri had occupied D-Chowk, Islamabad’s version of Tahrir Square. The cheering, chanting, flag-waving crowd was joyous at the verdict ordering the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. The precise timing owed to another one of Pakistan’s putative saviours — the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan.

In this age of discontent, assorted demagogues have mastered the art of mobilising the credulous masses. Corruption, say the Maulana and the Cricketer, is Pakistan’s central problem. Utopia will come if honest and pious men — perhaps themselves — are in power. But is crookedness and dishonesty the real issue? Countries which are perfectly viable and livable may still have corrupt governments.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted of everything from tax fraud to soliciting minors for sex, and yet Italy keeps getting richer and better. No one dares call it a failed state. Mitt Romney — who Barack Obama only barely defeated — parked his assets in the Cayman Islands and paid only a little more tax than Pakistan’s unscrupulous parliamentarians. Corruption in the US is institutionalised to the point that Washington spent 10 trillion dollars of taxpayer money bailing out banks and corporations but no politician or CEO (with one exception) ended up behind the bars. Interestingly, according to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), 70 per cent of the world’s people see their countries as more corrupt than good.

So then, what are Pakistan’s real problems today? If the lives of Pakistanis are to be improved, what is it that really needs to be done?

First, address the population problem. Demographers estimate the expected number of Pakistanis in 2030 at a staggering 258 million, which must be compared with 28 million in 1947 as well as the current population of 180 million. This growth is the second highest among major Muslim countries in the world.

Even if we miraculously acquire the most perfect of political systems, it may be impossible to provide most Pakistanis with employment, education, food, housing, electricity, water, and a clean environment. Short of renting another planet, there is no way that the constraints of fixed land and water can be overcome.

This emergency situation demands that population planning must be reinstated and contraceptives be made freely available. Once upon a time, Pakistan had a population planning organisation. But it has essentially folded up in the face of religious opposition. The Jamaat-e-Islami’s party manifesto, and those of other religious parties, specifically forbids family planning. As for the Taliban: they suspect that polio vaccines are designed to reduce Muslim fertility and so have issued dire threats. Last month, the TTP brought the immunisation programme to a halt by murdering five women and a man who were administering the shots in Karachi. So, instead of getting claps and cheers, our messiahs might have to face bullets and bombs should they dare to rally people around this real issue.

Second, the terrorism of religious militias must be confronted head-on. Their daily slaughter of Pakistani soldiers and citizens, and recently the Hazara Shias, elicits only the barest whimper of protest in the media or the public. In shameful surrender, there is talk of negotiating with terrorist groups. The lesson of Swat — where kowtowing to Sufi Mohammed’s ever-escalating demands led to increased ferocity from the other side — is forgotten. The army and the state stand in muddled confusion. They know they should actually negotiate only from a position of strength and not in their present condition of weakness. Unfortunately they cannot summon the courage to do this. The Maulana is silent on this critical matter, but the Cricketer prefers to attack those who might target Pakistan’s enemies. He would rather shoot at the drones than the terrorists.

Third, the promise of the messiahs that they shall bring prosperity to everyone by somehow equalising the distribution of wealth is fake and dishonest, and un-implementable. One would certainly welcome extending the tax net, and doing so would be a huge achievement. But to actually bring prosperity, wealth must be created rather than simply expropriated from somewhere. The only party that seems to give this any consideration is the PML-N. But industrial progress and a post-agricultural economy require cultural change, and so Pakistani society will need to transition from being a progress-unfriendly culture to one that welcomes and promotes progress. From the time of the 19th century German sociologist Max Weber, social scientists have observed that culture and progress go hand-in-hand. Progress-friendly cultures demand planning, punctuality, deferred gratification, belief in rationality, and the rule of law. Without acquiring these features, wealth generation is slow and uncertain.

Fortunately, as it turned out, the ‘million-man march’ turned out to be a damp squib. Its victory would have resulted in indefinite postponement of the forthcoming national elections and Pakistan would have returned to a dreary tradition where no government has successfully completed its term in office. During the occupation, messiah-junior was caught in a dilemma. Eclipsed by his senior and unable to join in the demand for postponement, he now seeks to clamber his way back into the public eye.

Pakistan’s restless young are out on the streets demanding change, but they must not become pawns of fake messiahs. The fist-shaking, rostrum-pounding orations of Maulana Qadri and Cricketer Khan are empty thunder; they offer nothing real. Of course, the D-Chowk youth rightly protested Pakistan’s pseudo-democracy and its venal and incompetent civilian leaders. But the military’s attempt to landscape national politics — which is probably what rocketed the Maulana into his present prominence — could be disastrous and would go the way of the army’s past failed interventions. At a time when Pakistan is seriously threatened by internal terror, the military would do well to perform its real duty which is that of protecting Pakistan’s people.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2013.

Reader Comments (197)

  • Salman
    Jan 18, 2013 - 11:49PM

    Here we go again. Its a vogue to criticize IK these days. Isn’t it. Just like poor Jewwsss :D

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  • Jan 18, 2013 - 11:54PM

    Pakistan does not need saviors; it needs political reforms. Pressure groups like Qadri’s are a important part of the efforts to push for reforms.

    The fearless anti-Taliban cleric has drawn more local and international media attention and focus in a few days than a Taliban-sympathizing cricket icon who has been active in Pakistani politics for more than a decade.

    He has addressed a huge rally in Lahore on December 23, 2012, eclipsing an earlier large rally by PTI chief Imran Khan at Minar-e-Pakistan. He has brought the ruling coalition to its knees by forcing its members to publicly accept his demands for transparent, free and fair elections in front of tens of millions of Pakistanis who watched it live on almost all of Pakistan’s many news channels.

    Pakistan needs powerful pressure groups to reform national politics. Dr. Qadri’s Minhaj-ul-Quran is the first such group. I hope there will be many more such passionate and eloquent activists and public interest groups to act as watch dogs over the nascent political process which must be reformed and allowed to continue and mature.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/01/kudos-to-qadri.html

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  • Salman
    Jan 18, 2013 - 11:54PM

    Mr Author, who do you think would be better to lead the people now? Would you like the current regime to do another 5 years? IK is the best choice right now, I thought you knew better.

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  • abid
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Sorry sir..i think you are wrong..if i remember correctly you are the same person who told it is better for Pakistan to remain de-nuclearize in the long term national interest. If your suggestion was taken by Pakistan it would have been either be Occupied by India and you would have been teaching in Delhi University. You have studied theoretical Physics well but you lack Sociopolitical knowledge. You suffer from myopia on judging leadership. If cricketer Imran Khan and Mullah Tahir qadri cant solve Problem then how come Mullah Ayatollah Khomeini and Actor Ronald Reagan ,Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger became successful leaders of Iran and Us.

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  • Reality Check
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:03AM

    Oh dear . . . lets just sit back and talk about birth control . . . how about some corruption control Hoody?

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  • Truth Detector
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:09AM

    Regarding criticism of Imran Khan. What a biased & shallow analysis. Your articles are nothing but full of doom & gloom. You offer no hope, no alternative, just criticism. I suggest you should retire from op-ed writing too !!

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  • Falcon
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:10AM

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, the author is a brilliant scientist but political economics is not his forte. One of the most illogical assumptions of our intellectuals is that Pakistan is the same as any other developing / developed country in terms of corruption. This is a binary analysis without mentioning where does our corruption fall on the scale of 0 to 100. Countries with significantly high levels of perception of corruption can’t progress because institutional weakness and economic weakness feed off each other. Similarly, wealth creation is capped by institutional weaknesses. Same thing happened to South Asian Tigers, Japan and now China and India. And it is not just corruption, look at the governance inefficiency, why does it take many days for Balochistan Govt to respond to massacre of Hazara Shias? So, please stop peddling status quo if you want democracy to flourish in the country.

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  • nadeem
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:11AM

    At a time when Pakistan is seriously threatened by internal terror, the military would do well to perform its real duty which is that of protecting Pakistan’s people.

