THE HINDU EDITORIAL – July 11, 2018 is one of the must read for the competitive exams like SBI PO Mains , SBI CLERK Mains Exam, BOB PO Manipal Online Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or in Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up for your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

a) Deep state, deeper problems: Pakistan

Whatever their outcome, Pakistan’s general election scheduled for July 25 is unlikely to change four fundamental realities. First, Pakistan’s military-led establishment will continue to wield effective power, drawing strength from allegations of incompetence and corruption against civilian politicians. Second, civilian politicians will continue to justify their incompetence and corruption by invoking the spectre of military intervention in politics. Third, jihadis and other religious extremists will continue to benefit from the unwillingness of the military and the judiciary to target them as well as the temptation of politicians to benefit from their support. Fourth and finally, Pakistan’s international isolation and economic problems, stemming from its ideological direction and mainstreaming of extremism will not end.

The conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by an accountability court last Friday has set the stage for him to portray himself as the latest martyr for democracy. He has argued, as others have done before him, that he is being punished not for corruption but for standing up to Pakistan’s invisible government — the military-intelligence combine that has dominated the country effectively since 1958.

His supporters are willing to ignore the fact that Mr. Sharif’s own political career was launched by the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the likelihood that allegations of unusual expansion of the Sharif fortune since the family’s advent in politics are true.

Spotlight on the judiciary

The conduct of Pakistan’s judiciary in the matter has been far from judicious. The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar, views himself less as an adjudicator in accordance with the law and more as a super policy maker. He has expressed interest in everything — from water scarcity to running of mental hospitals and prisons. He has taken to touring various government facilities and has even created a fund for the construction of dams. The fund will receive public contributions because the Chief Justice knows the exchequer does not have enough money to build the dams he wants built.

None of these actions is part of a Chief Justice’s job description, even after recognising that some judges are more activist than others. Justice Nisar has made his political biases well known and the case against Mr. Sharif proceeded in reverse order. Instead of beginning in a trial court where evidence of his wrongdoing was established beyond reasonable doubt, he was first disqualified by the Supreme Court and then put on trial.

But perceptions and common knowledge of political corruption cannot be a substitute for following legal principles. Elsewhere in the civilised world, the Pakistani practice of accusing someone of criminal conduct first in the highest court and then demanding that they prove their innocence would be deemed grossly unjust. The fact that this happens only in political cases further strengthens the view that politics, not corruption, is at the heart of such ‘prosecutions’.

Moreover, the Supreme Court invited representatives of the Military Intelligence and the ISI to help investigate the money trail for Mr. Sharif’s alleged properties in London. This highly unusual procedure itself casts doubt on the real motives behind the former Prime Minister’s trial. The military-led prosecutions of politicians, even when their malfeasance is well known, helps the politicians in building their case that their political conduct is the source of their troubles.

Pakistan is, therefore, unable to hold the politically powerful accountable through its politicised judiciary. The cynical view of Pakistani politics would be that three decades ago the deep state advanced Mr. Sharif’s political career while portraying Benazir Bhutto’s spouse, Asif Zardari, as corrupt; now Imran Khan is the ‘chosen one’ while Mr. Sharif’s alleged corruption is being targeted.

Problem with this ‘narrative’

The military, which now refers to itself as ‘the institution’, has helped build a simplified narrative to justify its constant intervention in political matters as well as to explain Pakistan’s myriad problems. According to this narrative, civilian politicians are incompetent and corrupt, which is the only reason the military needs to periodically intervene to set things right. There is no explanation for how politicians would ever learn the art of governance if they are to be constantly corrected by unelected generals and judges.

Another part of ‘the narrative’ is the notion that Pakistan’s dysfunction and periodic economic crises are the result of the massive corruption by civilians. Imran Khan and his supporters have been advancing that simplified narrative. Their message finds resonance with those who want to believe that once kickbacks on large projects and their corrupt practices are eliminated, Pakistan would somehow become the land of milk and honey.

There is, of course, no justification or excuse for corruption but Pakistan has been ill-served with the ‘corruption is the only problem’ over-simplification. Since at least 1990, it has become an excuse to gloss over more significant policy issues that hold Pakistan back. Corruption has been exposed in many countries, from Iceland to China but none of them is as dysfunctional as Pakistan.

Limiting national discourse to a discussion of corruption makes it impossible for Pakistanis to discuss how jihadi ideology and religious extremism are leading to Pakistan’s isolation. Similarly, Pakistan’s slow growth in exports, for example, is hardly a function of corruption. It reflects low productivity and inadequate value addition which are consequences of poor human capital development and failure to attract investment, among other factors.

Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of population, has the sixth largest army in the world, and possesses one of the largest nuclear arsenals. Yet, it has the highest infant mortality rate; more than one-third of its children between the age of 5 and 15 are out of school. The country’s GDP on a nominal basis ranks 40 out of nearly 200 countries while its GDP per capita stands at 158 out of 216 countries and territories, according to World Bank data.

