Current Affairs (CSS 2023)

Current Affairs (CSS 2023)

Current Affairs Syllabus for CSS 2023

The syllabus of Current Affairs can be divided in the following parts.

  1. Pakistan Domestic Affairs (20%)
  2. Pakistan External Affairs (40%)
  3. General Issues (40%)

Part-I: Pakistan’s Domestic Affairs

  • Political: This section covers political history of Pakistan, democratic process in Pakistan, comparison of democratic and military regimes, constitutional crisis in Pakistan, salient features of the constitution of 1956, 1962, 1973 and subsequent constitutional amendments.
  • Economic: This section covers economic history of Pakistan, current economic situation, performance of important sectors of economy .g. agriculture, manufacturing, services sector, trade imbalance, future of economy of Pakistan.
  • Social: This section focuses on areas like poverty, unemployment and its impact on society, terrorism and extremism in Pakistan and how to curtail it, social stratification, women development, etc.

In Current Affairs paper, facts and figures on economy, energy, etc., would fetch additional marks. Drawing diagrams, where necessary, would also benefit you. This does not, at all, mean that one should start the answer of a question on terrorism by sketching weapons and bullets. Having a fair idea of how to draw the World Map, Map of Pakistan and of South Asia would be beneficial.

Muhammad Musa Ali Bukhari, PAS

Part-II: Pakistan’s External Affairs

  • Pakistan’s relations with neighbours (India, China, Afghanistan, Russia): Important areas to cover in this segment include are; water issues with India, trade with India and challenges, Indus Water Treaty (IWT), history and future of Pak-India relationship, the history of Pakistan-China relationship, China Pakistan Economic Corrrdor (CPEC), impact of CPEC on the economy of Pakistan, pros and cons of CPEC, challenges regarding CPEC, the history of Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship, Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship in the backdrop of war on terror (post 9/11 scenario), the future of Pakistan-Afghan relationship, the history of Pak-Russia relationship (in context of the Cold War), Afghanistan-Pakistan water agreement, Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process, CPEC and changing geo-politics viz-a-viz Pak-Russia relationship, new strategic relationship between Pakistan and Russia and the future of Pak-Russia relations.
  • Pakistan relations with the United States: History of Pak-US relations, pros and cons of a long-term engagement with US, Pak-US relations in post 9/11 scenario, Pak-US relations under Trump and Biden regime.
  • Pakistan’s relations with regional and international organizations: This includes the United Nations (UN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Focus on the role of UN in resolving issues related to Pakistan/South Asia. Pakistan’s contribution to the UN especially peacekeeping missions, India’s bid regarding permanent membership of UNSC and challenges for Pakistan, SAARC and its role, making SAARC an effective regional organization, ECO and its role in regional politics, role of OIC and challenges and reasons for failure in the uniting the Muslim world, OIC and the Middle-East crisis, WTO: function of WTO, various bodies of WTO, agreements under WTO, impact of WTO on world’s economy, WTO and Pakistan, impact of WTO on the economy of Pakistan, FATF and Pakistan: the impact of being in the ‘Grey list’, the role and remit of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pandemic.
  • Pakistan’s relations with the Muslim world (Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey): This includes the history of their relationships, Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, CPEC and its impact on Pak-Iran relations, future prospects of Pak-Iran relations, the recent Turkey-Pakistan increasing defense ties.

