Iraq - Hanging by a thread

11:14 AM | 10 May, 2016
Iraq - Hanging by a thread
March 31 was a stark reminder that ISIS is not the only problem in war-torn Iraq. A state of emergency was declared when the protesters­­ led by the Shia cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, ransacked the fortified ‘Green Zone’ in the heart of the capital and occupied the parliament building. The walled enclave on the North bank of Tigris River was the only place in Iraq where the supposed 'democracy' in the country was visible. It was also one of the last remaining places where the government enjoyed some semblance of authority. The ease with which the protestors made their way to the parliament showed the extreme impotence of security forces and the deep-rootedness of internal divisions within them.

It is easy to lose hope on Iraq. The West’s dream democracy in the country has been confined to a 4 sq mile radius in the Green Zone. Ordinary Iraqis have seen little good coming from the long war against terrorism in their country, which has only resulted in more war and more terror. Rising unemployment and inflation has pushed more than 9 million Iraqi’s below the poverty line. Acute water shortages are not unusual and the national power grid is limited to only 5-7 hours per day of electricity, with shortfalls being met through the use of private generators. Corruption, mismanagement, and deep-rooted political disagreements have become the hallmark of the Iraqi government.

Prime Minister Haider Abadi, who enjoys an uneasy alliance with Iran and the United States, is fast losing control of his fragile government. His proposed plan to end the quota system, which is the need of the hour, is meeting strong resistance from militias and the leading political elite. Due to the non-existence of the private sector and rampant corruption, Iraqis depend almost entirely on the public sector for jobs. Unsurprisingly, the number of people working under the government payroll on mostly ghost projects­ has increased from 1 million under the Saddam Hussain regime to 7 million today.

Last year a parliamentary committee spokesman, Adil Nuri pointed out that $500 billion had been lost to corruption during the regime of Nouri al- Maliki between 2006 - 2014. The same committee last month identified severe irregularities in finances of the Defense Department, estimating only $20 billion had been spent on arms out of a total budget of $150 billion. The rest has seemingly vanished into thin air. All this has taken a toll on the treasury, and has saddled the government with a whopping deficit, equal to 25 per cent of the GDP.

Iraq-watchers cannot help feeling déjà vu. Even after his best efforts, Prime Minister Haider Abadi has been unable to avoid allegations of nepotism and political immaturity. His nominees for key ministries backed out at the 11th hour, raising questions about the rationale behind his choices. He further infuriated the Shia faction when he proposed Faleh al-Fayyad, an inept Dawa hand to lead the Foreign Ministry.

With ISIS controlling a third of Iraq, including the second largest city, Mosul, which is also a de facto state in itself under Northern Kurdish control, and the ever deepening fault lines between the Shiite and Sunnis, the idea of an independent and unified Iraq seems more out-of-reach than ever.

The nightmare scenario of Iraq's division is now an almost forgone conclusion becoming a reality. With more than $2 trillion spent in Iraq, 5000 servicemen killed in the line of duty along with 240,000 Iraqis, another perfect failure is on the cards for the United States. All three countries they invaded – Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq have consistently been named among the top 10 corrupt regimes of the world. Suffice is to say that in the name of ‘liberty and democracy’, the notion of Iraq­ as a sovereign state­ is losing, not with a bang, but with an agonizingly prolonged whimper.


Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 9 Dec 2023

Pakistani rupee remains largely stable against the US dollar, and other currencies in the open market on Saturday.

Dollar Rate in Pakistan Today

On Saturday, the US dollar was being quoted at 283.4 for buying and 285.95 for selling.

Euro comes down to 307 for buying and 310 for selling. British Pound rate remains unchanged at 358.5 for buying, and 362 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED witnessed slight drop and new rate stands at 77.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal remained stable at 76.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 283.4 285.95
Euro EUR 307 307
UK Pound Sterling GBP 358.5 362
U.A.E Dirham AED 77.2 78
Saudi Riyal SAR 76 76.8
Australian Dollar AUD 187.2 189
Bahrain Dinar BHD 755.82 763.82
Canadian Dollar CAD 209 211
China Yuan CNY 39.82 40.22
Danish Krone DKK 41.14 41.54
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 36.37 36.72
Japanese Yen JPY 3.41 3.52
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 922.14 931.14
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 60.82 61.42
New Zealand Dollar NZD 175.33 177.33
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.12 26.42
Omani Riyal OMR 738.71 746.71
Qatari Riyal QAR 78.07 78.77
Singapore Dollar SGD 211 213
Swedish Korona SEK 27.32 27.62
Swiss Franc CHF 324.5 327
Thai Bhat THB 8.08 8.23

Gold remains under pressure in Pakistan; Check today gold rates here

Gold prices witnessed negative trend in local markets in line with the trend in the international market.

Gold Rates in Pakistan Today - 9 December 2023

On Saturday, the price of a single tola of 24-karat gold stands at Rs217,600, and 10 grams of 24k gold costs Rs186,560.

Single tola of 22 Karat Gold price costs Rs199,465, 21 karat rate per tola costs Rs190, 400 and 18k gold rate is Rs163,200.00 for each tola.

In the global market, gold prices hovers around $2,004 per ounce, after drop of $23.35 on Saturday.

Today Gold Rate in Pakistan

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Karachi PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Islamabad PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Peshawar PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Quetta PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Sialkot PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Attock PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Gujranwala PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Jehlum PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Multan PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Bahawalpur PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Gujrat PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Nawabshah PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Chakwal PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Hyderabad PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Nowshehra PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Sargodha PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Faisalabad PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530
Mirpur PKR 217,600 PKR 2,530


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