None of these facts, however, has found any mention in the election campaign of any Pakistani political party. Although Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have at least cared to publish detailed manifestos, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) published its manifesto on Monday, July 9, less than 20 days before the election. The party feels it only needs Mr. Khan’s charisma and the outrage against corruption or enemies of Pakistan to claim voters’ loyalty.

Economic woes

The anti-corruption enthusiasm has sometimes added to Pakistan’s economic woes. Pakistan is currently burdened with compensation payments running into billions that must be made to foreign companies whose contracts were cancelled as part of investigations into corruption of officials involved in awarding those contracts. But fighting corruption is a useful slogan if the deep state wants to avoid fighting all jihadis and does not wish to acknowledge the flaws of its national narrative.

It is ironic that Mr. Sharif faces jail ahead of an election that opinion polls indicate his party would win, if voting was free and fair, even as a long list of internationally designated terrorists is free to seek votes. That contradiction is at the heart of why the outcome of the elections is unlikely to change any of the fundamentals of the Pakistan crisis. If the PML-N overcomes all odds and still manages to win, the corruption cases will continue to cast their shadow. If someone like Imran Khan wins with the help of invisible hands, he would start his term under a different cloud.

Pakistan will, unfortunately, not emerge stronger after an election whose winner lacks credibility and whose loser is likely to initiate confrontation with the winner right after polling day.

b) Game at Chequers: the Brexit plan

British Prime Minister Theresa May is no stranger to controversy and rebellion. After the Cabinet met at her country residence, Chequers, she has found herself, yet again, in the middle of a political upheaval, which could either see her hand strengthened or send her packing from Downing Street. The controversy: while the Cabinet had agreed on a strategy on the kind of Brexit deal it would pursue with the European Union, some of Ms. May’s hardliner Brexit colleagues were unhappy. Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy, Steve Baker, resigned, followed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The Chequers strategy is not a final deal but will form the basis of negotiations with the EU. In pursuing a soft Brexit and insisting that the time for intra-party bickering was over, Ms. May has mitigated some of the economic damage from Brexit. The policy calls for a U.K.-EU free trade area in goods and agri-products based on a “common rulebook”, with the U.K. harmonising its tariffs with the EU in these sectors. The government said it would seek flexibility with regard to trade in services — Britain’s most vital export — and a deal on financial services based on “mutual benefits of integrated markets” and financial stability. This lower level of alignment with EU rules means reduced access to EU markets for the sectors. The Cabinet agreement proposes a “joint institutional framework” to interpret agreements between the U.K. and EU, with U.K. courts implementing the framework in the U.K., and EU courts in the EU. The agreement proposes that U.K.-EU disputes will be settled by joint committees or independent binding arbitration for dispute settlement. Perhaps most controversially, the document says the U.K. would apply EU case law where the common rulebook was concerned. Mr. Johnson, a Brexiter who nursed prime ministerial ambitions, said this would reduce Britain to the status of a colony, having to comply with rules it did not have a say in formulating.

It is unclear what the spate of resignations means for Ms. May’s tenure as Prime Minister. While the Cabinet proposal has been criticised by high-profile Tories for not having legs, several Brexiters, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, remain in Ms. May’s Cabinet. On Monday, following Mr. Johnson’s resignation, Ms. May met with Tory backbenchers and appeared to receive their enthusiastic support. As things stand, a vote of no-confidence appears unlikely. But there could also be a fallout from President Donald Trump’s visit to the U.K. this week. Positive news on the future of bilateral trade would give her a boost, but Mr. Trump has suggested he may speak with Mr. Johnson while in the U.K. For the moment, Ms. May’s position looks safe. But all this could change dramatically if more resignations follow.


1) Wield

Meaning: Have and be able to use (power or influence).

Example: “Faction leaders wielded enormous influence within the party”

Synonyms: Exercise, Exert

2) Allegations

Meaning: A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Example: “He made allegations of corruption against the administration”

Synonyms: Claim, Assertion  

3) Invoking

Meaning: Cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument.

Example: “The antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”

Synonyms: Cite, Adduce  

Antonyms: Waive

4) Spectre

Meaning: Something widely feared as a possible unpleasant or dangerous occurrence.

Example: “The spectre of nuclear holocaust”

Synonyms: Threat, Menace  

5) Intervention

Meaning: Interference by a state in another’s affairs.

Example: “The government was reported to be considering military intervention”

Synonyms: Involvement, Intercession

6) Temptation

Meaning: The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

Example: “He resisted the temptation to call Celia at the office”

Synonyms: Desire, Urge  

7) Ideological

Meaning: Based on or relating to a system of ideas and ideals, especially concerning economic or political theory and policy.

Example: “The ideological struggle that underpinned the cold war”

8) Extremism

Meaning: The holding of extreme political or religious views; fanaticism.

Example: “The dangers of religious extremism”

Synonyms: Fanaticism, Radicalism  

Antonyms: Moderation

9) Conviction

Meaning: A formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.

Example: “She had a previous conviction for a similar offence”

Synonyms: Sentence, Judgement  

Antonyms: Acquittal

10) Martyr

Meaning: A person who suffers very much or is killed because of their religious or political beliefs, and is often admired because of it.