    I ditto the sentiment

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  • *Sigh*
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:15AM

    A brilliant read! It seems that a lot of the “true” problems” prevailing in Pakistan are due to the lack of education. We are in dire need of more sane, logical and rational people in our society, Mr.Hoodbhoy being a great example of one

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  • Faisal
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:26AM

    Excellent article. We need to be realistic rather than idealistic. Change can’t be brought by only chanting slogans of change

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  • meekal a ahmed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:27AM

    Excellent.

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  • John B
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:30AM

    One thing the senior and junior messiahs have done is to wake up the slumbering political parties to the restlessness of the rich and poor of PAK, and hopefully the new government provide economic prosperity in the future with directed policies on extremism, and law and order, trade and terrorism.

    As far as population control, it can only happen if the populace is educated, contraception is dismantled from religious clutch, and is cheap and is readily available and the state is serious in its policy. In PAK it is difficult without a massive public out reach but it is also doubtful when there is so much resistance to life saving vaccinations.

    The present system of PAK is heading in a wrong direction in all fronts-that all agree, but the majority of the people who make up the electoral votes to whom the political parties cater do not agree on modern system of governance and consider every institution in PAK is corrupt. Institutional change will be a first good step.

    Unless political parties recognize their dichotomous role, appeasing the public and providing governance with policy of the future, it will be more of the same.

    In PAK all political parties have the same manifesto and they operate as a franchise of vote banks rather than policy banks and that is the main problem.

    This is not the first time PAK is facing the challenges of the present time. Neither the status quo democracy of bringing an another party to power nor the old method of doctrine of necessity can transform PAK.

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  • Alucard
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:31AM

    Brilliant Prof…. We seem to be looking for messiahs from the cricketer, to the maulana, to the general to the judge…symptomatic of a people who cannot place faith in themselves….cultural change needed indeed….lets start by sorting out the education conundrum?

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  • Taimoor Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:34AM

    Equating Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri is wrong! Tahir ul Qadri came on an agenda and his past is very questionable. Imran Khan is an honest man and will perfectly create the balance between Pakistan’s right wing and liberal society.

    And IMRAN KHAN does not support the Taliban, he says military action alone is not the solution. And guess what? He has been proven right! We have fought this war for 11 years and achieved nothing! Literally nothing! It is time to call quits on war on terror as Imran Khan says

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  • A Shahid
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:37AM

    This article is a perfect example of why our previous generations failed to give us a prospering state as they are too much beholden to their rigid ideas and cannot think outside the box. The fact that writer names PLM-N as the most likely savior shows their idea of rescue is simply to reinforce the failures and expect a different result.

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  • Mirza
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:39AM

    A scientific and thus fair advice for our country. I am sure it is going to go on deaf ears and pseudo intellectuals would go after the writer.
    Population control is the central issue. However, our culture and rightwing parties want the opposite. One can see the euphoria if there are child births (male) and when somebody is converted by whatever means. We practice quantity not quality of people and education. The phobia about childbirth is so epidemic that when govt sets up a plant to provide cheap bread or vaccination the rightwing counters it with the family planning medicine. It was false in 1970′s as it is now.
    In addition the corruption is present in Pakistan and most third world countries. With economic progress, democracy and independent judiciary it has been controlled in most countries. Economic progress overtakes the corruption and most countries of the region are and SE Asia provide ample examples.
    Despite all this we do have enough money to raise the largest per capita army in the world with WMD and all the expensive toys. Yet it is not capable of fighting rag tag Taliban and terrorists even 10 years after the turned rogue. How could a poor country make any progress with so many days of terror and strikes? There is no country even rich European which can afford such a huge army and active nuclear and drone programs. We had decided to eat grass but raise huge army and bombs. We would wait for the next messiah who could solve all our problems including all our industry and autos running on water. Is there a mullah who can double my money?

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  • De
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:48AM

    Does Pervez Hoodbhoy know anything else other than criticize people? What other choice do we have other than Imran Khan? All those problems u have mentioned, can they be solved by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari or the army? And how can u even compare Italy with Pakistan? Maybe the author is not aware of Italy’s debt problems and the rising unemployment there. God knows how it’s becoming richer and better. Imran Khan may not be perfect, but atleast he has the will to do SOMETHING for this country! Atleast he’s not corrupt! Pakistanis dont have any other choice other than Imran Khan! All those against him are just assuming all the time. Nobody is sure of what he will do. We do not have a choice other than Imran Khan.

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  • Muhammad Ilyas Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:56AM
  • Truth Teller
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:59AM

    Fantastic article from PH! Bravo for writing such bold analysis about the Islamabad Cleric & Taliban Khan. Both are the babies of establishment.

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  • Eraj Alam
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:01AM

    Coming from a person who can’t even save his own job

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:08AM

    Why is something so blindingly obvious to outsiders, non-existent to those in Pakistan!
    Why does no one ask what are the sources of funding for Qadri? Why his sudden interest in the political landscape of Pakistan, when he himself has been safely ensconced in Canada (and why hasn’t he given up the Canadian citizenship?) Why does Imran still distinguish between “good” and “bad’ taliban? Why is the govt on one hand supporting the drones (by providing the intel) and on the other, protesting against it?
    Why are Pakistanis bent on solving the problems(?) of the Islamic world, rather than putting their own house in order first?

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:08AM

    Excellent analysis. We need to work on our economy, corruption is even rampant in India, yet the growth & size of economy has nearly eclipsed that amount. In Pakistan the economy is in such dire straits that even the smallest amount of corruption puts us in a difficult position. All in all I dont condone corruptionRecommend

  • HH.
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:09AM

    Hoodbhoy, we know you have lost hope. we havent, cheer up!

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  • Feudalmindset
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:10AM

    “and yet Italy keeps getting richer and better”

    What a nonsensical statement. Italy is a basket case, ask anyone in Europe. Look at their debt-to-gdp ratio. The EU is buying up Italian bonds like theres no tomorrow to keep yields down (to prevent Italy from going into default) to save the doomed EU project. Italy is an overblown welfare state, well out of its depth, like much of Europe. Please dont delude self hating pakistanis further into thinking looking at Europe is the answer, as a British born Pakistani, im telling you dont look here for any answers.

    As for the US, they have the privilege of being able to print the world reserve currency. Something pakistan doesnt have, and will never have. Go and look at their debt problems, go and look at detroit. Things arent all rosy in the west.

    The only thing they’re doing that Pakistan cant do…and prevent itself from going broke, is turn on the printing presses. QE1/QE2/QE3….

    What Pakistan needs is the reforms Dr Qadri has been advocating, and the visionary leadership of someone like Imran Khan. Imran can inspire and lead at the same time. Someone who Pakistanis can feel proud of when representing them. Someone with a clean record.

    Finally, Please dont equate the US bail-outs to corruption, theres a monumental difference. Senators/MP’s werent getting billion dollar kickbacks like they do in PK. Jobs were being saved. Bank deposits were being protected When the US buys fighter jets, Michelle Obama doesnt get kickbacks from Lockheed Martin!

    Corruption is interwoven in the fabric of our feudal elite/political classes, they think they have a right to corruption. That corruption accounts for a significant percentage of Pakistans government receipts.

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  • sabi
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:17AM

    Following is my old post to Ayesha Saddiqa article close look on Qdri’s thesis
    @Rida:
    “Please don’t jump to conclusion too fast!”
    Dear,I suggest you and others enthusiests to keep a close watch on his statements from now on and see whether he makes contradictions or not.Whether he twists or remains straight forward,whether he follows true sunnah and quran philosphy or something else.I have personely nothing to gain or lose from this man.I sincerely believe that this man has clearly deviated from the true teachings of Quran and sunnah.And therefore I believe that he is not there to save Pakistan but for his own vested intrests.He is one of the many who have been abusing religion for personel gains.Sorry for any offence to his followers.”
    Reader should decide if I was right or wrong.

