Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

Is Pakistan ready for mock drills in malls and hospitals?

Imagine you are a cardiac patient lying on a hospital bed, waiting for a specialist to decide whether you are fit enough to undergo triple bypass surgery. All of a sudden there’s commotion and you see people running around and someone shouts, “Bomb, bomb! Run outside!” There is pandemonium everywhere. You see patients being taken away by hospital attendants, and you almost have a heart attack, waiting for someone to carry you to safety. You pass out and when you come back to your senses, you find out it was just a mock drill, carried out by “experts” to find out how the hospital ...

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Why is the jirga system being given constitutional cover in Pakistan?

As if we didn’t have enough problems of our own, the National Assembly has recently given constitutional cover to the jirga system which threatens to destroy the justice system in the country. I thought a system so biased against women would surely not find any support among the masses. I did some research and spoke to various people and discovered, to my surprise, that the jirga system is indeed very popular in those parts of the country where it is practiced. “Last year, a man killed my brother,” said one of my workers. “Going to the courts would have taken a long time and a lot of ...

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Can learning Arabic really prevent terrorist attacks? PML-N surely thinks so

I suppose it is reasonable to assume that the men and women in our National Assembly are mentally fit – people who think and act rationally. We elect them every five years, hoping that they will solve our problems and make us proud of being citizens of Pakistan. But then, one of them says something completely absurd which makes me want to bang my head against the nearest wall and regret not going abroad after I graduated (those were the days when it was very easy to get a US visa). I am referring to a female member of the ...

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Why has Pakistan not had a census in 18 years?

Now that the country will have a census after 18 years, doubts are already being expressed about the accuracy of the data that will be collected. Farooq Sattar, MNA and former Karachi mayor, says that the census should not be influenced by the landlords as the census commission is very close to the landlords and there should be no injustice with the people living in Sindh’s urban areas. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, the chief of the National Party and the incumbent federal minister for ports and shipping, has said that the census should be put off in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) till the four million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan ...

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Do you think you have done enough to end child labour, Murad Ali Shah?

Around 20 years ago, a relative of mine got into serious trouble when a European customer of his visiting Pakistan saw some children working in his factory. The foreigner immediately cancelled all orders and my relative had to wind up his business to avoid bankruptcy. In Pakistan, child labour is something that is considered normal and the laws dealing with it are very lax. In developed countries, forcing a child to work can result in severe penalties and imprisonment. But in Pakistan, even today, a child can be “sold” to work as domestic help and the punishment for this is a mere fine of Rs250, if ...

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No, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari, a simple apology will not do

After the harassment of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Nusrat Sehr Abbasi in the hallowed precincts of the Sindh assembly, Ms Bakhtawar Zardari has asked her party’s parliamentarian, Imdad Pitafi to apologise to the female lawmaker for his lewd remarks about her. Yes must apologise absolutely unacceptable behaviour & totally against ethos of our party that has been led by the strongest of women #PPP https://t.co/3BZAlvC4c6 — Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) January 21, 2017 We condemn vulgar and ill language of MPA #ImdadPitafi and #TaimoorTalpur against #NusratSeharAbbasi Sahiba pic.twitter.com/YM44PhTLHL — Sangri (@Sangrisaeed) January 20, 2017 Likewise #Jiyalas&Pak nation urges PPPChairman @BBhuttoZardari 2tke notice of #ImdadPitafi ...

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Are millennials doomed to failure?

At a wedding dinner recently, some people spoke disparagingly about the younger generation. “They’re too lazy”, said one. “All they do is peer into their smart phones and watch video clips,” said another. “There really is no hope for them now,” said a third man. So I thought deeply on whether the younger generation is as idle and useless as these older men portrayed. I know that when I started my career, those who were 20 years senior to me would laugh at my mistakes. “You don’t know how to work hard,” my boss would say. “A little bit of effort and research, and you ...

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Dear Imran Khan, you’re no better than Nawaz Sharif or Asif Ali Zardari

Those who consider Imran Khan to be a paragon of virtue say that he has never been known to misuse public funds. If you mention the discrepancy in his statements that the Bani Gala house was gifted by his first wife, then his about-turn on the issue, they say, “Oh, that was his own money, not filched from his hospital or from the government, like other well-known politicians are supposed to have done”. Even when you tell them that he ignored the findings of his own commission on the 2013 internal party elections, they say, no, no, nothing’s wrong, such things happen in other parties as well. But ...

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In Karachi, beggars help muggers and the police can’t follow the law

I saw him 20 years ago, perched on a stool outside the Sulemania Mosque in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. He had no arms and no legs, and was fair complexioned like most of the western tourists that throng Istanbul. I will never forget the huge smile he gave me when I dropped a coin in the box held by a little boy standing next to the stool. Behind him on the wall, hung the license issued by the government allowing him to make a living through begging. Perhaps such licenses are issued to beggars and those who beg without a license are ...

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Have you forgotten what India did to Nepal and Kashmir, Mr Ashraf Ghani?

We were not very surprised when you, Mr Ashraf Ghani, at the Heart of Asia conference in India, conveniently forgot how much Pakistan has done for your country. You criticised Pakistan viciously and blamed it for the problems that you are facing and are not able to resolve. You must have been a young man when the Soviet Union invaded your country in 1979 and ruled it for nine years. While Pakistan immediately condemned the invasion, along with most of the civilised world, India supported the Soviets. When most countries, including Pakistan, refused to send their teams to the Moscow ...

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