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June 2017

Jahangirs World Times Magazine
(June 2017)

A Glance at the Budget 2017-18

A Glance at the Budget 2017-18

On May 26, Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar unveiled the last budget of the current PML-N government. The budget depicts PML-N’s approach of promoting the development agenda, which includes short- and long-term measures for macro-economic stability, curbing energy crisis, infrastructure development, expanding communications network and improving tax collection. However, poor strata of society have also been given notable relief ... Read More »

Hekmatyar’s Re-entry into Afghan Politics, A ray of hope or a sign of dismay?

Hekmatyar's Re-entry into Afghan Politics

After being out of practical politics and absent from the national scene for more than twenty years, the leader of Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan and a former Prime Minister of the war-torn country, Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has once again entered the Afghan political arena. This move is going to have certain implications for Afghan politics. Although he is militarily weak, yet he ... Read More »

US, Hezbollah & Assad, The ‘love affair’ gets more entangled than ever

US, Hezbollah and Assad

The mayhem continues. Ceasefire appears to be a forlorn dream. Russia and Turkey might have done their part, but thanks to Mr Trump, the situation in Syria seems set for a topsy-turvy ride, again. The grandeur effect of the Tomahawks didn’t subside yet, and the US decided to strike again. On May 18, Trump launched strikes against the pro-Assad forces. ... Read More »

CPEC and the Future of the Multipolar World

CPEC and the Future of the Multipolar World

The world order is going through profound changes in transitioning from the Western-controlled unipolar system to the non-Western model of multipolarity, and the ongoing multifaceted friction between the opposing forces sums up the nature of the New Cold War. The US and its allies are struggling to retain their erstwhile dominance over global affairs, while Russia, China and their respective ... Read More »

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE IN THE LIGHT OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

KULBHUSHAN JADHAV CASE

On 9th May 2017, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a press release according to which India instituted legal proceedings before it against Pakistan with reference to its national Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav. With this official press release, the hitherto political and military discourse of India-Pakistan relationship was subjected to legal analysis, encompassing both international law and national law. This ... Read More »

The New Silk Road to Empire, The world is no longer America’s oyster

The New Silk Road to Empire

China is working to revive the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe under its transnational megaproject called the Belt and Road initiative. With a monumental US$900bn worth of planned investments to build railways, ports and other infrastructure in 65 countries along the routes, the OBOR is historically the biggest foreign investment strategy by any single country in ... Read More »

China’s Belt & Road Forum, What We Learned About China’s Intentions

Chinas Belt & Road Forum

President Xi Jinping’s “Belt & Road Forum”, the highest profile Chinese diplomatic event of 2017, concluded on May 15 in Beijing. It attracted 29 foreign heads of state and government and representatives from more than 130 countries and 70 international organizations. What did we learn? Firstly, though Xi is taking personal credit for the initiative, it is, in fact, a ... Read More »

MODERATE IRAN TRIUMPHS

Islamic Concept of Poverty and Zakat Poverty is unwelcomed in all economic systems, including the economic system of Islam. It is a major reasons for many socioeconomic evils. Like other developing economies, Pakistan is also suffering from poverty and income inequality. Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms revised national poverty line last year from one determined based on a calories-intake approach to that on the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) approach. As the new definition of poverty is based on a wider scale, therefore, it has increased the number of poor from 9.5 percent to 29.5 percent of the total population in 2016 (roughly from 20 million to 60 million). Comprehension of poverty from Islamic perspective is important to suggest a mechanism informed by the same perspective to alleviate it. The Islamic concept of poverty is quite different. Poverty is a purely economic phenomenon which may lead to sub-economic and social issues at micro and macro levels. The presence of poverty in a society does not necessarily mean that people have to be divided in social classes. There is the possibility of poverty even in a purely Islamic society and state (The presence of poverty has been recorded at the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and great Khulafah-e-Rashidun). In context of Islam, poverty is a test; Allah Almighty wants to test his creature. Thus, the deficiency or abundance of financial resources is one of the instruments on the basis of which we are tested. “We have distributed their livelihood among them in worldly life, and have raised some above others in the matter of social degrees, so that some of them may utilize the services of others in their work”. Nonetheless, poverty is an issue of immediate concern. It should be addressed on a priority basis at micro and macro levels. Islam encourages its followers to become earning hands.To work according to optimal capacity and sharing of productive knowledge is the religious responsibility of each Muslim man and woman. Islam approves of economic progress, and considers “lawful or righteous livelihood an obligation next to the obligations”. Notwithstanding all this, it is no less a true that it does not consider “economic activity” to be the basic problem of man, nor does it view economic progress as the be-all and be-end of human life. Majority of the population of the country is Muslim, however, people are less inclined to hand over their zakat to the government because of a ‘deficit of trust’ Islam recognises poverty as a multi-dimensional phenomenon and therefore, suggests multidimensional measures to prevent the causes of poverty at one hand and alleviate the existing poverty level on the other hand. At the individual level, it is the religious obligation of each man to work and become self-sufficient, while earning his livelihood. This is not enough, individuals are responsible for the livelihood of their immediate family members (children, spouse, father, mother) as well. This obligation intensifies the sense of responsibility, increases access to basic facilities such as shelter, food, education, healthcare, and reduces vulnerability of poverty. At the macro level, the provision of fundamental economic rights (food, shelter, education, and healthcare) to the poor and destitute is the state’s responsibility. Although, the government of Pakistan has initiated diversified policy interventions such as social safety nets and social protection programmes, microfinance programmes, ‘skill enhancement and vocational training programmes’ and zakat disbursement programmes to alleviate absolute poverty and improve the distribution pattern in favour of the poor, however, the desired results have not yet been achieved. Among these initiatives, the institution of zakat (Pakistan Baitul Mal) has a central importance. Pakistan Baitul Mal — the central institution of the country to collect zakat and disburse it among the poor and needy in different forms — had been established in early 80’s to ensure the flow of money from the rich to the poor as a religious obligation and combat poverty from diversified angles. Though, religious importance of zakat cannot be denied, however, the mechanism of zakat (collection and disbursement) can be questioned in many ways. Majority of population of the country are Muslims, however, because of the ‘deficit of trust’ people are less willing to hand over their zakat to government institutions. Though, Baitul Mal is functional since its inception but we don’t notice its significant and transformative role to graduate poor from out of poverty even at a minimal scale. It might be because either the amount given as zakat to recipients is too low or the use of zakat money is just for consumption purposes. We need to change the mechanism of zakat to make it a strong tool against poverty as per its divinely ordained importance. This may happen if the government can possibly link zakat with safety nets and social protection programmes. Many research studies show that poverty is not a monetary phenomenon and it cannot be alleviated by financial extension models only. Otherwise, Bangladesh should have alleviated poverty remarkably due to its historical and world renowned programme of financial extension services — microfinance by Grameen Bank. Islamic microfinance programmes if linked with zakat funds can yield a better outcome and can serve the true purpose of zakat.

After a difficult campaign, President Hassan Rouhani won a crucial second term in Iran’s presidential elections held on May 19. A high turnout of 73% helped him score a convincing victory over his principal challenger Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric, in the first round itself, winning 57% of the votes compared to Raisi’s 38.5%. In resounding victory of the moderate ... Read More »

Political System of Iran

Political System of Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a constitutional, theocratic republic in which Shia Muslim clergy and political leaders vetted by the clergy dominate the key power structures. Government legitimacy is based on the twin pillars of popular sovereignty and the rule of the supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution. The Iranian constitution outlines and defines the political, economic, and social ... Read More »