Federal Budget 2013-14: More business friendly than people friendly

I still remember my Economics professor’s words, “The political cost of economic decisions is the worst nightmare for the policy-making circles particularly political parties and this is what plays the most significant role in budgetary allocations.” The federal budget 2013-14 has proved this statement correct. With the new political administration at the helm of affairs, the situation is surely somehow different than the past five years, though not an ideal one. A short glimpse of the budget document clearly shows that the budget is more business friendly than people friendly. We find that the government has focused on fiscal discipline, development, power generation, political ...

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Budget2013: Research and Development in Pakistan

The initial prognosis of the recent budget by pundits is positive, with the phrase “business-friendly” or some other variant prefacing their every breath. While that’s an italicised development from past years, let’s hope there is a noticeable change in the fields of research, development and technology as well. To say the least, Pakistan has had its share of intestinal economic and political disruptions. Incessant wars, military rule, flogged bureaucracy and corruption represent some of the determinants of Pakistan’s snail-paced economic growth. Recognising these factors, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during his budget presentation speech invoked the word “development” 26 separate times, but ...

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Citizens of Lyari: Bloodied, miserable and begging for mercy

Ordinarily, Pakistan does not surprise me with the injustice that goes on in the country. I live in Karachi and am frighteningly used to instances of violence and bloodshed that the city is reputed for. The news, more or less every day, leaves me depressed, but for the past few days, my heart has been aching for what is going on in Karachi — especially Lyari. In four days, Lyari has seen the concentrated essence of what we call ‘Karachi violence’. Four were dead as of June 10 and 18 had been injured even before the sun set. With a ...

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What Anusha Rehman should do for Information and Communication Technology

PML-N has done well to appoint Anusha Rehman as the new IT minister. She has already been part of the national Information and Communication Technology (ICT) domain and what a marvelous opportunity she is looking at now – an opportunity to create thousands of jobs, help provide education, health and other government services at the doorsteps of millions of Pakistanis, increase software and services related exports by tens of millions of dollars, and generally catapult Pakistan to the 21st century! As an ICT professional, with 35 years in the field, I venture to say what the government should now do with ...

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When Intermediate students must fight just to take their exams

On Tuesday morning around 10am, with the sun in its full glory and waves of hot air making it impossible to stand outside, I was in the court room of the Lahore High Court awaiting my turn. As I stood there, I noticed teenagers, around 16-17 years of age, standing in the court room looking baffled. I wondered what reason had brought them here as this was certainly an unusual sight. My curiosity subsided when the reader of the court called out a case and a crowd, including these teenagers, paced towards the rostrum. These children were students of FSc/FA/intermediate, ...

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An eye for an eye: A death sentence to Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, life to another

Shahrukh Jatoi and Siraj Talpur, along with two others, have been given the death sentence today. The harsh reality of murder has just taken its form and reactions across the board differ. Many people are pondering over whether or not this really is justice served. In my opinion, it is. As cruel as it may sound, I not only agree with the decision made by the court but laud their valour to resort to such a decision. Many feel this may be another instance of judicial activitism but this is, unfortunately, justice in its raw form. Some may argue that the sentence is ...

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Pakistan needs more men like Mirza Ali

In 1856 when Mount Everest was definitively identified as the world’s highest mountain what began was a series of early Everest expeditions, mostly led by the British, which, in 1933, included efforts to deploy the British Union Flag on top of the mountain by flying a formation of aircraft over the peak (an expedition funding by a British millionaires, Lady Houston) Since 1921 Everest has had over 4,500 climber visitors from over eighty nations. And while the first female ascent of the mountain was in 1975 by Japanese mountain-climber, Junko Tabei and the first Pakistani to scale the Everest was a ...

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Drone strikes: For better or for worse?

Drones are effective; they kill the most-wanted militants, reduce operational costs, minimise collateral damage and President Obama calls them “legal”. So where is the problem? Why are they so widely condemned? Recently, a drone attack killed another militant, Waliur Rehman, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He was supposedly the number two of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) – the only organisation that Pakistan considers inimical to its interests. The TTP is a publicly stated enemy of Pakistan as it has mostly claimed ownership of suicide bombings and IED attacks which keep killing innocent Pakistanis. Waliur Rehman’s elimination, on the face of it, means Pakistan ...

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An open letter to the British Council

To whomever it may concern, I write this to you in hopes of finding answers to my queries. We have been informed that there was a breach in security of the Islamiyat and Pakistan Studies exams, outside Pakistan. Due to this, all students who had earlier written these exams, have to take them again in less than 10 days! Below is the new schedule for the exams: I would like to ask you what students have done to deserve this fate? Why should they have to suffer if the British Council was incompetent? Also, why has it taken so long for the students to be informed? If ...

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Being hooked on anti-depressants is no cure!

I was completing an internship program at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), where I came across numerous people suffering from various behavioural and mental illnesses. Their visits to the doctor revolved around getting a prescription of anti-depressants or relaxants to calm themselves until their next visit. I always wondered how a mere pill could treat a state of mind or a repressed emotion so easily. If you ask me, it seems quite odd. However, once I started practicing myself, it made sense — but only in the short term. Many clients came up to me with low levels of energy, poor self-esteem, obesity, hair loss, ...

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