Part- Ill: Global Issues

  • International security: Threats to the international security, armaments, lingering issues posing threat to global peace
  • International political economy: The capitalism and its future, mercantilism. North-South divide, the role of IMF and the World Bank, commonalities in the social, political and economic structures of developing countries.
  • Human rights: Human rights violations in the world, the role of the western countries and the UN in prevention human rights violations
  • Environmental issues: The global warming, Kyoto protocol, Paris Climate Agreement, global warming and its impact on Pakistan.
  • Terrorism and counter-terrorism: Global war on terrorism, impact of GWOT on social, economic and political aspects of Pakistan, AF-PAK policy and its critical analysis.
  • Global energy politics: The current oil price and their impact on the instability of the Middle-East region, Petro wars in the Middle-East region.
  • Nuclear Proliferation and Security: the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the nuclear deterrence in South Asia, Pakistan’s stance on NPT, the comparison of Pakistan and India nuclear and ballistic missile program and capability, Cold Start doctrine and Pakistan’s response.
  • Cooperation and Competition in Arabian Sea, Indian and Pacific Oceans: Gwadar Port and its significance and challenges, China’s string of pearls, China’s growing  influence in South China Sea and Indian Ocean.
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): The details of MDGs, analysis of the implementation of MDGs, how successful has MDGs implementation been, Pakistan and implementation of MDGs, the challenges in the way of MDGs and way forward, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Globalization: What is globalization, factors ‘behind globalization, positive and negative aspects of globalization, impacts of globalization on social, cultural, economic and political aspects of Pakistan, Globalization and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Middle East Crisis: Arab spring, the roots of Middle-East crisis, external and internal factors precipitation, impact of Middle-East crisis on Pakistan, the role of middle powers in the Middle East imbroglio.
  • Kashmir Issue: Historical background, the UN resolutions, Kashmir’s status after 5th August 2019, hindrances and steps taken so far in resolving the issue, Pakistan’s new political map.
  • Palestine Issue: History of Palestine issues, the Arab-Israel wars, impact of new Israeli settlements on Palestine conflict, steps taken for resolution of Palestine issue, Trump’s peace plan on Palestine, Israel’s relations in the Muslim countries and impacts on Pakistan, the challenges in the way of peaceful settlement of the Palestine issue.

Current Affairs: CSS Past Papers Analysis

I. Pakistan Domestic Affairs

  1. Give a critical review of Pakistan Energy Policy 2013-2018. (CSS 2019)
  2. How can the corruption elimination strategy be made part of governance system of Pakistan? (CSS 2019) (CSS 2014)
  3. Highlight the role of National Action Plan (NAP) in stabilization of internal security of Pakistan. Critically analyze its outcomes. (CSS 2017)
  4. Discuss in detail the efficacy of counter terrorism measures adopted by especially with reference to the National Action Plan (NAP). (CSS 2016)
  5. What measures would you suggest improving the economy of Pakistan particularly in the areas of debt reduction and enhancing export capacity? (CSS 2016)
  6. Since 1970 every election was accused of rigging, what electoral reforms you will suggest improving electoral system of Pakistan? (CSS 2015)
  7. What is the role of education in character-building of a nation? Highlight major pitfalls in Pakistan’s education systems. (CSS 2015)
  8. Do you believe that main cause of 2014 flood was Indian ‘water terrorism’ or it was due to awful mismanagement of water resources in Pakistan? (CSS 2015)
  9. Critically evaluate the counter-terrorism policy of Pakistan and suggest measures to eradicate this evil. (CSS 2015)
  10. Critically appreciate the decision making in Pakistan regarding energy crisis in Pakistan. (CSS 2014)
  11. What is character-building? Assess the factor (character building) in education systems of Pakistan and give suggestions for improvement. (CSS 2014)
  12. How can the governing structures have the capacity to neutralize threats to internal security of Pakistan? (CSS 2019)
  13. Why was Pakistan placed on the ‘Grey List’ of Financial Action Task Force (FATF)? What are the implications and what measures should Pakistan take to move out of this list? (CSS 2020)
  14. Discuss the successes and failures of political parties in bringing about a meaningful change in Pakistan. (CSS 2013)
  15. Discuss the causes of extremism and militancy in Pakistani society. Suggest ways and means for the state organs to overcome these problems. (CSS 2013)
  16. Critically evaluate the causes of Energy crisis in Pakistan and its consequences for the economic growth and social fabric in the country. (CSS 2013)
  17. Discuss the impact of foreign aid on Pakistan in post 9/11 scenario. (CSS 2012)
  18. How can the energy crisis of Pakistan be resolved? (CSS 2012)
  19. Discuss issues in the higher educational system vis-a-vis 18th amendment in Pakistan. (2012)
  20. How the corruption be managed in Pakistan? (CSS 2012)
  21. How Pakistan can reduce foreign debt? Suggest mechanism in Pakistan economy to handle external perspective of Pakistan economy. (CSS 2011)
  22. What can be the strategies to reduce dependency of education sector on governmental funding? (CSS 2011)
  23. Give suggestions to manage political instability in Pakistan. (CSS 2011)
  24. Numerous political systems- Parliamentary as well as Presidential have been in vogue in Pakistan with limited success. Draft your own proposed but practical system that would result in good governance of the country. Stipulate the reasons and conditions for its success. (CSS 2022)

