Raza Rumi, Daily Times

Raza Rumi

Daily Times

Ithaca, NY, United States

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Past articles by Raza:

The limits of populism

It has been more than fifty days since the creation of Naya Pakistan. The hype, the promise and euphoria among the voters of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) is now taking a more somber turn as the hard realities of governing become clearer every day. While it is true that the PTI government has inherited … → Read More

The state should engage with PTM. Dubbing it ‘engineered’ will not work

The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement has gained immense momentum in recent weeks. The well-attended rally in Peshawar (held on April 8) indicated that PTM and its cause resonate with a large number people within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. More surprising was the solidarity expressed by other parts of Pakistan. Since … → Read More

An outgoing senator has warned the political elites. Are they listening?

Pakistan People’s Party’s former spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar, in his farewell speech, created history by stating some bitter facts about Pakistan’s dysfunctional democracy. What he said is widely known but few say it and that, too, on the floor of the Parliament. This is why his historic speech will be remembered and will become a … → Read More

For Imran Khan, this is the time for introspection

After the Panama verdict in 2017 that ousted Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister, it was viewed by many as the boost for the fortunes of Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). Eight months later, it is unclear if the judicial knock-out of Nawaz Sharif has benefitted Khan. In fact, the Sharif brothers … → Read More

Asma Jahangir is no more — but her formidable legacy lives on

It will take some time to accept that Asma Jahangir has gone silent. That she is not at the centre of Pakistan’s political discourse. As a formidable and relentless fighter, Asma Jahangir personified the struggles Pakistanis have waged against executive excesses, shameful cultural practices and discriminatory legislation throughout the country’s history. Jahangir kept the torch … → Read More

Nawaz’s sixer?

Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif’s recent statement on the clear succession plan has killed many birds with the same stone. Amid uncertainty surrounding the future of democracy and, in particular, the fate of Nawaz Sharif, many pundits were of the view that an intra-Sharif conflict would facilitate the break-up of the ruling party. … → Read More

The relationship with US matters whether we like it or not

Despite the tough posturing by the United States and Pakistan, following the announcement of Trump’s South Asia strategy, both countries have resumed diplomatic engagement in recent weeks. The latest was the visit of US Defence Secretary James Mattis to Pakistan. While the divergence in their objectives and strategies continues, there seems to be a clear … → Read More

Pakistan’s democratic transition is derailed. Does anyone care?

Pakistan’s decade-old democratic transition is going nowhere. Ten years after the military president Gen Musharraf removed his uniform and paved the way for national elections, we are back to square one. Worse, the defective democracy today resembles the decade of the 1990s where political elites were scrambling for power in cahoots with the military establishment … → Read More

Don’t turn CPEC into another holy cow. Transparency is a must

There is no question that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a transformational endeavour but the larger questions of transparency and Pakistan’s commitments remain unclear. Beijing and Islamabad are in the process of finalising a Long-term Plan (LTP), spread over a decade to define direction and goals of cooperation under the CPEC framework. Earlier … → Read More

Civil-military tensions continue even after Nawaz’s ouster

Pakistan’s decade long democratic transition has entered into an uncertain phase. As the second elected Parliament inches towards the end of its term, civilian authority has eroded beyond repair. It is up to the democrats if they wish to regain some of the lost ground or would let this slide continue. The ouster of Nawaz Sharif in July 2017 by the Supreme Court on a mere technicality highlighted… → Read More

Govt is digging own grave by muzzling online freedoms

The ongoing campaign against digital media is an extension of the established patterns of how the state – including elected government – can muzzle free speech. Since January of this year, social media has been under attack. A number of bloggers and social media activists were picked up to investigate if they were involved in promoting blasphemous content. Now another kind of blasphemy is being… → Read More

Should we let the India problem ruin our ties with Afghanistan and Iran?

It is unfortunate to see something of a siege mentality developing in Pakistan's regional posture. For a country that is situated at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and China, this is an alarming strategic situation. And must be addressed most urgently. For it is quite unsustainable to proceed in the medium-term with difficult relations with India, Afghanistan and… → Read More

Threatening the regulators?

Recent revelations by Print and Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Absar Alam, made to representatives of the media, are most troubling. The Chairman stated that he and his staff were receiving threats from unidentified quarters. He even played a recording of such threats by phone. One imagines that the level of peril it feels must be severe indeed when the powerful… → Read More

Civil-military battles weakening Pakistan

A series of events recently have widened once again the perennial rift between Pakistani civilian governments and the military establishment. Let us examine some of the main flashpoints of the past few weeks. The Panamagate investigation already has the government jittery, as the media and opposition parties — especially the PTI — have been ratcheting up the pressure. At any given time, there… → Read More

Go Nawaz go . . . for an early election

The third term of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been far from smooth. Beset by challenges of governance and a strong opposition, he has survived and is likely to continue in office unless he opts for an early election. The opponents of PM Sharif are chagrined at his ability to sail through many a storm. But this continuity is not a bad thing for evolution of democratic process in a country… → Read More

An elusive victory

After a long wait and endless speculation, the Supreme Court has announced its verdict on the Panama case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Third time elected PM has once again survived in office. Two Supreme Court judges in their dissenting judgment found Sharif guilty of the charges levelled against him. This was a close call for PM Sharif. He survives. But the real question is for how… → Read More

Let’s accept what we have done to ourselves

The lynching of Mashal Khan by fellow students at an educational campus in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is a stark reminder of what we have done to ourselves. The barbaric violence by a mob and the inability of the police to prevent it has worried all thinking Pakistanis who have been hoping for a change in country’s direction after a brutal decade of terrorism and violence in the name of… → Read More

Blasphemer hunting must stop

The violent passions incited in many sections of Pakistani society by accusations of blasphemy were on display once again – this time in Mardan. Reports indicate that a student mob from a local university campus was infuriated by a series of rumours about certain students posting ‘blasphemous’ material online. The bloodthirsty mob turned its fury towards a student, 23-year-old Mashal Khan. He… → Read More

Syrians will continue to suffer as big powers play their game

We have been here before. US President Donald Trump's missile strike on the Shayrat Syrian Arab Air Force base in Syria has a familiar ring to it. Faced with historically low ratings and a series of setbacks in domestic politics, the US head of the state has done what his predecessors did before him: find a war to wage, appease the hawks and the military machine, and present an image of a… → Read More

Pakistan’s radicalisation problem begins at school

In 2010, Pakistan’s Parliament devolved education as well as the powers to set school curricula to the provinces. Many of us heralded this change, as till then the curriculum had been the preserve of central governments that successively introduced a constructed ideology into what young minds were learning. Seven years later, it is disappointing that except for minor changes, no province has… → Read More