Will we ever see a nuke-free world?

Despite numerous calls and rhetoric to move towards global nuclear disarmament, no significant progress has been achieved to this day. Instead, all these efforts have met with a tragic end. The recent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report has shown a very dismal picture with regards to this. All nine nuclear states are currently in possession of 16,300 nuclear weapons, which includes 4000 operational ones. P5 countries, which include the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, are upgrading their nuclear arsenal and spending a hefty amount on the development of new weaponry systems. Though, we have seen a ...

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Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

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Here’s why Pakistan may not win this fight against the militants

After many rumours and false starts, and after years of requests from US officials, Pakistan has finally launched a major military offensive in North Waziristan, ground zero for militancy in that country. Extremist organisations use North Waziristan as a base for attacks on US forces in Afghanistan and to mount assaults on targets in Pakistan. The remnants of al Qaeda central, including perhaps supreme leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, have a presence there, as do Uzbek extremist groups, one of which claimed responsibility for the recent Karachi airport attack. Even Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who attempted to blow up Times Square in 2010, received training in North Waziristan. ...

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‘Metronomics’ in Lahore: We may be heading for an ‘F’

What brings economic progress to a country? Social scientists have argued for good institutions, trade-suited geographical placement, favourable climatic conditions, cultural homogeneity among a country’s peoples, and – lo and behold – even their superior genetic makeup. Yet, no sociologist has suggested relegating the laws of economics to history’s waste bin. Endowments of nature (such as those listed above) are important indeed, but their apt utilisation (good economics) is much more important. Fiscally speaking, any new project a public official decides to pursue needs a thorough pre-evaluation by experts. Economists have tools to compare a given project’s usefulness to other potential ones. ...

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Father – An orphaned refugee’s idealistic fantasy

An orphaned refugee, a remnant of the last jihad, writes a riveting and imaginative composition on the topic, ‘My Father’ – an idealised fantasy inked to paper in commemoration of an absent parent, a youthful escape into what might have been. Even though the writer never, seemingly, came to know his father, having been a mere infant at the time of the bitter separation, the writing vividly reflects the untainted aspirations of what a child envisions his or her father to be, particularly in the case of orphans and dejected children. The year is 1990, and the sun has already ...

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Were Pakistan’s 2013 elections really rigged?

13 months on, and the issue of electoral rigging is still alive and well. Many of us wish this were not so; that Imran Khan would just give it a rest and get on with his parliamentary duties rather than taking his band of merry men town to town, stirring up the same issue like a broken record. Quite a few also suspect that the purpose of his actions may not simply be the pursuit of justice or even electoral reform. For them, it seems quite logical to assume darker motives. Such speculation is eminently justified given the events currently unfolding in ...

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Pakistan budget 101: How comfortable does the future look?

Each family manages its affairs by assessing the financial health and consequently, deciding the expenditures correspondingly. Striving to balance between the present and future lifestyle, we all inadvertently end up ‘budgeting’ our lives to the best of our understanding. While we fail to criticise our individual budgeting misnomers, nonetheless, we anxiously wait for the honourable finance ministers to present the country’s financial outlay and shape our future every year. After all, the government bears the (ir) responsibility of our well-being, doesn’t it? Let us break the budget for the Fiscal Year 2014-15 in a crystallised form for us to pin-point the eventual impact ...

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A pilot’s perspective on the security lapse at Karachi airport

As a pilot, I’m often quizzed endlessly in great depth, particularly by those fearful of flying about how safe it really is to fly. My answer is always the same – you are the safest after take-off, having had already traversed the most dangerous part of your journey, that is from your home to the airport and onto the aircraft. Nowhere does this statement hold truer than in the terrorist metropolis of Karachi. My sole apprehension on every flight, in and out of Karachi, pertains to getting from Defence to the airport, and vice versa. And Sunday night, my ultimate fear ...

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Please God, kill my children before they are born

The midwife handed her the baby. She took the tiny thing in her arms and stared at him. He was beautiful. For a fleeting moment, she felt unbound joy. He was a part of her. He was… her focus shifted. He was nothing but a hungry mouth to feed like the eight others that awaited her at the house. Or if one could even call it a house. Two shabby rooms with a makeshift stove and a bathroom next to them was home sweet home. The ceiling leaked, the doors creaked while the paint was in tatters. Her husband had ...

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When will this society stop victimising women?

The recent incident of ‘honour killing’ has raised much criticism from activist groups both at home and abroad. The fact that this incident took place right outside the court of law (ironically the institution that promises to legally protect us all) and that too in front of an unwavering audience; truly shatters ones faith in humanity. What kills its last tether though is the very alert and apt police force present during this incident who refused to budge to the aid of this poor woman. Such a disgraceful act demonstrated by our own police force should be severely punished by the court ...

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