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  • Factuallyincorrect
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:21AM

    “and yet Italy keeps getting richer and better”…

    That has to be the single biggest nonsensical statement in the entire piece.

    - Debt-to-GDP ratio 120%
    - Over-bloated welfare state
    - Sick man of Europe.
    - Extremely high unemployment

    If the ECB wasnt buying up Italian bonds like there was no tomorrow, Italy would be broke right now. The EU, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain (PIGS) are the butt of the jokes in europe right now.Recommend

  • Rizwan Ansary
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:21AM

    Completely agree with author. Zardari, Nawaz, Altaf, Shujaat and Fazlu are the only saviors of Pakistan and when their powers combine, I am captain planet.

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  • JK
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:23AM

    @ Author

    You are Really lost. You propose a bizarre idea that corruption has little to do with economic growth.

    “Italy is getting richer and better” lol. Italy is definitely better than Pakistan financially and was world’s third biggest economy once (when it was not as corrupt), and has been slipping down slowly for years now. They have 120% GDP to dept ratio. Only next to much troubled Greece within EU. Corrupt politicians, over spending, lack of tax collection and mafias running fiefdoms are some of their key problems (sounds familiar). So situation in Italy when compared to its EU counterparts doesn’t look too rosy. Ones that are doing best in EU or are considered least corrupt.

    One doesn’t have to agree with Khan or Maulana or vote for them, but your point of view is really off reality. And I doubt it will resonate with people tired of corruption (of all kinds including financial).

    Compare actual ranking of least to more corrupt countries from CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2012 and compare with list of countries with highest to lowest per capita GDP and see the correlation yourself.

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  • Osman
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:29AM

    Firstly, either corruption effects the smooth running of the country or not it should not take place at the first place only. Secondly, you cant compare the mentioned corruption cases with our corruption cases as its believed by many that our ministers and prime minster are involved in massive corruption cases not just tax frauds and the rate of corruption is increasing at much higher rate then in the mentioned countries.
    In a country where extremism is creating new records every year it is impossible in such circumstances to make efforts for population planning. Other major issues of the country wont let population planning to be first priority, although its importance cannot be ignored.
    After losing so much and gaining nothing from the war America and the govt have finally pulled the Taliban towards negotiation, which has decreased the pace of suicide attacks. That’s what the cricketer had been saying from so long. However most of the people are still confused how Shareefs or any other strong contender of the elections will deal with terrorism.
    Sir you forgot to mention how PML(N) created wealth for the common man in flop schemes like PELE TAXI, SASTI ROTI, distributing laptops where most of the students can’t afford college or don’t have access to internet and spending millions just to build a small bridge, mabe it only created wealth for Shareefs only.
    Lastly you cannot attach Maulana with the Cricketer in any case, present or past. Maulana has not even registered for elections yet and maybe he himself is not sure for what he is going to stand in elections.
    Who knows if the upcoming fake messiahs are only considered fake by the public unlike tried and tested fake messiahs like PML(N) and PPP.

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  • Ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:30AM

    Pseudo liberals secular Altaf , sad to hear such rubbish from such person

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  • SKATZ
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:33AM

    Make way for the PTI trolls… author is in for a bashing session because he dared to insult His Highness IK :)Recommend

  • gp65.
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:34AM

    Sir,
    The issues you have identified – population explosion and terrorism/bigotry/radicalism are key. But you missed out a 3rd key issue that might potentially have indicted PPP misgovernance i.e. load shedding and circular debt that are lopping of as much as 2% from Pakistan’s GDP. I also detected a bias in your discussion on the issue of terrorism. You chose to ignore PML-N’s cosy partnership with LeJ, PPP’s ineffectiveness in dealing with terror and the recent change in Imran’s stance as evidenced by his being the only politician that actually named LeJ by name. You aso did not call-out MQM – the one political party that at least initially actively supported Qadri – preferring instead to conflate Imran with Qadri.

    I am an Indian and not a supporter of any Pakistani party but have been reading news regularly and was surprised at this bias from someone as objective as you, someone I admire greatly.

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  • sabi
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:37AM

    Author,
    I absolutely agree with you.kudos.Pls. keep on doing jihad against fake messiahs who fooling this poor nation without any fear.These fake messiahs know only one thing flatter army and do every thing.Shame is a small word for such thugs perhaps curse would be a better choice.IK is on the wrong track but I would not use curse for him.He is to me too naive.

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  • Salman
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:39AM

    I dont understand why people become so defensive about Imran Khan. If they see his plans criticized. They can question him and he can make them better of a policy. Instead they keep critcizing the person who crticizes his policies.

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  • Mubarak Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:54AM

    So true that it hurts.

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  • salman ahmed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:54AM

    Didn’t the author learn anything from physics. FIRST YOU TEST and only then can you say if something or someone will work out or not. The author is drawing conclusions without actual knowledge or even use of logic.

    Sad defeatist stuff..

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  • What
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:55AM

    Would be better if you stuck to your field which is science….seriously.

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  • Logic. Europe m
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:56AM

    Only messiah is zardari and PPP

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  • Abdul Jabbar Mohmand
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:57AM

    Comparing Imran Khan and Qadri is like comparing apples and oranges. There is no comparison. IK is a passionate Pakistani who has a vision and a programme while Qadri is a launched Canadian who’s demands have changed quicker than time it takes to say ”change”.

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  • sabi
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:01AM

    @Falcon:
    One of the most illogical assumptions of our intellectuals is that Pakistan is the same as any other developing / developed country in terms of corruption
    Establishment control politics in this country and therefore spreads disinformation through his tools.like media,fake politicians and mullah.If politicians are really corrupt to the extant of destruction as thea are accused of,why dictators failed to prove them corrupt.Why not this time we change the direction of canons to those spreading disinformation.And have the politicians in this country free hand ever.Divide and rule is the policy of establishment and that is the real cause of all mess.

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  • uet
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:09AM

    . “One would certainly welcome extending the tax net, and doing so would be a huge achievement. But to actually bring prosperity, wealth must be created rather than simply expropriated from somewhere. The only party that seems to give this any consideration is the PML-N. But industrial progress and a post-agricultural economy require cultural change, and so Pakistani society will need to transition from being a progress-unfriendly culture to one that welcomes and promotes progress. “

    Hundred percent true! Economic and social progress have gone hand in hand in western societies and the others that have followed them for example Japan, Korea etc.

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  • sanman
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:12AM

    Look at Qadri’s own doublespeak:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj25N9dDujM

    His two-faced behaviour is ridiculous. How can anyone trust someone who talks like this? He is obviously a stooge for the army. In other countries, people launch street protests when they are denied elections, but in Pakistan people follow jokers who want street protests to prevent elections that are already about to happen. In other countries, when there are questions about the integrity of elections, the genuine democracy activists will call for UN observers to ensure the process is accurate. In Pakistan, people listen to jokers who will only call for everything to be run by the army. When the people themselves are stupid, and are following crooked jokers like Qadri, then what hope does the nation have?

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  • Tch tch
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:12AM

    Unemployed Hoodbhoy will…

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  • Falcon
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:15AM

    Correction in my earliest post, I meant Asian Tigers (Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong) rather than South Asian Tigers

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  • Jahan Zeb Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:15AM

    Imran Khan the maverick is quickly loosing the support of sensible youth by not targeting his Tsunami towards generals who have huge share of looting the state, playing golf and escalated wars that badly failed.

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  • sikandar kapri
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:17AM

    thanx sir for showing the reality to this stupid nation..still ppl couldnot recognise people like container quadri and real problems of pakistan..ther is goin to be economically disaster to this nation in cuming year…Godbless pakistan

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  • Arifq
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:24AM

    World population stands near 7billion today from 3billion in 1960! Current available resources are not enough for 7billion people, countries such as Pakistan with limited resources will be worst off if they are unable to control population and not grow their economies. Doctor Sahib is absolutely correct in his assessments, control population growth priority number one followed by ending this romance with religious extremism.

