Info-graphic | Youth, Demography & Pakistan’s Future

A significant majority of Pakistan’s population comes from the country’s ever-growing youth cohort. Two out of every three Pakistanis is currently under the age of 30. An estimated 52 million Pakistanis—or 27 per cent of the population –is between the ages of 15 and 29. As an estimated 4 million young people enter the workforce every year and corresponding dependency rates fall, it remains to be seen if Pakistan will be able to cash-in on the country’s youth dividend.

Studies show that one-third of the East Asian miracle growth can be attributed to the demographic dividend. Though Pakistan’s recent progress in economic growth is encouraging, it is certainly behind growth rates needed to sustain the large number of youth entering the workforce every year. To meet this demand, an additional 1.5 million jobs need to be created each year until 2040. However, even from among those who are employed, over 60 per cent are currently in unstable or underpaying jobs, whereas 35 per cent work in unpaid positions. Higher levels of unemployment amongst the under 30 year olds presents additional challenges for Pakistan. Given the delicate political and security situation, the risk of youth becoming demoralised in the face of limited and discouraging employment options remains real.

Gender disparities in employment opportunities within Pakistan’s labour market continue to remain stark. Coupled with cultural restraints and discrimination, female youth unemployment rates continue to rise, accounting for 62 per cent of total female unemployment in 2015.

Twenty-six million children remain out of school. Reports suggest that at the current level of growth, it would take until 2076 to achieve full enrolment rates. Further, the kind of skills imparted by Pakistan’s education system are often unmarketable, and thus prove ineffectual at achieving the true objective of integrating youth into the workforce. All this has contributed to the emergence of a generation of young people who are prone to frustration and marginalisation.

Nearly 2 million Pakistani students are expected to graduate from higher secondary school (FSC) in the coming two years. A cursory look at existing universities reveals that most Pakistani higher education institutes do not have the capacity to accommodate this influx of young adults. Pakistan’s university graduates are experiencing high unemployment rates. In addition, only 30 per cent of graduates from technical and vocational institutes are employed in the formal sector whereas a greater percentage are either self-employed or are absorbed into the informal sector at low salaries.

The advent of an increasingly prominent global startup culture can, to a certain extent, help address unemployment and allow youth to directly channel creativity into tangible initiatives. According to a recent report, an Islamabad-based incubator alone has created over 200 jobs since 2012 by facilitating 16 start-ups. Existing infrastructure, however, does not allow Pakistan to fully explore the potential of youth-led entrepreneurial ventures. In the absence of incubators, start-ups are often unable to raise the capital required to get off the ground. In Pakistan, there are still very few operational incubators with current numbers hovering at about thirty. As a result, existing incubators and angel investors are burdened beyond capacity: a single Pakistani incubator reportedly receives 7,500 new business pitches every 6 months. Despite these hurdles, Pakistan is reported to have around 476 start-up companies to date.

Pakistan’s young adults are more politically engaged than ever, with nearly half of the 84 million registered voters in the 2013 elections aged between 18 and 35. An international report published this year indicates that only 24 per cent of Pakistan’s youth trust the country’s politicians. Further, young people lack opportunities to become active participants in the political process. A three-decade old ban on student unions – an unhelpful remnant of the Zia years –and the overall violent nature of campus politics, means that colleges and universities are no longer the incubators or training grounds for political engagement they once were. Nor do they directly affect the course of national politics.

Pakistan’s youth offers both unique opportunities and challenges. If provided opportunities for growth and development, they can play an integral role in leading the country towards a progressive future. Unfortunately due to constraints and limited financial resources, a vast majority is currently unable to utilise its talents. For this, the government must offer a combination of financing options to young adults so they are able to complete their education and pursue desired career paths. Such initiatives can decrease the burden of unemployment on the economy, as well as contribute to overall growth.

Research and write-up by Zeb Nasir, Jinnah Institute

US policy of containment

US foreign policy has used containment twice in last 50 years. First time it was used against Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) which was the predecessor of Russia. In that struggle Pakistan was a front line ally of America especially after Soviet forces entered Afghanistan. The policy was adopted by a military dictator General Zia ul Haq. The country suffered a lot of because of that as it introduced drugs, weapons, extremism and fundamentalism in the country. Second time US has adopted policy of containment against China but in this scenario the front line state is India. One price America has agreed to pay for this alignment with India is to drop Pakistan as an ally. I have written many times over last three years that US is dropping Pakistan to alleviate Indian anxiety about its Western borders. China has understood this policy shift and has decided to develop Pakistan as a front line ally to counter this strategy of containment. We have to realize this reality and recalibrate our foreign policy. Our failure to reorient will be costly both in lives, economy and even statehood.

