People of Thar have no food or water, but thanks for the free WiFi, PPP

Recently, the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) inaugurated the first free WiFi villages in Tharparkar. The project, which will cost $2 billion and is projected to be completed in 2019, involves the production of 660 megawatts of electricity through the process of coal mining. An investigative article published in The National Geographic in 2014 states: “Coal provides 40% of the world’s electricity. It produces 39% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It kills thousands a year in mines, many more with polluted air.” Even though WiFi has become such a necessity in today’s world, the question that arises is: do the people living in the villages ...

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Why politicians like Javed Latif use women to humiliate opponents

“Mein nahi kehna chata ke log jo batein is ke mutaliq karte hain. Woh kehte hain ke us ki do choti behenein hain unka Imran Khan ke saath kia taluq hai aur kyun ana jana hai, mein nahi kehna chata.” (I don’t want to repeat what people say about this matter. They say that he has two younger sisters and ask what relation they have with Imran Khan and why they visit him so often, I don’t want to say.) This statement was made by none other than Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif. The utterly filthy content almost made ...

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I recorded Imran Khan’s ‘phateechar’ comment and now I’m being threatened

In old times, there used to be an unwritten code of conduct about sending and receiving messages through emissaries across opponent camps, battlefields, and states. That code – “don’t shoot the messenger” – demanded that even if the commanders did not find the message to their liking, they must receive and send back the envoys of the enemy safe and sound. A modern-day revision of shooting the messenger is to point fingers at the media for presenting bad news about a favourite person, cause, or organisation regardless of how authentic or true that news may be. Experts of logic and ...

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Pakistan and Afghanistan are in a dangerous stalemate — with no resolution in sight

Last month, Pakistan suffered its deadliest spasm of terrorist violence since 2014. Over a period of four days in February, militants struck all four Pakistani provinces and three major urban spaces. The bloodshed culminated on February 16 with an assault on a revered Sufi shrine that killed nearly 90 people. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Pakistani soil since a school massacre in the city of Peshawar that killed 141 people, most of them students, in 2014. This killing spree has dangerous implications, not only for Pakistan, which has enjoyed a relative respite from terrorist violence over the last ...

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It is unreasonable to deprive students from the harassment law’s purview

In 2010, after an effective campaign led by the Alliance against Sexual Harassment (AASHA), Parliament enacted ‘The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace’ (PHWW). Little did people know that this statute would change the way we see, and often condone sexual harassment in our society. From a handful of cases filed in the initial years, the number of claims began to rise. Mostly women, but even some men, complained to in-house workplace inquiry committees set up under the law. These inquiry committees comprise three members chosen from the workplace itself. Their decision could result in major or minor penalties against ...

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Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices to its transgender community

Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices onto minority groups residing in its country. We all are aware of the recent violent acts that have taken place against the transgender community, all thanks to social media for spreading awareness on the issue. Donald Trump’s win as the 45th president of the United States has brought about many conservative and anti-human rights thoughts, which seem to retract the liberal and more inclusive laws set in motion by the former democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama ordered public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use bathrooms according to their chosen identity, further threatening to hold back federal funding if ...

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The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

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How will the Shariat court’s ruling on test tube babies help Pakistan?

On Tuesday, in a ruling that can only be lauded, Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court (FSC) elated numerous childless couples all over the country by validating ‘test tube babies’. The method is more formally known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which has been in use since the 70’s in other parts of the world and is now a common technique globally. Although it would be foolish to assume that IVF procedures were not taking place in Pakistan prior to this verdict, it is still heartening to know that couples will be able to seek alternative ways to have children with clear consciences and hopefully, a less judgmental society. In its ...

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Can someone in Pakistan please address the ever-growing elephant in the room?

The way a doctor needs to address a patient’s critical problems first, before evaluating the less threatening ones, a country too needs its public policy practitioners to tackle its grave issues before moving to its trivial ones. We can build all the roads, metro buses, and Orange lines as envisioned by the government ruling the centre, or we can start focusing on health and education as proposed by the opposition instead. However, there is absolutely no way to meet the needs of Pakistan’s people if the population continues to grow as it has been for the past seven decades. According to the 1951 census, West Pakistan had a ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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