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  • Taha
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:35AM

    Upon reading this article it appears the writer has only been following Pakistani politics for about a couple of weeks. The pit has spoken out equally vociferously against the current administrations inability on governance as they have on corruption. Plus, I wouldn’t assume too many political parties in the world would be strategising to win an election on the platform of population control. And let’s not even get started on how out of date the writer is foreign affairs – Italy getting richer(GDP growth rates over the last 6 quarters would disagree)

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  • Khan of Cape Town
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:48AM

    Being a big fan of you, I expect you to enlighten people with your views about what is your plan of going forward. It hurts me to see your analysis criticizing people (Dr. Atta, Samar Mobarak, HEC are few examples) without providing any solution to problems. If you think that the current setup, or similar government comes into power once again, then I am sorry to say, you are unaware of ground realities. If in your opinion, Pakistan problems are to be analyzed through the tunnel vision of thinking of intolerance only, then ignoring the economic challenges is another form of tunnel visioning.
    I hope you read this comment, and talk about your political vision, rather than criticizing those who are struggling to bring some change.

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  • Khan of Cape Town
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:52AM

    Mr. Hoodbhoy, tell the nation who is responsible for the upcoming economic crisis in the country, if you do not want new faces in political scenario of Pakistan. For reference, you can check today’s news item in ET. Your readers do not think you read it before writing your article.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/495916/doomsday-scenario-imf-paints-a-gloomy-picture-of-pakistans-economy/

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  • Hammas Hassan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:58AM

    Thank you for restoring my faith in sanity. Brilliant and honest.

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  • Fahad Hussain
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:03AM

    Dear Author ,

    Its good sometimes to portray something positive happening , but someone need to spend some time finding it .

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  • Ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:09AM

    The writer can only talk and talk, and most of it without any sense. He could not do well in his own field ‘Physics’ and obviously not in other subjects like defense, politics, society, infrastructure etc. How many institutes has he opened himself to serve the poor? Thankfully no one takes him seriously, not even LUMS itself. We need to be aware of pseudo intellectuals just like we need to be aware of Moulvis.

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  • Adnan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:22AM

    I never understand this guy, do you mean we should let PPP, PML, ANP and MQM do what they like. It is liberials lik you who put the PPP into power (the worst gov. in Pak). Yet we continue to hear you, Najam Sathi, Asma Jahgir (all alleged RAW agents) say that PPP is doing its best. You all should be ashamed of yourself.Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:42AM

    @abid:
    If your suggestion was taken by Pakistan it would have been either be Occupied by India and you would have been teaching in Delhi University.
    Dude, I am sorry to disappoint you, but India (or any other country for that matter) will not occupy Pakistan even if invited (read begged). Why would anyone want to inherit your problems? All Indians want is better policing of the LoC so that your jihadis don’t lose their way and land up on this side of the border – and unfortunately, your army doesn’t seem to be very good at this job.
    On a separate note, I am sure that Dr. Hoodbhoy would be a catch for many Indian universities.

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  • Waheed Mazhar
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:43AM

    The pith and substance of the article is:

    “From the time of the 19th century German sociologist Max Weber, social scientists have observed that culture and progress go hand-in-hand. Progress-friendly cultures demand planning, punctuality, deferred gratification, belief in rationality, and the rule of law. Without acquiring these features, wealth generation is slow and uncertain.”

    Its is not surprising but tragic that the comments posted here reflect a complete blindness to any rational approach and objective analysis.

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  • Uzair
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:58AM

    Dr Hoodbhoy, you have summarized our problems and some of their causes and mitigating factors perfectly. First, the main cause of ALL the problems is lack of rationality and criticial thinking. Second, population explosion (driven by irrational thinking) is and will be an insurmountable problem. Third, it is an object lesson in our psyche where we consider it ok to surrender sovereignty to murderers and call it “negotiation”. Thus, and I am sorry to say this, I see no hope for our country and its (irrational) people.

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  • Truth detector
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:00AM

    @John B Thank you Mr. Demagogue!!!. Please provide the same advise to your own country too.

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  • Javed Hussain
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:20AM

    It is so easy to pick on anyone, but I don’t see any suggestions that who will be the messiah.
    Like a text book all you have mentioned are the problems, don’t we know them. Suggest who are the people who can guide the country, We are not Italy or USA. We are a divided nation, which needs someone around whom we can unite.

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  • Aaaaaa
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:33AM

    @Mirza:
    How dumb are you
    Pakistan spends less than 3% of gdp on defence. Reason europe spends low on defence is because of nato and no enemies. Europe is weal they could not even defeat tiny libya with out american support

    Pak army can defeat taliban and has done so in swat and waziristan
    Dont blame mqm police failures on army

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:37AM

    @A Shahid:
    The fact that writer names PLM-N as the most likely savior shows their idea of rescue is simply to reinforce the failures and expect a different result.

    Shahid Ji, respected sir Hoodbhoy only stated that PML-N gave any sort of consideration to creating wealth. From that to calling them as most likely savior is a huge jump, don’t you think? Kudos to you, you even blamed sir Hoodbhoy for it.

    May be reading the article again is in order.

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  • dirtydozen
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:39AM

    Don’t blame the politicians. Blame the voters who blindly votes these thugs. Here is my thought. We need to create awareness among voters. Political parties need to officially advertise their agenda/policies and promise to deliver within 4 years (Oath, signed). If they don’t they must be penalized by Election Commission for the next election year.

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  • HN
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:10AM

    Well Mr. Hoodboy, I am certainly not as knowledgeable as you are, but Imran Khan has cited population on various occasions and his considered opinion is that it can only be tackled by educating the masses. Under current economic, health and education crisis, expecting the masses to understand these issues is illogical.

    Also there may be some shortcomings, in your view may be blunders in his policies and arguments on different issues, but to compare his person and struggle with Qadri is wrong.

    About the taliban problem, the difference of opinion between you and Imran khan lies in the strategy of dealing with the issue, and not on the objectives. While he believes the war can be handled by the armed tribals themselves, you advocate use of force either to quash the militants, or to reach a position of strength from where negotiations may favor the state.

    Hope the country comes out of the mess it is in.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:11AM

    Brilliant analysis. Election results will tell us that Nation is more fed up with these fake Messiahs than present corrupt government.

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  • Someone who lives in Italy
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:16AM

    You atually disappointed me with this article, I thought you were smarter and more informed. Some of the things you said are true but a lot of them are wrong, I will point out only one thing because really I don’t have much time to waste here “Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted of everything from tax fraud to soliciting minors for sex, and yet Italy keeps getting richer and better.” First of all, Silvio Berlusconi is not Italy’s Prime Minister since more than a year. He has not been convicted of everything, only of tax fraud so far. Last thing, Italy is in much worse economic state than it was 10 years ago, unemployment is at 10%, youth unemployment is at 36%, Italy will be in recession this year, for the the third consecutive year. So please next time you write an article GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!

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  • Ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:47AM

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is going to take part in elections anyway and I believe IK deserves at least once to be in Government to prove his case.

    The youth is with PTI and as population grows and young become eligible voters, I see PML(N) or other status quo parties support dwindle very much if not completely over a decade.

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  • Ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:58AM

    The status quo parties are in power since 80′s if not even before. If Mr. Hoodbhoy still thinks that they are the solutions and can bring change , then God help us.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:02AM

    It’s amazing to see such support for Imran Khan.

    As always the country of 180 million spectacular failures, has failed to understand that IK is rabble-rouser and not even a politician.

    If IK by any chance come to power, Pakistan will anyway go down as usual, but probably faster.

    There will be a period of seeming peace and prosperity, like what Musharraf brought by bringing in foriegn aid. But that will fade away and before Pakistanis realize their mistakes, it would be a futher failed state.

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  • KarachiBaby
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:04AM

    These are very good points. IK should listen to them and implement such plans in his next Govt.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:16AM

    Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy,

    I really hope you read my comment.

    Looking at the support IK has by a majority of Pakistanis, makes me feel really really sorry for you.

    Intellectuals like you do not belong with a country of 180 million failures.