When we look at the map it is quite clear that Pakistan has been increasingly isolated. In the East we have India and on the West we have Iran and Afghanistan. We have tensions with all these neighbors. In the front across gulf of Oman we have Oman where US has a military base. The only regional support we are getting is in the North in the form of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In a recent One Belt One Road (OBOR) summit in Hong Kong, Chinese third ranking decision maker highlighted that OBOR has two key routes. One going through Russia and Central Asia to Europe while the other going through Pakistan to Middle East. But it will not be that easy especially if US supports Iran-India-Afghanistan Chah Bahar route that will link with Chinese-Russian route. Tension between Iran and Pakistan would mean that Iranian oil and gas will not be part of CPEC which will be disincentive for China which needs energy. Choking of Persian Gulf would mean that Saudi oil will reach China through a longer expensive route. Chinese interest in CPEC so far are more related to security than economy if Pakistan does not improve relations with his Western neighbors.

Both government and opposition is showing lack of interest in foreign policy. There has been complete silence from both politicians and military after recent US drone strikes in which at least one Pakistani citizen lost his life. Opposition has refrained from demanding the government to elaborate its policy position except few lone voices. They should have huddled together and issued a joint statement demanding from the government an explanation as well as appointment of a full time foreign minister. Prime Minister did not bother to cancel his London visit and made a one line statement after landing there. There was no meeting between PM, Defense Minister, Interior Minister, National Security Adviser and military chiefs to evaluate the situation and decide on a correction course.

Traditionally military has dominated our foreign policy which creates a turf war between civilian-military leaders. This tension existed during PPP tenure and has increased since PML N started its tenure. This turf war has seriously damaged our interests. One recent example was military accusation of Iran facilitating RAW agents to infiltrate Pakistan during the official visit of Iranian President. Even after the US drone strike a narrative has emerged that Mullah Mansour visited Iran and was targeted upon his return from there. Opposition parties instead of supporting civilian government have usually sided with military to exacerbate the situation and exploit it for their own narrow political gains.

While we are showing our ineptitude, Iran-India-Afghanistan signed an agreement to develop port, road and transit trade. Indian PM Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held summit meeting to discuss regional trade and security inking 12 MOUs. This does not mean all is lost. For this initiative to succeed these three countries will need cooperation from Pakistan.

Our usual foreign policy is driven by zero sum philosophy where loss of our neighbor is gain for us and vice versa. This is a wrong concept, shows lack of depth and immaturity of our diplomats. For instance, we have to snub Iran to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia. We have not learned the art to balance relationship between two competing powers. Same is the situation when it comes to dealing with China and USA. The point I am trying to emphasize is that our current foreign policy is failing if not completely failed yet. Traditionally military planners have dominated foreign policy because of our designation as a security state. We need to change that. The track record of soldier’s as diplomats especially in uniform have not been very encouraging around the world. It is important that we allocate sufficient budget for the development of our diplomatic capability. We have to attract best talent to join foreign services and weed out incapable and corrupt officials. We need to also develop some region specific think tanks that can engage with parliament, its committees and policy planners for the development of a workable policy.

Pakistan has a diplomatic crisis but all crisis come with an opportunity. It is upon us to capitalize on it and preserve our national interest. Sovereignty in international relations is protected by diplomats not soldiers. We must appreciate this and develop it.

The Afghan Case

In the contemporary Afghan scenario; Pakistan has only two relevancies. The first being that they share a long border; the controversial Durand line. Whereas the second is that Pakistan has influence on the most powerful opposition of Afghan government and American Interests. From geographical point of view; power balance mechanism is not vital anymore the way it was at the time of the Soviet Afghan war or early years of American invasion of Afghanistan. However, it has not completely faded yet; as we can see mainly this corridor is available to the Afghan Taliban leaders’ mobilization.

The Americans and Afghans are more interested in controlling the Taliban element within Afghanistan, via dialogue. Therefore, from Qatar Peace talks to the Murree Peace process; they look towards Pakistan.

Conventionally, till Mullah Omer Afghans & Americans were very clear about the influence of Pakistan on Talibans. However after Mullah Omer, the new Ameer of Taliban; Mullah Akhter Masour opposed the Pakistani Sway.
Therefore as we saw in the past few months; the Americans have changed their policies regarding Pakistan.

Inside Pakistani agencies they’ve kept up their backdoor diplomacy with Afghan Taliban. Yet Afghan Taliban remained reluctant, as they began to believe that Pakistan is acting as a double agent.

Mullah Akhter was the main hurdle for Pakistan as he was disinclined towards Pakistan’s role in the Peace Process. He also had no wish to bend to the Americans’ will, so he turned into the combined enemy against Pakistani Influence & Americans’ will.