II. Pakistan External Affairs 

Topic 1: Pakistan’s relations with its Neighbors (India, China, Afghanistan, Russia)

  1. Critically Examine/Examine China Strategic vision behind ‘The Bell and Road Initiative (BRI)’ also known as One Belt One Road (OBOR). (CSS 2019) (CSS 2017)
  2. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered as a game-changer. How the CPEC can be helpful to uplift the Pakistan’s economy? Discuss. (CSS 2018)
  3. Explain the salient contours of the US ‘rebalancing policy’ and China’s assertive policy in South-China Sea and latter’s disputes with the regional countries. Critically evaluate. (CSS 2017)
  4. What measures do you suggest improving the security conditions of Baluchistan in respect to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the role of regional powers to sabotage it? (CSS 2017)
  5. Discuss the prospects and challenges to the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. How will CPEC become a game changer for the region? (CSS 2016)
  6. Examine China Strategic Vision behind The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR). (CSS 2019)
  7. Discuss the importance of Pak-China relations. How does this relationship effect political and security environment in South Asia? (CSS 2013)
  8. Discuss impact of economic development of China on World Order. (CSS 2012)
  9. Discuss the possibilities of progress under the recently agreed rubric of comprehensive dialogue between Pakistan and India. In your opinion what are major constraints at present? (CSS 2016)
  10. Evaluate the significance of water conflict between India and Pakistan in perspective of water management projects in Indian held Kashmir. (CSS 2014)
  11. Resolution of Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan can bring peace and prosperity in the region. Discuss. (CSS 2013)
  12. Evaluate the significance of water conflict between India and Pakistan in global perspective of climate change. (CSS 2012)
  13. If India is granted Permanent seat in Security Council; what can be the options available to Pakistan to manage the Indian Hegemony in South Asia? (CSS 2011)
  14. What will be the reason of emerging water conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan? (CSS 2019)
  15. Do you agree that Pakistan’s role in Afghan Jihad against Soviet Union was the root cause of terrorism in Pakistan or it is a reaction of US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 and Pakistan’s U- turn in Afghan policy? (CSS 2015)
  16. What could be the reasons of emerging water conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan? (CSS 2019)
  17. Discuss the current socio-political and security situation of Afghanistan and its implications for the neighboring countries. (CSS 2013)
  18. What is AFPAK policy; how to manage its implication on Pakistan? (CSS 2011)
  19. The 2021 Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan presents regional and global challenges. Elaborate on the anticipated policies of the Taliban government and the regional and global response. (CSS 2022)
  20. Propose prospective foreign policy options for Pakistan in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. (CSS 2022)

Topic 2: Pakistan’s relations with the Muslim World (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey)

  1. Discuss in detail the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and challenges to it. (CSS 2018)

Topic 3: Pakistan’s relations with the United States 

  1. Discuss the impact of AFPAK policy on Pak-US relations. (CSS 2014)
  2. Discuss the strengths of US to implement its economic policies worldwide. (CSS 2014)

Topic 4: Pakistan’s relations with Regional and International Organizations (UN, SAARC, ECO, OIC, WTO, GCC)

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges for Pakistan as one of the new members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)? (CSS 2018)
  2. Substantiate Pakistan’s role in UN peace keeping missions. (CSS 2014)
  3. Discuss the role of OIC, GCC, and Arab league in the Middle East Crisis and conflicts. (CSS 2020)
  4. Give recommendations to make SAARC an effective organization at regional level keeping in view success of European Union. (CSS 2011)
  5. Muslim Ummah has failed to unite under one roof. The leadership, their internal wrangling, and sectarian divide keeps them away from each other. No wonder the Muslim world is in shambles in their home countries, at the OIC level, and at international forums. Taking a tag from above, discuss ways and means to unite the Muslim Ummah with a pragmatic approach. (CSS 2022)