    Being a patriot you will not my idea, but please consider moving out of this failed state and possibly do something good in USA, Canada.

    I know Indian government wouldn’t favor giving citizenship to a Pakistani muslim like yourself. But if India can make an exception and get you to move to India, that would be good for us and you.

    Trust me, you will get a lot of respect and space to work on the betterment of humanity, here in India.

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  • sadhana
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:22AM

    PS: Does every aspiring saviour of Pak think he has been chosen by God?

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  • sensible
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:29AM

    let IK come, he will provide you job, don’t worry professor, cheers!

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  • a Democrate
    Jan 19, 2013 - 7:09AM

    Dear physician, good attempt , but in my humble opinion ,you yourself are not focused towards the real problems of this nation, birth control or you want to take terrorist head on when the whole world is pressing on dialogue with them to bring them on right path. Corruption which has eaten up economy of Pakistan in your opinion is not a major problem of Pakistan, how unrealistic !, and if Imran Khan or Dr Tahir ul Qadri are fake mesiahs , than u must have recommended true messiah, i don’t think PML N is our messiah, might be yours

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  • Faraz
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:20AM

    One of the brilliant article by Hood bhai,he touched On real issues and suggested accurate approach to solve them.he rightly mentioned real issues such as increasing of population at rocketing speed,terrorism,increasing religiosity,sectarianism,incompetence in governance,hollow slogans by hollow and artificial leaders,ill planning in educational sector.in my opinion hood bhai should be the in charge of our education sector.

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  • Shakeel N
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:33AM

    I agree population yet another major issue Pakistan is facing. But still we cannot ignore corruption. In a country where more than 50 % of its total revenue is sinked in corruption, how can you expect progress in that country.

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  • Zalim singh
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:31AM

    excellant

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 9:34AM

    @sabi:
    I think you are making a flawed assumption that just because military dictators have not been able to prove charges of corruption, most of the charges of corruption are made out of thin air. I don’t know what part of Pakistan you live in, but please do hang out with some people from bureaucracy and development contractors and you will get to find out some interesting stories. Furthermore, organizations like transparency international don’t pull out the corruption numbers out of their own hats, there is some reality on the ground. I agree politicians are not the only one engaged in it, but someone has to own the buck and rise above others in terms of responsibility and I would expect politicians to play that role since we vote them in.

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  • mansour
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:43AM

    Oh yes, PML N will save Pakistan. How naive.

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  • Manju
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:08AM

    Why Maulana Qadri and Cricketer Khan can’t save Pakistan?
    Because the Maulana had to run away to Canada to save himself and Mr. Khan is busy projecting himself as the messiah of the country while the PTI trolls try to support him online.
    The actual issue is the Pak state has been hijacked by fundamentalist minded people sitting in powerful positions deep within the state while Mr. Khan and Maulana surf on the surface and gloss over their presumed success at beating the enemy imposter (= Government). The actual enemy (Social & Economic issues) stands deliberately neglected and replaced by a presumed & intentionally demonized one (“The ever agressive Hindu state”) = India…

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  • Fred Fred Burger
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:14AM

    This is what I am saying for years. The only resolution to problems in Pakistan is one party and that is PMLN as it has experienced people and people who know how an economy is uplifted. Imran Khan always utter that he will broaden the tax base and will collect billions as tax money and has no agenda about industrilization and even don’t know that the tax base can only be broaden when you are providing opportunity to floourish business.
    The problem is we are extractin political parties from NGOs/NPOs and the mentality of an NGO/NPO is to raise funds not to generate profits, that is why they these parties think that they will raise funds out of this and that and so on. Economy of countries don’t work like that rather it is a comletely different phenomenon which they (PTI and other NGO based parties) need to learn.
    Other than that Imran Khan during last few days has shown a great irresponsible behavior and indecisiveness (I am talking about the long march thingy). Can a nation afford such kind of a leadership??? Surely not.
    And the people who are talking about a scientist can’t thikn about politics are mistaken as a scientist has more logical approach towards the issues of everyday life. I am not saying that he will always be right about things but if you want to denounce it use logical way and not merely say that this is not his subject that is why he will always be wrong.

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  • wonderer
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:17AM

    This excellent article contains just too much wisdom for the masses of Pakistan to understand and accept.

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  • kHaN
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:31AM

    There’s nothing more ridiculous than comparing the level of corruption in Pakistan with corruption in Italy and other developed countries.

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  • Saeed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:40AM

    I like the author and his analysis in general, but sometimes he loses objectivity and his personal bias shows though.Then all laws of science get throw out of the window to support his arguments. His take on corruption have been well refuted by other commentators and his example of debt ridden Italy is ludicrous in the least and unbecoming of an analytical thinker. Indeed this whole article is a bit of a farrago, mixing Dr. Qadri’ agenda with the authors fascination with Imran and population growth. we all know that is one of the myriad problems facing the country, but is it really going to be a priority of PML and its Amir ul Momineen? or has he forgotten that part conveniently, in which case the author is manipulating beliefs and can be termed intellectually dishonest. His unbridled support of all things Western and capitalist is troubling, coming from someone who is shaping young minds. Sometimes its dangerous to be clever by far.Recommend

  • observer
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:42AM

    @Salman:

    Mr Author, who do you think would be better to lead the people now? Would you like the current regime to do another 5 years? IK is the best choice right now, I thought you knew better.

    Whether Mr Author thinks that the present regime is better or whether you know better, is wholly immaterial. What matters is, what the people of Pakistan think.

    And to know that we will have to wait till the elections.

    PS- Thank God, the Election Managers of the Deep State have been neutered on account of the Asghar Khan case.

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  • Anas
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:09AM

    Very well written, you Nailed it !!!

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  • imran
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:32AM

    @Yoghurt lover: the issue is clean govt and stable govt the party he supporting pmln is all looters theior own billions r outside the country how they can bring the change the mood is set in pakistan that is change will come and will come by pakistan khan ,what khan is saying is very realistic and he get the goal .secong he compare paksitan and italy may be he does not know where italy stands today .he like burlusconey and his bunga bunga parties

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 11:32AM

    Then who will do it? Please tell us Mr. Hoodbhoy

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  • imran
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:34AM

    @Salman: i agree with u but he is just critisizing not giving alternaitves all he talks about sharifs nothing more Recommend

  • Shakeel N
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:47AM

    A eminent professor of physics saying ‘keep on repeating same experiment hoping that different results would happen’. :S

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  • Fecundity Controller
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:51AM

    Why is it that we are so opposed to population control?
    Six million being born every year! Do we have the educational, health, housing, electricity, water and other basic needs/supplies for these six million/year? This number will go up exponentially in the coming years. Come on gentlemen, listen to reason. Why are we so numerically obsessed? Do we really think that we can conquer the world through over population? We can’t even supply shoes to six million, leave alone guns–which are needed for conquest. Deal with reality and kindly listen to reason.

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  • Faraz K
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:00PM

    PML-N is a party with feudal mindset. Us youngsters do not want or need these few rich to rule over us any more. Plus PML-N is Punjab centric. I remember karachi in their term. It was in shambles. They made sure that their constituencies get the most develoPment funds and no doubt Lahore was transformed. But Pakistan is not just Lahore. Another feat of PML-N govt was to bring the nation to bankruptcy while taking away confidence of businessmen by freezing foreign currency accounts. I think if u don’t support IK the. You shouldn’t even support the dictator-led parties. I mean if you have any sense and are a loyal Pakistani. No room for dual-national politicians :)Recommend

  • Ace Of Pace
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:09PM

    Yes. You are right professor! We must not become pawns of fake messia­hs who we don’t know about, and their real intention. We must vote for the same ‘ol messiahs about whom we know everything, their intentions, and can literally see through them.

    The thing is, when you ought to choose between the two evils, chose the lesser one. I hope this clears your mind a bit. And, NO, I don’t think IK might be an evil, but think for yourself, you’re comparing him with world-renowned dual (read evil) faces. Apply the exclusion theory man!