Even among the Taliban there is a group, who was against Mullah Akhter’s policy of no dialogue & this group is commanded by Mullah Omer’s son; Mullah Muhammad Yaqoub. He is also the one whom Pakistan would prefer as the next Ameer. The Taliban leadership, on the other hand, seem disputed on the issue, and want hardliner Mullah Shaikh Haibat Ullah Akhonzada to be next Ameer.
Nomination of the next chief of Taliban is very significant for Pakistan’s role in South Asian ever-revolving dynamics, as Pakistan need to loosen the hold of indian lobby in Afghanistan. The American role seems suspicious, as it appears as if they wish to channelize Afghan Taliban’s Anti American anger towards Pakistan. For this the only comprehensible reason could be the Chinese access of warm waters via Pakistan.

Mullah Akhter Mansour’s connections with Iran seem to be a new development, most likely following the footsteps of this region’s legend; Tipu Sultan.
It seems a very unnatural alliance, the only likeness between the two being Anti-Americanism sentiments.

Conclusively, appointment of the new Ameer of Afghan Taliban will determine Pakistan’s standing in the region. Either once again the Americans would tilt their policy in favor of Pakistan or a line will emerge clearly between the Pakistan-China block and the American-Indian block. However on a ground level; suffering would only be, as always, for the Afghanis.

Sizzling hot politics

The writer is former executive editor of The News and a senior journalist with Geo TV.

Normally temperatures are inversely related to political activity. The hotter it gets, the cooler the action becomes. To be out on the roads campaigning under a blistering sun and pulling the crowds out in scorching heat is not recommended.

However, this season may turn out to be freakish. All political parties have to push their agendas in peak summer time. Some have to do it on account of circumstances and some by design, but they have all committed themselves to goals that they cannot take a break from just because the mercury is rising to insane levels.

There is too much at stake for them all to sit back and wait for the weather to turn before they start their power games again. The burning fire of the Panama leaks has boiled the political pot to a point where it can actually trigger a meltdown of the existing political arrangement. All parties know this and they want to make the most of it. However, within both camps, the government and the opposition, there are complex dynamics at work that need to be factored in to understand where this season’s sizzling politics can lead to.

The opposition’s backbone is still the PTI. It is a party that has kept the street alive and in an agitational mood. Its leader has shown no sign of getting off his main track of disrupting the central government at all cost. After the formation of the ToR committee, the PTI is now uniquely placed. Unlike the dharna days, it is equally potent both inside and outside parliament. It is at once a force within and a force without. It can squeeze the government on the negotiating table as well as keep it preoccupied with its endless public meetings.

This dual role makes the PTI a real challenge for the federal government because it cannot be isolated by the stakeholders of the democratic order (as happened when it besieged parliament) nor can it be stopped from constantly attacking the government as incompetent and corrupt. But there is little clarity on the path the PTI wants to take in order to reach its goal of toppling the Sharif government. The ToRs, regardless of how smartly they are designed and how minutely they test the Sharif family’s financial record, are paper instruments.

For all the noise and fury that is heard and witnessed in political gatherings, probing fictional or factual deeds of financial fraud requires time – years. International cooperation is required in this case and the basic data on which forensics can be performed is still to be found. More importantly, the PTI’s own house hardly smells of roses when it comes to allegations of tax fudging, hidden assets and money made through questionable means. Any probe by the commission under strict ToRs will hurt the PTI’s heavy hitters as much it would hit the N-League.

Logically, this should cool the party’s enthusiasm for a genuine probe in such matters. But that is not happening because Imran Khan believes that the moment the commission starts to question the Sharif family, it will be all about the ruling family and not about anybody else. Even a slight suggestion of hidden wealth, incomplete documents, or new and awkward facts coming out would be enough to twist the knife in the Sharif government. He believes that once that happens nobody would even remember who else was tainted by the Panama leaks or offshore companies scam.

The other reason the PTI continues to push for a probe through a commission is the power struggle within. The PTI’s mover and shakers like Jehangir Khan Tareen and Aleem Khan have been badly damaged by their own alleged scams. While they look invincible standing behind Imran Khan, their politics and business will be severely affected by a commission probe. This works out fine for someone like Shah Mehmood Qureshi who has been squeezed and at times even bulldozed by the PTI’s billionaires club. He would be the last person to stand in the way of a commission probe moving towards those who hold the entire party in the palm of their hands. Partly for this reason the billionaires want to keep the party out on the streets because it creates that hyped-up environment in which the finer questions about their own record are lost and the focus shifts to the prime target – the Sharif family.

It is this group within the PTI that is all for a radical solution: let the army step in to push the Sharifs out and then use backend contacts with the brass and get down to the business of forming a new government through elections or any other means. There is not much clarity within the party over the actual advantages to the party of an army-facilitated exit of the Sharifs. For now the focus is exclusively on battering the Sharifs to a pulp and ensuring that they are politically damaged beyond rehabilitation.

The PPP camp is somewhat similar to the PTI camp when it comes to the commission probe. There is a realisation that any genuine investigation will get the party’s many stalwarts fried. However, the PPP under Bilawal Bhutto has taken such an absolute stand on the issue that scaling back from it in any form would further hurt their already terrible political reputation. Bilawal wants to attack the Sharifs on corruption to regain some ground in Punjab. He imagines, like Imran Khan, that if the Sharifs get tied up in the Panama leaks, the PPP would become secondary news. His advisers, however, are not keen on letting the situation become so bad that the army has to be welcomed.