Example: “She fought against racism all her life and died a martyr to the cause”

11) Standing up

Meaning: If an idea or some information stands up, it is proved to be true or correct.

Example: “Their argument won’t stand up to detailed criticism”

12) Judicious

Meaning: Having, showing, or done with good judgement or sense.

Example: “The judicious use of public investment”

Synonyms: Wise, Canny  

Antonyms: Injudicious, Foolish

13) Adjudicator

Meaning: A person who adjudicates.

Example: “The proposal to close the school will have to go before an adjudicator”

Synonyms: Arbitrator, Arbiter  

14) Scarcity

Meaning: The state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage.

Example: “A time of scarcity”

Synonyms: Shortage, Dearth  

Antonyms: Abundance, Excess

15) Exchequer

Meaning: A royal or national treasury.

Example: “An important source of revenue to the sultan’s exchequer”

16) Wrongdoing

Meaning: Illegal or dishonest behaviour.

Example: “Police have denied any wrongdoing”

Synonyms: Crime, Misconduct  

17) Perceptions

Meaning: Intuitive understanding and insight.

Example: “‘He wouldn’t have accepted,’ said my mother with unusual perception”

Synonyms: Insight, Percipience  

18) Unjust

Meaning: Not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

Example: “Resistance to unjust laws”

Synonyms: Biased, Unfair  

Antonyms: Just, Fair

19) Prosecutions

Meaning: The institution and conducting of legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge.

Example: “The organizers are facing prosecution for noise nuisance”

20) Malfeasance

Meaning: An example of dishonest and illegal behaviour, especially by a person in authority.

Example: “Several cases of malpractice and malfeasance in the financial world are currently being investigated”

21) Cynical

Meaning: Doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile.

Example: “Most residents are cynical about efforts to clean mobsters out of their city”

Synonyms: Sceptical, Doubtful

Antonyms: Optimistic, Credulous

22) Myriad

Meaning: Countless or extremely great in number.

Example: “He gazed at the myriad lights of the city”

Synonyms: Innumerable, Countless

23) Dysfunction

Meaning: Disruption of normal social relations.

Example: “Inner-city dysfunction”

24) Resonance

Meaning: The quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.

Example: “The resonance of his voice”

25) Kickbacks

Meaning: An amount of money that is secretly and illegally paid to someone in exchange for their help.

Example: “He is accused of paying kickbacks to a district official to win contracts with the school system”

26) Manifestos

Meaning: A public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.

Example: “He may fudge key issues in the Labour manifesto”

Synonyms: Platform, Declaration  

27) Enthusiasm

Meaning: Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Example: “Her energy and enthusiasm for life”

Synonyms:  Eagerness, Keenness

Antonyms: Apathy

28) Flaws

Meaning: A mistake or shortcoming in a plan, theory, etc. which causes it to fail or reduces its effectiveness.

Example: “There were fundamental flaws in the case for reforming local government”

Synonyms: Defect, Blemish  

Antonyms: Strength

29) Confrontation

Meaning: A hostile or argumentative situation or meeting between opposing parties.

Example: “A confrontation with the legislature”

Synonyms: Conflict, Clash  

30) Rebellion

Meaning: The action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.

Example: “An act of teenage rebellion”

Synonyms: Defiance, Dissent  

Antonyms: Obedience

31) Upheaval

Meaning: A violent or sudden change or disruption to something.

Example: “Major upheavals in the financial markets”

Synonyms: Disruption, Upset

Antonyms: Stability, Tranquillity

32) Insisting

Meaning: State positively and assertively.

Example: “The chairman insisted that all was not doom and gloom”

Synonyms: Maintain, Assert  

33) Negotiations

Meaning: Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

Example: “A worldwide ban is currently under negotiation”

Synonyms: Dialogue, Discussions   

34) Bickering

Meaning: Argue about petty and trivial matters.

Example: “Couples who bicker over who gets what from the divorce”

Synonyms: Squabble, Argue  

Antonyms: Agree

35) Mitigated

Meaning: Lessen the gravity of (an offence or mistake).

Example: “He would have faced a prison sentence but for mitigating circumstances”

Synonyms: Palliative, Exonerative  

Antonyms: Aggravating

36) Harmonising

Meaning: Make consistent or compatible.

Example: “Plans to harmonize the railways of Europe”

Synonyms: Coordinate, Systematize

37) Disputes

Meaning: A disagreement or argument.

Example: “A territorial dispute between the two countries”

Synonyms: Discussion, Argument  

Antonyms: Agreement

38) Arbitration

Meaning: The use of an arbitrator to settle a dispute.

Example: “Tayside Regional Council called for arbitration to settle the dispute”

Synonyms: Adjudication, Mediation   

39) Nursed

Meaning: Take special care of, especially to promote development or well-being.

Example: “Our political unity needs to be protected and nursed”

Synonyms: Encourage, Nurture  

Antonyms: Neglect, Hinder

40) Backbenchers

Meaning: A member of the UK parliament who does not have any official position in the government or in one of the opposing parties.

Example: “The advantage of being a backbencher is that you can speak your mind”

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