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  • Zee
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:43PM

    It is absolutely sad to treat IK and Qadri same.. A very biased article. Imran Khan is on roads struggling from last 16 years. How you can compare him to Tahir-ul-Qadri?
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  • Shakil Chaudhary
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:00PM

    This is truly a thought-provoking article. He is one of the most rational commentators in this part of the world. Unfortunately, he is demonized on a regular basis.

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  • Asim
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:06PM

    More I listen to Imran Khan more he seems to be confused.

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  • Dawezai
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:13PM

    Wonderful analysis!

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  • Something Clever
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:24PM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed (@SyedArbabAhmed):
    What is it with you and many Pakistanis and not being able to grasp the fact that just because there’s no solution offered, it doesn’t mean people shouldn’t identify and point out problems. If people just kept their mouth shut about complicated problems with no existing solution, it means every last problem in existence won’t get fixed because the starting point is unacceptable.
    You, like most PTI supporters, should try using their brain instead of recycling cliche deflections. Sadly, using your brain will require a period of time for you to get over the damage to your self respect the moment you turn that brain on Imran Khan.

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  • khurram kaleem
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:24PM

    Hoodbhoy is so clear and articulate .Amazing article!!

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  • jamil farooq
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:29PM

    I wonder if author knows pakistani society well. as far as contraceptives are concerned they are readily available in every medical store and PAN walla shops. rest depends on the people and their education and for that matter his favorite industrial friendly PMLN is distributing laptops aka lollypops, when concrete educational reforms are needed they are playing election gimmicks.

    And as for terrorism policy IK stand is much better as he wants no external intervention in our policy making which is the main hurdle for us for long time. And for that matter PMLN is happy in staying quite. Author is over simplifying IK policies as terrorist friendly. but the real question is when do we stop following directions from US????? are we going to make terrorist like what we did in cold war another time when US ask us to??

    and what industrialization friendly this country can be without being resolving the core issues like electricity which suffers from RAJA ReNTAL CORRUPTION, lack of institutions and JUSTICE system. and without dealing TERRORISM which this government fails to ? and do we really want two family parties PMLN and PPP to play musical chair and devoid this nation of true DEMOCRATIC norms???

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  • Nabeel
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:40PM

    An anti khan message that I like but don’t we even knowing subconsciously that the situation is grim want a ray of light? whoever provides it we are willing to give it a try.

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  • Adnan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:43PM

    So you are suggesting we should give Zaradari and Co another five years. Seriously if I had a small retail store i would not leave it to Zadari and Nawaz. You should stick to teaching science and from i what i heard from LUMs you are no good even in your feild. Do us a favor go to the USA they need people like you there.

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  • JSM
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:48PM

    It is good to have you back here sir.

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  • Geeto
    Jan 19, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Spot on!!!!Recommend

  • Jan 19, 2013 - 2:12PM

    i think such a biased view does not suit an academic atleast. I find it highly ludicrous how the man justifies corruption by citing examples from other countries. It is the most obnoxious thing one could come up with. Yes, pay the tax so that some idiot can get at the helm of affairs and enjoy.

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  • polwala
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:22PM

    The author has reiterated what most readers of English press already agree on. He has missed one really important aspect that is critical. The civilian control of the armed forces. Unless army can be directed in every way, there can be no real progress.

    @Salman “Mr Author, who do you think would be better to lead the people now? ”
    Who ever is courageous enough and has the intellectual muscle and brings the army under a civilian control in a true sense is the best person to lead. That will make a good beginning for a long course correction. Pakistan will not improve in just one election but several elections. That will happen only if there is no perpetual fear of intervention by the men in Khaki.
    Development is enabled by leaders but made possible by people who shape the society.

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  • Yousuf Saleem
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:28PM

    The very premise of the article is flawed. Para 4 says that US and Italy also face corruption and yet they develop and function properly – and therefore corruption is not Pakistan’s main problem…..i.e. the writer says that when US and Italy can function easily then why can’t we. What our dear writer overlooks, however, is the nature, the pervasiveness and the roots of corruption. A comparative analysis of corruption along these three lines will reveal that corruption in the US, Italy and other is not comparable with that in Pakistan or other similar economies. I like Dr Pervez for his contributions to hard science, but I time and again, his logic in social science is found wanting.

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  • Alexander
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:32PM

    @Aamer Khawaja:
    Why do people like you keep quiet in Pakistan? Thats the authors point. Yes, IK is way overstated. Has Hoodbhoy ever written irrationally? Those, against him, please let us what it takes to get him to India, we would love to have him here!!

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  • Arif Paracha
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:37PM

    The doctor is more than welcome to enter politics, if he is so much well versed with political and policy matters, rather than criticizing those who are doing good for the country in their own capacity. Its easy to be a good critic, which the doctor has always proved, than a doer.

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  • Roberto
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:41PM

    ”Italy is getting richer and better”" This is the biggest joke of the century.Recommend

  • SK
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:14PM

    Bravo Mr Hoodbhoy! I believe that Mr Hoodbhoy is correct in saying that IK and Mr Qadri wont really be able to bring solid reforms in this country. Pakistan is becoming a failed state; yet our leaders continue to chant the slogan of “saving democracy”. rather than facing and tackling the real problems of Pakistan such as long term sustainable growth and energy we constantly focus on simple issues that bear no long term value. in the case of Pakistan, we need a ruler who would lead the country with an iron fist! like Musharraf. most of our Parliamentarians can not even define the meaning of democracy yet they have managed to rote-learn the slogan save democracy! and that democracy is the best revenge, which clearly isn’t the case. only a few days ago, Mr Qadri proved his point that he is merely an empty shell. a man who first claims that he will make Islamabad’s D-chowk the Tahrir square of Pakistan ends up negotiating with the very people he wanted to oust from the government. the five years of the so called “democratic rule” have proved that Pakistanis only function and prosper under the strict rule of the army.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:15PM

    No doubt the author is well read but so are others in this world. Prescription of reducing the population bomb is right, but so is strict rule of law. No nation advanced economically and culturally without upholding the rule of law. UK France and Russia sent transgressors to Australia, French Guiana and Siberia respectively. Unfortunately it is the Muslim world’s hangups of getting worked up on minor and personal issues (i.e., dealing with female reproduction, disallowing women to drive, to menu sizes at a wedding), instead of establishing a culture of paying taxes and supporting meritocracy (Northern Europe, US and Far East), establishing schools, colleges and hospitals (like the Parsis in India and Jews in the US and Europe) distinguishing right from wrong (all religions and society’s do), enforcing justice (not murdering IO’s and investigating journalists) and being simply decent people (live and let live). Our world and especially Pakistan do not hang transgressors of public purse (like the Chinese), murderers are aided to flee (FIA aids flight processing to non-extradition lands) and usurpers and their staff go on to live in green pastures, then one is only going to get the IMF to tell us the need for a bail-out (bankruptcy looming) and what its prescriptions are.

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  • Shaikh Tariq
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:18PM

    Really Sir? Italy is getting Richer and better , Here are growth rates of italy for 10 yrs. enlighten me how is it getting Richer?

    Country 1999 2000 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
    Italy 1.3 2.7 0.4 0.4 1.3 0.1 1.9 1.4 -1 -5.1 1.3 0.4

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  • Mazhar Mughal
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:21PM

    This article raises many issues, I point out a few here:

    Dr. Hoodbhoy, while arguing that corruption is not our main problem, gives Italy as his first example. Now, the author may not know that Italy is among the PIGS , the set of mainly South European countries, which have the dubious distinction of surviving thanks to so far generous economic assistance from the North. Only a couple of days ago, an Italian professor of Monetary Economics gave a seminar in my university, explaining how Italy didn’t deserve to be in the Euro Zone even in 1999. Part of the reason, in his view, is corruption and poor governance. Italy does have the luxury of being in the European Union, and hence living beyond its means relying on the Germans and the Austrians to pay its bills, but can we?