For others within the PPP, a commission probing corruption across the board may be their party’s best chance of getting rid of the corrupt cabal that holds their party hostage. If the commission takes down the corrupt elements within their party, so be it. They cannot do this on their own; might as well unleash a probe that does it for them. This group believes that through this process the party can hope to build a new cadre of leaders. Now this is a long shot, and one that would be resisted by those who understand that they won’t escape any movement to nab financial corruption and transfer of assets abroad. More than them, it is Asif Ali Zardari who will make sure that the process to form an empowered commission remains mired in procedural matters, culminating in findings that are more semantics than substance.

For the Sharif government, these dynamics in the opposition camp offer both solace and anxiety. The commission probe suits it because the process of its formation, work and findings can take long enough. The Sharifs can even plan an early election if the situation turns ugly for the party. The party’s electoral fortunes continue to be strong even when it is struggling with a vast range of problems.

There are some within the PML-N who think that the commission’s probe of the Sharif family is fraught with dangers because its proceedings will deeply damage the party irrespective of whether in the final round the findings are in their favour or not. But there is a general consensus in the party that there is no alternative to this crisis getting defused other than the formation of the commission.

The Sharifs’ point of anxiety relates to street agitation that they believe is being used to create an environment in which they are adjudged guilty before the commission is even formed. Imran Khan’s use of video clips in his public meeting in Faisalabad is a next-level charge that the Sharifs think is coming from the PTI and its powerful backers in order to corner them. They have no effective answer to this challenge.

They are the government. They are the incumbents. Every dart thrown at them lands on the head. Their counter-strategy so far has been to ridicule Imran Khan and bring his own contradictions to the fore. This will continue and become more intense. That, however, does not get them off the hook. Their primary aim is to minimise damage to themselves and at the same time let the pressure fizzle out. But this does not change much for them. For now the political temperature for the Sharifs is far more than any pyrometer may be able to measure. It can become unbearable in the weeks ahead.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TalatHussain12

The 28th May tests

Random thoughts

Today’s article is meant to draw attention to an important event in our history. On December 10, 1984, the director security of KRL, Col A Rahman, Maj Gen Anis Ali Syed and I had a meeting with the then president Ziaul Haq.

We first met Gen Mian Abdul Waheed, COS to the president, and gave him a historic letter for the president informing him that we had carried out a number of successful cold tests. I also stated that the KRL could carry out an actual explosion at a week’s notice. When we were ushered into the president’s office we were met by a beaming Gen Zia who warmly shook hands and congratulated us and then proceeded to hug me. He told us that he would refer back to us about a hot test.

Gen Zia called a meeting after a few days in which he informed us that it was his well-considered opinion that, since the US was providing substantial financial and military aid, we should hold out on a hot test for the time. The appropriate time to do so was forced on us by India in May 1998. This letter has been confirmed by Gen K M Arif in his interview published in the book ‘Deception’ by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (Walker & Co, NY, 2007, page 112). In the same book, Ghulam Ishaq Khan is also said to have mentioned it.

Since it will soon be the anniversary of the historic event of our nuclear explosions of May 28, 1998, some issues need clarification. Some people have tried to distort facts and give credit where it was not due. They have claimed that this work was not done at the KRL.

In an attempt to put an end to this controversy once and for all, I am reproducing here an authentic document written by none other than the redoubtable late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who very closely supervised the nuclear programme for almost two decades. He knew me personally for almost 27 years. This letter was written to Zahid Malik, a noted journalist, and nobody can doubt Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s integrity, impartiality, honesty and objectivity.

Dated 16-8-1999

“My dear Malik Sahib,

Thank you for your letter asking me for my views on Dr A Q Khan’s personality….

I have been…associated in various official capacities with the work and doings of Dr A Q Khan…for over two decades. Early in our association I could perceive in him a person imbued with a noble mission in life, difficult to achieve but not impossible for a man with his attributes of character. Later, of course, I would witness how assiduously he applied himself to move with steadfast determination towards achievement of the goal that he had set for himself. It was…with great delight and admiration to listen in our regular monthly meetings to his report on the progress made and the distances travelled…

“It is said that ‘an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man and the length of the shadow is largely influenced by the appointments he makes….’ Working practically on a green field, one of the first tasks which Dr A Q Khan addressed when he accepted the challenge of developing Pakistan’s nuclear programme was … establishing the Kahuta (KHAN) Research Laboratories (KRL) and manning them by a team of loyal, trustworthy and dedicated engineers and scientists with professional excellence. By now, KRL has emerged as one of our most outstanding institutions, on par with some of the best in the world in the field of defence production and research. It comprises facilities for uranium enrichment to weapon grade levels, … together with state of the art workshops, amenities and equipment… for the indigenous production of missiles (including Ghauri) and a whole range of other battlefield weapons from antitank devices, multi-barrel guns, and night vision appliances, etc.