III. Global Issues 

Topic 5: International Security

  1. Discuss instrument of techniques of Hybrid Warfare in context of Pakistan? (CSS 2019)
  2. How can the governing structure have the capacity to neutralize threats to internal security of Pakistan? (CSS 2019)

Topic 6: International Political Economy

Topic 7: Human Rights

Topic 8: Environment: Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Accord

  1. Elaborate the reasons and impacts on Donald Trump withdrawal from climate change Paris agreement 2015. (CSS 2019)
  2. Discuss the adverse impact of climate change on the world and the measures recently adopted by the Paris Conference to address this issue. (CSS 2016)
  3. Elaborate the reasons and impacts of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Climate Change Paris Agreement 2015? (CSS 2019)
  4. What impact global climate change will have on the water resources of Pakistan? How will it affect inter- provincial harmony? (CSS 2020)
  5. Evaluate the significance of water conflict between India and Pakistan in global perspective of climate change. (CSS 2012)
  6. What is climate change impact? What are its implications on Pakistan? How to manage climate change in policy and practice? (CSS 2011)

Topic 9: Population: World population trends, world population policies

Topic 10: Terrorism and Counter Terrorism

Topic 12: Global Energy Politics

Topic 13: Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Security

  1. Now do the nature and possible prospects of US-Russia strategic nuclear deterrence change with the enforcement of the New START treaty of 2021? What could be the treaty’s implications on Pakistan’s nuclear program keeping in view its defense policy? (CSS 2022)

Topic 14: Nuclear Politics in South Asia

  1. Analyze the effects of commissioning of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), INS Arihant equipped with nuclear-capable missile called K-4 over the strategic stability of South Asia. (CSS 2017)
  2. The US-India in August 2016 signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will reportedly facilitate the two allies to use each other’s military facilities to check China’s growing influence. Comment. (CSS 2017)

Topic 15: International Trade (Doha Development Round and Bali Package)

  1. The US and China have been in an ongoing trade war since 2018. In academic circles, it has been argued that this conflict may as well be the Second Cold War. Critically evaluate the future world order with main actors such as China, Russia and the US. (CSS 2022)

Topic 16: Cooperation and Competition in Arabian Sea, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

  1. Critically examine the Donald Trump’s Policy for South Asia and its implications for Pakistan and the region. (CSS 2018)
  2. How the US is trying to keep its dominant position in the Asia-Pacific and what is the China’s response to it? (CSS 2018)
  3. The impact of burgeoning US-India strategic partnership over the security situation of the region and Indian Ocean Region. (CSS 2017)
  4. Discuss the strategic contours of Indo-US evolving partnership and how will it impact Pakistan-US and Pakistan-China relations? (CSS 2020)
  5. Strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific region is increasingly becoming intense. Define the interests and the role of US, China, India, Japan, and Australia in the geopolitics of Indo-Pacific region. (CSS 2020)

Topic 17: Millennium Development Goals, Current Status

Topic 18: Globalization

  1. In view of the evolving global alignments and changing nature of major-power relationships, what is the future of globalism and multilateralism? Discuss with examples. (CSS 2020)

Topic 19: Middle East Crisis

  1. What are the causes of ‘Arab Spring’? Identify their impacts on the future politics of the region? (CSS 2015)
  2. Describe the 2017 Qatar Diplomatic Crisis and its impact on the Middle East? (CSS 2018)
  3. Critically analyze the newly established Islamic Military Alliance and its future implications for the Muslim World? (CSS 2018)
  4. Critically analyze the US-Russia relations in context of ISIS and its impact on the security situation of Middle East? (CSS 2017)
  5. How do you see recent developments in the Middle East, particularly with reference to deteriorating relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran? What role, if any, Pakistan could play in reducing the tensions between the two Muslim countries? (CSS 2016)
  6. How will ‘Arab spring’ effect the political and security environment in the Arab World? (CSS 2013)