    On corruption, the author may not know that there is a lively intlectual debate among Institutional Economists on whether and to what extent does corruption and underdeveloped institutions retards a nation’s growth. There is increasing empirical evidence that countries with less corruption have indeed outgrown the more corrupt ones.

    The author mentioned that instead, population growth is our biggest problem. This again ignores the growing body of empirical evidence that development preceeds and even promotes the demographic transition. Our neighbour India, for example, despite a relatively high population growth rate, has managed to grow in the last two decades. Our problem then does not lie in lack of contraceptives, but lack of good administrators and functioning institutions. Lower fecundity will certainly control overpopulation, but would not kickstart economic progress. Institutional reforms and meritocracy will.

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  • Wilayat
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:31PM

    Mr writer, I was a fan of you, but in this writing where you have ‘implicitly’ justified to keep the current ruler PPP, PMLN or then the military, you have proved, you better to be just a scientist not political analyst. In support, you have given many ‘useless’ evidences. For example, I being in Italy, know that Berlusconi is one of the source for the current bad economy due to his corruption. Your statement ‘Italy keeps getting richer and better’ has no relation with the truth. I respect you as a scientist, but your opposition to PTI with false reasoning is too much embarrassing to me. If honesty is not the solution, do you think, just an example, if the killings of thousands has no meaning to a dishonest person, can consider problems like population? Do you really think for a country full of natural resources, population is the real problem of our country? Do you really think had there been no honest leadership in US history, even then despite of the current corruption US would still had the same big economy?

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  • AA-0086
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:38PM

    I loved this whole article. This is exactly what needs to be done, in a same step by step manner mentioned in article. This pragmatic approach will surely save Pakistan and it should be implemented on a war footing basis.

    What these leaders and people fails to understand is that corruption is not a root problem, its a effect caused by bigger problem of over population and poor economy of the country. Once these root problems are solved, this corruption will automatically reduce to a significant level so that the progress can achieved.

    P.S: But i will definitely choose IK this time because he is the better option available from rest.

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  • Anticorruption
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:42PM

    This is a very surprisingly shoddy piece. The example of Italy as well as the argument about corruption. Since several people above have duelly addressed the sloppiness of these arguments, I will avoid repeating the same, but it is really disappointing to see that the writer, like most other op-ed writers in our newspapers, has done absolutely no homework on what he has written.

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  • Haider Budini
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:52PM

    Right in the bulls eye..!
    the approach by TUQ is short sighted but this will certainly bring some political awareness among moderate sunnis.
    As far as IK is concerned he will be doing long march after upcoming elections because the people around him will make a forward block and will join the governing party.!

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  • Saeed Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:07PM

    Educate people and they will take control of population. Dialogue with so called enemy and listen to what they have to say rather than throw bullets at them. No one wants to kill people. Find the root cause behind all their actions.

    Apart from these two ‘messiahs’, there is no one who can actually do anything to contribute towards progress of Pakistan. I even doubt Mr Qadri but that’s another topic. Criticizing someone is real easy.

    Education, Judicial system and negotiations with our so-called enemy .. These three are the priorities. Without solving these problems, you can’t even move. You are crippled.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:07PM

    @imran:
    I love your burlusconey and his bunga bunga parties comment. I cannot stop laughing.

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  • Umar Bin Riaz
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:18PM

    The issues higglighted in this article seems valid, but i think corruption is one core of an issue. What this present government has done, is to show how easily corruption can be done, how yet so easily, one can escape those charges.. This might have been the reason why (atleast not Qadari, as we dont know, for what prompted him to wage this drama but definately) IMRAN KHAN have been vocal about it (corruption). So i support Imran Khan stand for corruption. The issues related to population and the rest comes in PAKISTAN long term planning

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  • dr.roomi
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:19PM

    well said sir, IK is the most desperate and wicked politician having no wisdom and taking decisions in such a haste that most of the times,he himself regrets his hurriedly taken decisions.he is a totally confused person which is eminent from his political maneuvers.like his manifesto and vowing of eliminating corruption when he comes into power in 90 days: which is not practical.he rather should give a more viable time frame.also his stand regarding terrorism is not acceptable in the current context.
    at a time when pakistan needs political stability,IK is stuck to his demands which he obviously knows can derail democracy, like seeking of resignation from a democratically elected president.
    IK in my view is an adventurer,who can go to any extent for achieving his desires.

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  • Imran
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:43PM

    The man has lost his marbles. Praising PMLN disastrous economic policies sums his analysis up. When the world was setting up IT labs and investing in higher education, the sharif led government was offering yellow taxis.

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 6:35PM

    @Mirza: An excellent comment I totally agree. Regards

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  • Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:59PM

    @A Shahid:
    You mean not thinking is thinking out of the box? like PTI Trolls would do. Thats trolling. At least they are thinking.

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  • Abdullah
    Jan 19, 2013 - 7:37PM

    How can you say, that he can’t save? atleast i know that he is the better one.
    And this makes it my duty to vote for him.

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  • Mudassar
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:07PM

    What a waste of time and by the way what a easy way to catch the people’s attention by spreading negative propaganda against Imran Khan who is not in the power yet.

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  • Burhan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:46PM

    Most respectfully, all of your Bullshit aside Sir Hoodbhoy
    “Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted of everything from tax fraud to soliciting minors for sex, and yet Italy keeps getting richer and better.”

    Do you even know where Italy’s economy is right now? It’s down the drain, people are calling it the next Greece. I expected a person of your caliber to at least do SOME research before ranting on ET about current affairs. This ONE statement nullifies everything you ave written, because you have based your arguments on it!

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  • tariq
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:01PM

    Sir no solution in your writing if no Khan then who???? how come you can ignore youth of this country.this called generation gap. Any way no need to take jobless teacher serious

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  • Z
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:22PM

    This guy is justifying corruption. Hard to take him seriously, which is too bad because he obviously is very smart.

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  • sheikh
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:25PM

    What is said makes sense but what is deeply lacking is the understanding that for any cultural, demographical or wealth distribution or creation change INSTITUTIONS need to be good and positively productive (a lesson from your colleague PH, i.e. Professor Ali Cheema). So the Messiah senior is talking about that while pml N and Zardari-party are both destroying the institutions. If any institution is to be made or a cultural and economic revolution brought, you need competent and educated people handling them. Hence I believe the only hope for this country remains with the ‘Messiah Sr.’

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  • niazikhan2
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Mr.HoodBhoy along your fierce criticism you didnt mention who is real Messiah..??put light on that Messiah..we are curious to know the real Messiah if Nation is unaware and not familiar.you have the right to criticize but criticism should give birth solution as Who will address this problem.i think you will reply

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  • Mamoon
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:59PM

    Sorry sir but the inefficiency and slopiness of the govt is getting harder to justify now. Given the current economic performance of this govt the masses r bound to look elsewhere.

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  • SM
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:13PM

    @Khan of Cape Town:
    read carefully. he has provided clear solutions. the proble is that we are not willing to accept them.

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  • zaheer
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:17PM

    The disturbing episode of the Long March ended with less gain to the country and more, perhaps, to Dr. Qadri.

    Islamabad Long March Declaration has nothing new that is not already enshrined in the Constitution save commitment by ruling coalition partners of visiting Minhajul Quran office in Lahore for future plans on how to introduce electoral reforms and other political strategies including consensus between Dr Qadri and the PPP on name of care-taker Prime Minister.

    The demands put forward by Mr Qadri in the start of his march were widely different from what he was made to agree upon in the end by the cunning minded politicians who relied on ‘delay tactics’ to exhaust the booming enthusiasm Dr Qadri and his crowd showed in the beginning.

    Mr Qadri kept on losing hope with each incident taking place out in other parts of country. A mature protest outside Punjab Assembly against the protest of Mr Qadri might have twisted his approach towards understanding the changing scenario.

    Another pushback on his hopes to gain what he was aspiring for so voraciously was natural in shape of worsening weather in Islamabad that might have played a role in compelling Dr Qadri to offer open negotiations to the ones whom he had called ‘Yazeed’ and ex-government.