“This was the first major step towards attainment of self reliance in defence technology and KRL, under the able leadership of Dr A Q Khan, has thereby made invaluable contributions to the defence and security of the country.

“To invest KRL with its present capabilities constituted a real challenge for its architect; technical problems confronted for the first time had to be resolved; man-made hurdles had to be circumvented and even natural hazards had to be conquered. …. Often bans were imposed at critical times on export of critical items, validly and openly contracted, even paid for, which then had to be fabricated locally through experimentation, trial and error or the long drawn-out tedious process of reverse engineering.

“Again, on at least three occasions, the elaborate array of hundreds of extremely delicately balanced, fast revolving centrifuges, painstakingly erected, were knocked flat down by severe jolts of unexpected earthquakes…. These had to be reconstructed and recreated at a great cost of labour and time. In these circumstances any other person not endowed with the indomitable will and tenacity of Dr A Q Khan would have thrown in the sponge.

“These events, however, simply spurred him to work with still greater vigour and determination, with the result that … not only would the colossal damage be restored, but … design parameters improved. Today KRL and its allied outfits stand as a shining monument to the foresight, and patriotic vision and hard work of its architect. It also vividly illustrates that, given the opportunity, a modicum of resources, some encouragement and, above all, a wise, dedicated and selfless leadership, dreams can indeed be turned into reality.

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to its nuclear scientists and engineers for transforming an essentially technologically backward country into the 7th Nuclear Power state in the world. In bringing about this radical change the most vital and crucial contribution, in my judgment, was made by Dr A Q Khan and his research organizations. Using weapon grade enriched uranium, a product of KRL, as ‘fuel’, they had developed by the 2nd half of 1984, a nuclear explosive device which could be assembled and detonated at a short notice.”

To be continued

Email: [email protected]


Public diplomacy may be defined as engagement with a foreign public and listen to a foreign public and change your approach as a result, in support of a country’s national interest. US public diplomacy includes promoting US values, explaining US policies, supporting and facilitating US exports and entrepreneurship and facilitating and promoting US higher education and exchange programs.
In order to have better understanding of American culture, values and society, programs like flagship exchange, international visitor leadership program invites doctors, urban planners, artists, journalists and others to build valuable professional skills , introduced by the US under public diplomacy program. In case when there is no physical presence, social media is very useful in that case. Talking about the US efforts for public diplomacy towards Iran, Virtual Embassy Tehran website and Farsi language social media platform, which include Twitter, Facebook, Youtube established by US in Iran. These steps taken by US in order to counter negative image of US policies and strategies inside Iran. After 9/11 US image in the Muslim World is characterized by distrust and disapproval of American ideology, culture and enmity and general hatred. The influence of this negative public opinion impacts the US credibility to advance its strategies and foreign policy interest in the Muslim World.After 9/11 incident majority in Muslim World still believe that Osama bin laden and Al Qaeda were not solely responsible for this incident, instead accused US as well responsible for 9/11. Invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has fueled to the rumors, that invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan counts as proof to many in the Muslim World that 9/11 was planned in order to go for the achievement of interests. And 9/11 was just an excuse on the basis of which the US justifies its invasion. This kind of public diplomacy created a problem for dialogue initiative and to bring up mutual understanding between the US and Muslim World.

In the 30 yrz since the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Iranians has grown with the unawareness of diplomatic relations. In order to have effective public diplomacy towards Iran, the US Administrations has employed a variety of efforts to help break the stage of dispute.In 2006 in an attempt to refine and devise policies including public diplomacy the Bush Administration established the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs. In 2011, the US Department of State announced publicly the Virtual Embassy Tehran(currently Virtual Embassy Tehran blocked by Iranian government)an online hub specifically designed to increase communication with Iranian citiens. The goal behind the establishment of Virtual Embassy, fighting misinformation and promoting mutual understanding.So through this technology the US impact the Iranian youth opinion. New technology like internet and social media has given the US public diplomacy practionersa advanced tools to conduct public diplomacy effectively and to communicate with Iranians. Online source is the main and prime route available to the US to have direct access to Iranian people. Talking about internet access in Iran, incredible growth has been experienced by the Iranian citizens. To have understanding of target audience is very much important for public diplomacy, in the US, target audience are usually professionals. The rise in mass digital communication has caused increased usage of internet to communicate directly with citizens, and this is how the diplomatic entities and officials increasingly use this tecnique to engage with citizens. Thus social media and other online tools like Virtual Embassy employed by the US due to its ability to engage and spread messages to a large target audience. One of the element public diplomacy is listening that have a key role in defining and shaping the policies. Post 9/11 many scholars and practitioner of public diplomacy has given importance to the understanding of listening. In order to have effective public diplomacy the US needs to work on listening.Virtual Embassy as a hub of information about the US and study abroad programs, proved valuable to Iranian who had to rely on costly visa application process. Attack on the British Embassy in Tehran, government of Iran has experienced a lack of respect on international stage,and this incident posed serious problems and challenges on establishing on the ground relations with Iran. Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, various efforts and steps taken by the US to build relationship with Iranian citizens. Virtual Embassy is one of the effort of the US ,with the prime goal of building relationship. Despite the formal diplomatic ties and limited engagement between the US and Iran, educational institution of America remain an attractive symbol in Iran. Virtual presence has limited ability to reach target audience and build lasting relationship, so relying solely on this technology can be problematic, as the same problem faced by the US as a result of relying only on Virtual Embassy. The US Administration has shown interest in order to have better understanding and collaboration. For that purpose another step has taken by the US Administration that is science diplomacy. Despite the strained relations between the US and Iran, scientific collaboration has increased between the US and Iran.

