Free press should not be intimidated

First published in the Argus on Saturday 10th January 2015:

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo paid the ultimate price for their satire because humour can inflict deep wounds.  Their pen was merciless and Charb was not deterred by death threats.  No public figure has immunity.  Free speech and free press are pillars of Western democracy.  We must not be silenced by jihadists but neither should we play into their hands with ever more draconian legislation.  To read more click here.

Trade opens up a brighter future for Pakistan

Edited version of the article below published in the Argus on 6th January: Tool will aid trade routes.

The University of Sussex has developed economic trade software called TradeSift to improve trade between Pakistan, India and other emerging economies.

Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce, Mr Khalid Hanif, is experimenting with the tool while studying law at University of Sussex.

TradeSift allows countries to calculate their comparative advantage by identifying high value products that will sell well abroad.

Mr Hanif said: “When you have money in enemy territory, then you will not fight.”

Before the war in 1965 56% of imports to Pakistan came from India and there were 11 trade routes.  Now there is only one.


He explains that the diplomatic impasse is short sighted and unnecessary because Pakistan and India share culture, language, crop patterns, mountains and glaciers feeding the rivers.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was set up in 1985 to enhance trade and cooperation in the region.

SAARC consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sir Lanka with some observer nations.

Mr Hanif says: “Two countries have made SAARC a hostage: India and Pakistan.   Other countries are becoming a victim of Pakistani and Indian rivalry.”

TradeSift may be the beginning of a solution to improve diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan because trade brings prosperity according to Mr Hanif.

Dr Holmes said that the aim of TradeSift workshops is to get selected attendees together in “track two talks” before they end up meeting across the negotiating table.