    He did not seem to come to negotiation table unless he realized that situation was not in his favour, and even all the opposition parties in parliament stood adamant against him under the headship of Mr Nawaz Sharif in Raiwand.

    National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies, Senate, Election Commission and the President all are where they were even after the march is over. What he remained successful in was to make the ruling elite agree to sit together for devising strategies to introduce reforms in Election Commission and to have his share in coming care taker set up.
    Was not that more a personal gain than a collective one?
    Sahito Zaheer
    Sukkur

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 10:58PM

    i am very happy that you pointed out a exact picture but you missed many thing one is eredication of lordship from pakistan in the form of feudal, military,industrial beaucratic one who are the great menace for pakistan sustainable progress and development

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  • ssayub
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:00PM

    Wonder why this old well-meaning professor hasn’t been able to bring change in Pakistan?
    Any ideas? Can anybody help?

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  • Parvez
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:07PM

    In a nutshell you have said the problem lies with the military and the mullahs.
    Why ? because the politicians being inept and corrupt have granted them this space.
    The answer is to slowly recover this space through honest good governance in which the people would benefit and thus strengthen the civilian rule. Its not rocket science……….and I am sure many understand this.

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 11:14PM

    Problem with huobuoy is that he assumes if one is good in quantum physics, one is good in everything. Problem with researchers is that that are never satisfied. It is good for profession, may not be good habit in every other case. Qadri was not pretending to be messiah and calimed he had answers of everyhing. He just pointed couple of crucial problems which should have priority (could be solved in few months). Huoboy is talkng of problems which needs decades. Mr. Theoratical, we need to start somewhere here and now.

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  • Jan 19, 2013 - 11:18PM

    If we will ask Mr. O boy of who should be leader of Pakistan other than himself, I bet he will take his lifetime to think because he just know how to critisize.

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  • MD
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:22PM

    What a sorry piece. What have the other parties done to address the ‘real’ issues?
    Is Khi violence sectarian?
    What is the solution? Drones in Khi?

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  • Riaz Khan
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:26PM

    Face the reality! Patient is on ventilator and doctor has asked to pray since they did everything which they could do. I find very weird about we Pakistanis that he loves to live in denial mode. Till such time we are not going to face the facts and reality, nothing would change. They say if problem is identified its 90% solved but sadly we are living on emotional slogans since 65 years. Sadly, it’s too late!

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  • stating the obvious
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:32PM

    The problems before Pakistan though quite complex can be tackled by persons who understand the complexities.When the army,the ISI and the religious organizations have the real power it is immaterial which civilian party wins.If the thinking of the military does not change, the prognosis for Pakistan looks bleak.From outside, looking at the current crop of Pakistani leaders, the problems look unsolvable.

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  • Umer Rasheed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 11:40PM

    I see no difference between Hoodbhoy and Ali Moeen Nawazish. Both make irrational arguments and expect people to follow them because of their fancy degrees.

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  • Salman
    Jan 20, 2013 - 12:08AM

    Sir, salute to your political wisdom and thanks GOD, your are not in politics. You would have been an educated and enhanced version of Zardari, ‘Khul k khao, corruption doesn’t hurt a country’.

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  • zubair
    Jan 20, 2013 - 2:04AM

    Yes, these are serious problems but there are many other more serious problems as well. One cannot enforce his opinion to anyone but PH always wants to link every issue towards intolerance, and irrationality of the society. But I think all the violence, intolerance and irrationality is the result of social injustice, corruption, bad governance and economic instability. We have to address these issues first, and then as a beneficiary of this system ppl will come out of their shells themselves.

    One more thing is that even much learned person like him ridicules one’s name (like he calls Cricket Khan) just because he disagrees to his point. How can we teach our youth and children the lesson of morality, tolerance and rationality when we ourselves are not following this lesson.Recommend

  • Jan 20, 2013 - 2:47AM

    Excellent …. But I think militancy and extremism should on no 1 and then political stability..

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  • BK
    Jan 20, 2013 - 3:41AM

    Italy is getting richer & better? Get your facts rights professor

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  • Hassan Masud
    Jan 20, 2013 - 5:34AM

    My 2 cents on this article:

    Firstly, there is an obvious deviation and distortion of facts in this article. Also, in some instances over-simplification is evident and in other cases, undue complication as well as projection of closely inter-twined and inter-dependent issues as having no relevance with each other.

    Now, while population growth might be a huge problem and maybe even amongst the biggest, it all links back to the corruption that is etched in the very fabric of this country. While most have equated corruption with kickbacks and filling pockets, I think there’s more serious corruption that prevails which is only indirectly linked with financials. Not having the right intent to fix things, rulers filling up their cabinets with nincompoops who don’t have the competence or the skill set to be in those positions (in addition to lack of intent) – (with lifelong farmers/ feudals responsible for Information technology, convicts being law ministers, jokers responsible for the interior, etc), not letting the competent ones within their parties rise are all forms of corruption which affect us equally.

    If your education budget goes into personal accounts, how do you expect your nation to be educated enough to understand family planning and its benefits along with the equally important “what is the right choice for them in the elections” which ofcourse, also links back to why the education budget goes into pockets and not spent on what its meant for – doesnt that link your identified biggest problem in the country with corruption.

    In short, concurring with the mighty khan, corruption is Pakistan’s “central problem”.

    As for the only party who, in your opinion gives two hoots about bringing economic prosperity by wealth generation, could you enlighten us with what they have done within Punjab, where they have been the “all-powerful” in these last 5 years. If you cant think of even one such project (which you quite probably wont be able to), could you instead comment on the governance reforms they’ve brought, law and order improvement, social justice – or anything else that really matters?

    Lastly, I agree with you about culture and progress going hand in hand and that “Progress-friendly cultures demand planning, punctuality, deferred gratification, belief in rationality, and the rule of law” however, as corruption is not limited to the rulers anymore, it has seeped through to the very fabric, these attributes will remain non-existant until you fix the fabric. How can you even expect deferred gratification or planning from those who only believe in and care about what’s available to pocket today only !

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  • Dr. H.A Khan
    Jan 20, 2013 - 8:10AM

    Pakistan’s education system as we all know is sub par with developed and developing world, professorship in sophisticated universities in developed world is given to individuals with very high degree of proven educational knowledge and decades of experience. It is common in Pakistan for a college lecturer to call himself a professor without much question. Pervez Hoodbhoy implants a notion that PML-N(Shareef brothers) is promoting wealth creation in Punjab.
    Pervez Hoodbhoy for his political convenience ignores to mention few facts i.e (1) Shareef brothers have been dominant on Punjab politics and controlled governments for over 35 years occupying Primeminister’s and Cheif Ministers seat multiple times (2) where is the comparison of current GDP and human development index between Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab.
    How is Indian Punjab as compare to Pakistan’s Punjab much more prosperous ? Why did you forget to mention the connection of Islamization and Shareef brothers in past 3 decades ? What about giving all kind of support ( political, moral, judicial) and providing sanctuaries to extremists and fanatics in Pakistan’s Punjab by Shareefs ? Pervez Hoodbhoy do you think giving another 5 years to already tried, tested and tired Shareef brothers is any favor to Pakistan ? Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jan 20, 2013 - 8:44AM

    Do you think an elected government can architecture a social change? Can it induce punctuality and get a superstitious nation to accept contraception.
    I don’t think our population is growing because birth control pills are inaccessible. It is growing because even college educated women are superstitious about using them.

    Social change is brought about through education and yea you are one of the few that have successfully helped people think differently. However we can’t place this responsibility on to the elected govt whichever leader it forms under.

    REDUCED corruption if not elimination of it, will have a trickle down effect on social culture and attitudes. It will bring greater respect for the due process of law, for punctuality, for standing in a queue, for filling forms accurately, for accountability, for clarity of the law and its effectiveness, and eventually greater confidence in investing money in a business at home rather than buying an apartment in Dubai. I think Weber would agree.

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