The reason of failure of the US and Iran diplomatic relations, and Iran hostility towards west in the 1980, as a result of the US intervention in the internal affair of Iran and projecting the image of Iran as, one of US’s great enemy and Iran nuclear program has fueled this perception in the west.As Iran lacks powerful allies in the region and has strained relationship with Persian Gulf states as a result of territorial disputes and found itself surrounded by dominant power in the middle east such as US backed Saudi Arabia, Israel and Afghanistan. Under these circumstances Iran needs to go for diplomatic relations instead of aggressive attitude, as Iran public diplomacy is middle east centric, Iran needs to move beyond it. In order to have effective and formal diplomatic relationship, the US needs to understand the dynamics of Iran domestic policies and Iranian public. Instead of projecting image of Iran as, US’s graet enemy and projecting US image by Iran that the US needs Iran in order to effect policy in the Middle East, both states need to go for formal diplomatic ties and need to drop hostile stance towards each other

Fossil fuels killing humanity and damaging our future

Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are currently the world’s primary energy source. Formed from organic material over the course of millions of years, fossil fuels have fueled U.S. and global economic development over the past century. Yet fossil fuels are finite resources and they can also irreparably harm the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. These gases insulate the planet, and could lead to potentially catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate. Technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuels, and nuclear energy can be a zero-carbon alternative for electricity generation. But other, more sustainable solutions exist: energy efficiency and renewable energy.


Oil is the world’s primary fuel source for transportation. Most oil is pumped out of underground reservoirs, but it can also be found imbedded in shale and tar sands. Once extracted, crude oil is processed in oil refineries to create fuel oil, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, and other nonfuel products such as pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and plastics.
The United States leads the world in petroleum consumption at 19.05 million barrels per day as of 2014. Net petroleum imports for the U.S. were 4.5 million barrels per day. Top exporters to the United States include Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Oil poses major environmental problems, and the world’s heavy reliance on it for transportation makes it difficult to reduce consumption. Besides the environmental degradation caused by oil spills and extraction, combustion of oil releases fine particulates which can lead to serious respiratory problems, and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, petroleum is responsible for 42 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Heavier crude oils, especially those extracted from tar sands and shale, require the use of energy intensive methods that result in more emissions and environmental degradation compared to conventional oil. As conventional oil from underground reservoirs runs out, more oil producers are turning to unconventional sources such as tar sands and oil shale.


Coal is primarily used to generate electricity and is responsible for 39 percent of the electric power supply in the United States in 2014 (down from half in 2007). The United States produces around 11.5 percent of the world’s total with Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas leading in production. China is the global leader in coal production, responsible for 45 percent of world supply.
The combustion of coal releases air pollutants such as acid rain-inducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury. The mining process can also be very damaging to the environment, often resulting in the destruction of vegetation and top-soil. Rivers and streams can also be destroyed or contaminated by mine wastes. The combustion of coal is responsible for 32 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

The premise of “clean coal” has recently been promoted as a way to use this abundant energy source without damaging the environment. Carbon capture and storage (CCS), where carbon is separated from coal and injected underground for long term storage, could theoretically be used to mitigate the coal industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, CCS has yet to be proven as a safe or realistic way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial power plants and the environmental and health costs of mining remain.

[pullquote]Natural Gas[/pullquote]

Natural gas comprised 27 percent of U.S. energy use in 2014 and is most commonly used to produce heat or electricity for buildings or industrial processes. Less than two percent of U.S. natural gas is used as a transportation fuel, typically for bus fleets. Natural gas is also used to produce fertilizer, paints, and plastics. The United States produces around 19.8 percent of the world’s natural gas and consumes about21.5 percent. Natural gas is most commonly transported by pipeline, which makes Canada the key exporter to the United States, while Russia remains the main supplier for much of Europe. Increasingly, however, natural gas is being transported by ship in a liquefied form (LNG) to meet greater global demand for the fuel.