Topic 20: Kashmir and Palestine Issues

  1. Given the volatile lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir, what are the viable policy choices available to Pakistan? What can Pakistan realistically do to ease the sufferings of Kashmiri people? (CSS 2020)
  2. Resolution of Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan can bring peace and prosperity in the region. Discuss. (CSS 2013)

Topic 21: Extra areas:

  1. Examine the emerging strategic competition between China and the US and its impact on the global order. (CSS 2016)
  2. Substantiate Pakistan’s role in Commonwealth. (CSS 2012)
  3. Note: Poverty & Trade in South Asia and the role of SAARC (CSS 2022)
  4. Note: A comparison of leadership qualities between Xi Jinping of China and Joe Biden of the US
  5. Note: 2022 FIFA world cup and politics of the Arab World (CSS 2022)

CSS 2023: Tips to crack for Pakistan Affairs and Current Affairs Papers

Written by Waqas Rafique (46th CTP, PSP)

First thing you have to do is to read the statement of the question you are going to attempt again and again. Try to pick the essence of what examiner has asked and then answer accordingly. Candidates, in a hurry to answer the question, often do not get the central point of the question. As a result, they fail to produce a relevant answer. Read a question three times, at least, and then answer it. Never forget that the pattern of your answer must, in sequence, be: introduction, content body and conclusion. Try to give maximum headings in the content part. Try to avoid a single-word heading. Make it self-explanatory. For example, while answering the question ‘Why Pakistan is facing economic instability’, you may give a heading in the following ways:

  1. Poor Law and Order Situation
  2. Poor Law and Order Situation, the main culprit in hindering the Foreign Investment to Pakistan

Choose the second one, because it is more explanatory. The examiner will have an idea of your argument from this heading. This will save him from reading your content as he has already gotten the gist of your argument. Further, his eyes will catch any important highlighted fact you have written below your heading. This will facilitate him a lot; surely, to your benefit.

  • In introductory paragraph, present a brief history of the issue being discussed and relate it to the current scenario asked in the question. It should not be more than half a page.
  • Current Affairs and Pakistan Affairs papers are all about your analysis. Give maximum of that. The more your analysis, the more marks guaranteed. Your analysis should, obviously, be supported by authentic facts and figures.
  • You should highlight your facts and figures by underlining them with a pointer so that examiner may come to know about supporting data for your arguments.
  • Try to add quotations, flowcharts or diagrams in your answers; however, avoid inserting any unnecessary flowchart or diagram.
  • The conclusion is often neglected by the candidates and as a result they suffer a lot. So, your conclusion should be comprehensive. Try to give way forward of the issue you are writing on. Do have an optimistic approach in your conclusion.
  • In other words, it should be a happy ending of your answer. You can add a quotation as well.
  • Do not adopt extremist approach in your answers. Be the moderate one. Yes, you may criticize institutions, but be balanced while doing so.

Recommended Books

  • Pakistan Foreign Policy 1947-2005: A Concise History (Abdul Sattar)
  • Issue in Pakistan’s Economy, 2010 (Akbar S. Zaidi)
  • Pakistan: A Hard Country, 2012 (Anatol Lieven)
  • Government & Politics in South Asia (Baxter, Malik, Kennedy & Oberst)
  • Introduction to International Political (David Balaam & Bradford Dillman)
  • International Organization (Volker Rittberger, Bernhard Zangl and Andress Kruck)
  • The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times (Mohamed Elbaradei)
  • International Relations, 2012 (Joshua Goldstein)
  • World Politics: Trends and Transformation, 2014-2015 (Kegley & Blanton)
  • Pakistan Beyond the Crisis, 2011 (Maleeha Lodhi)
  • Globalization in Question, 2009 (Paul Hirst)
  • International Political Economy: Interests & Institutions in the Global Economy, 201 (Thomas Oatley)
  • Politics and Change in the Middle East (Andersen, Seibert, and Wagner)
  • Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb (Feroz Khan)
  • Pakistan and World Affairs (Shamshad Ahmad)
  • Current Affairs, Articulate Magazine for CSS exams

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