Natural gas burns cleaner than coal and oil, with almost zero sulfur dioxide emissions and far fewer nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions. Natural gas releases almost 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and 43 percent less than coal. However, natural gas is still responsible for 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane (CH4), is also generated by the decomposition of municipal waste in landfills and manure from livestock production. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Capturing and burning the gas to produce usable heat and power prevents the methane from being released from the landfill or feedlot into the atmosphere directly.

[pullquote]Fossil Fuel Alternatives: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Despite current U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, several options exist to begin the necessary transition away from a harmful fossil fuel economy. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, vehicles, industrial processes, appliances and equipment is the most immediate and cost effective way to reduce energy use. Planning communities where people can safely and conveniently use public transit, walk, or bike, instead of using private vehicles, also reduces energy demand. Finally, there are several alternative resources that can supply clean, renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, including water, biomass, wind, geothermal, and solar energy.

War on terrorism and the failure of US public diplomacy.

Public diplomacy is defined as state sponsored communication that specially target the foreign audience/ the citizen of other country. US has been using the element of public diplomacy for a long time. The public diplomacy has unique feature to shape the opinion of the foreign audience and to create a receptive environment for state policy goals among the foreign states. When we talk about the instrument for public diplomacy one thing which comes in our mind is the use of soft power rather than the element use of military or coercive action which only creates hatred and feeling of revenge. The main motive of American public diplomacy for the achievement of US foreign policy goals and objectives. To enhance its national security, by providing the information, influence the foreign audience, to strengthen the relationship between the US government and foreign people of the other countries. US has its separate department under the name of US department of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in which communication with foreign audiences, promoting their culture, exchange program, scholarships programs like Fulbright scholarship program etc.

The attacks of 2001 on world trade center were the defining moment of USA foreign policy and it serve to create new interest in US public diplomacy. USA united massive portion of world in their support. Article 5 of NATO was invoked for the first time, which clarified that attack on any NATO ally would consider attack against all.

But we have seen that the US strategy on war on terrorism, invasion in Afghanistan in 2001 and in 2003 in Iraq for suspecting that they were involved in WMD had lead towards the failure of US public diplomacy towards the whole world especially towards the Muslim or the Arab world in Middle east region. A claim by the Muslim countries is made that this war on terror is not against the terrorist it is against the Muslims. Another claim by Muslims is that US always favor Israel, a Jewish state, not recognized by majority of Muslims yet. Most of the time Israel is supported by Palestine, we have seen that US is exporting weapons to Israel as well. A study has showed that the shocking death rate by the USA of its war on terror since 9/11 attack more than 4 billion Muslims has been killed in various states , like in drone strikes of USA in north Waziristan, which is creating anti American sentiments , which can convert the non-radical group of joining the militants. Drone strike are infuriating the liberal segments of the society who had earlier sympatric towards USA. A criticism made by rest majority of the world is that America always show double standard in their policies and practices. All the policies which they provide to be applicable for the rest the world is always in the favor of US rather than universal rights for everyone. Their foreign policies like intervention, interference are not like by Muslim world. Therefore we have seen that US is concerned about public diplomacy to answer the question that why do they hate us? US is spending 100 Billion in middle east countries, 150 million in Muslim majority and about 25 million is spend on entire Arab and Muslim world.

The imminent increase in the USA public diplomacy in the middle east has fostered after USA military actions in both the states(Afghanistan and Iraq). The US military exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq has shown to the world that only the instrument of military for getting victory in the war is not sufficient, the fight between the NATO forces and Taliban has been for about a decade ,but US has get any remarkable victory, there is still instability and anarchy which is a reality in Afghanistan. The war on terrorism has marked USA as an evil personality, its brutal military actions and policies are not appreciated by the Muslim as well in European states like France, UK, Turkey, Italy. As we seen that US used the tool of broadcasting during 2003 invasion in Iraq which also lead towards the failure, showing USA as an aggressive entity, can go to any limit for achieving its goals through military power. Although it was not new strategy by USA earlier it has its subsidized newspaper and launched Radio Baghdad to eliminate anti-communist propaganda.US also relied on Arabic language media for Iraq its target in gulf war. USA also has established other platforms for reforming its public diplomacy like Radio Sawa, an Arabic channel Al-Hurra

A consensus has been made that US public diplomacy needs a new commitment to new foreign policy thinking and new structure . USA is needed to clear that why they are fighting the war on terror and how supporting it is in the interests of others as well America. The other thing which is that US not only need to do for the implementation in its foreign policies but in some case foreign policy themselves. In responding the extremist Islamic , US policymakers require the better understanding of how global Muslim majority see the world and how they regard United States. Although as we know that USA has its tool of soft power as a statecraft , but this instrument has failed after the invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another tool for improving their public diplomacy is using the soft power, which talks about the changing the mind and perception of the people, like cultural exchanges and reforming the educational system in Arab world for changing their minds and hearts.

We have seen that the public diplomacy during the Bush era was failure because he focused only one thing, but in reality public diplomacy is a two way process, which involves talking as well listening.
In order to create the positive image of USA and rest of western world , one thing which they can use is the media. Media can play a vital role to pursue the public diplomacy . USA should support independent media in all the Muslim countries.

Jodat shahid is a student from Fatima Jinnah Women University.

Misuse of technology

Currently, there are many ways our society misuses technology today. From internet issues such as cyber bullying, copyright infringement, and cyber talking to an over dependence on technology, whether it’s watching too much TV or texting too much, and our society has a strong relationship with technology. Technology misuse is also not limited to the home, but is found in businesses and schools.

The big problem about technology misuses can be summarized in two words: culture and education. Some people aren’t sufficiently cultured to use technology properly as a tool because they use it as an easy way solution or as fashionable trends. Also, these people do not have education to use it correctly

Because of hundreds of services that technology offers, there are many techniques to harm persons and waste time. People use their time to harm others even though they know that it is not good. For example, people manufacture weapons to destroy others instead of improving themselves. People are actually concerned about misuse and abuse of technology. Society states that internet uses lead to intimidation or threat to people as well as allowing easy piracy by providing the infrastructure to illegal music or software downloads and plagiarism. Educational institutions are worried about student’s development in their classes due to misuses of technology.

 For instance, learners are using cell phones, playing games, and surfing on some pornographic web sites and other non suitable sites during class. Some students even start using cell phones at the age of ten. This isn’t a bad thing because many parents are both working and have to leave their children with a babysitter, so they need a way to communicate with their children. Nowadays, children not only want to have cell phones, but also prefer to have the latest version of it. If children do not have it, they might feel ashamed with their friends and prefer to leave their old-fashioned cell phone at home. Moreover, many late model cell phones have built-in camera and some people use it to record pictures or videos that may damage others reputation. But the excessive use of cell phone is wastage of time. The rate of crime is also increasing due to the use of cell phones. The excessive use of cell phone is harmful to human body which may increase the risk of cancer for cell phone user.

Because of these, some people say and think that the technology is responsible and it is not good for society. However, people have to understand that this is happening because of misuse of technology.

Most Unsuccessful even then Most Popular

It was 4th of Oct 1996 , A not very high profile tri series was underway in Kenya Along with host Pakistan and Sri Lanka was competing for trophy. Today Pakistan was playing his match against Sri Lanka at Nairobi. Won the toss and chose to field as they were best run chaser. Considering oppositions run chase abilities Pakistan aimed to a big target. So they sent him as a pinch hitter ,

Although he was included in the squad as a leg spin bowler to replace injured Mushtaq Ahmed. He was promoted to number three given the task to just hit every ball to improve run rate. He came to bat his every ball and fortunately kept on hitting and just over 6 overs completed his hundred.

It was a match which had not telecasted live on tv as people hear this news on television and read in newspapers he suddenly become a star for his fastest century world record. People wanted to see him playing he became a sensational find. In every match he played after that he was expected to hit only sixes even not fours. Despite his inconsistence play he became consistence team member on public demand.

He was not declared to be a good test player by experts due to his batting style but not only included in test team but later became captain as well, In all this course of time he did,t change his batting style, He has always been a reluctant test player and quit test captaincy in between test series against England.

When T20 games got popularity it had been considered his format ,he became it’s regular part but yet not produced any extra ordinary consistence performance in shortest format too.
This is Sahibza Shahid Khan Afridi,,In test matches played 27 runs scored 1716,wickets 48
One day internationals, played 398 ,Runs scored 8064,wickets 395
T20 internationals, played 98,Runs scored 1405,wickets 97.

He has played more ODIs and T20I then any other players in the world and his many of records are also because of his more number of matches. Most number of sixes, most man of the matches but he is also a cricketer who has most number of defeats as a player. Initially in his career he got popularity as a batsmen but his average score remain 23.5 in ODIs and 18 in T20s,later with consistent failures in batting he tried to establish as a bowler but he took less than one wicket per match in limited overs format. He was desperate to become captain but proved to be worst amongst all Pakistani skippers.

Shahid Afridi remained part and parcel of Pakistan cricket for two decades very few players are there in world who played for such a long time Javed Miandad and Sachin Tendulkar are also among them but these players have phenomenal records Shahid Afridi is might be only player who played for a ong time with such an average record. What’s the reason, when he was first batted in International match he was asked to hit just sixes,he never look back and never tried to change this game people loved his big hitting, he kept on playing for public and despite bad and inconstant performance never got out of team.

He remained always an entertainer more than a cricketer. Now this chapter is going to close although he is still doubtful about his retirement but ifnot today then tomorrow he has to quit .Many youngsters watching him wanted to be like him but no cricket guru will suggest them to play like him.