While doctors in Punjab and Sindh struggle to make ends meet, K-P emerges as a heaven for doctors

“You sow in tears before you reap joy.”  The statement by Ralph Ransom, author of the book ‘Steps on the Stairway’, falls short when applied to the doctors of Punjab. They sow day and night for years, only to pluck disappointment and cold shoulders. Frustration, desperation, sweat and tears flood every corridor and hallway of every medical college. The story of a medical student in Pakistan trying to become a doctor can very well be compared to a person trying to make it to the end of the tunnel, only to find out that the light at the end is not the promised land ...

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As PPP dries up in Punjab, Firdous Awan looks towards PTI’s (hypocritical) greener pastures

In a recent development, the former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is not the first time Awan has changed her loyalties, as she had originally been elected on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket in 2002 and then joined PPP in 2008 just before the elections. Her most recent switch indicates two things. First, the claims of PTI of representing something new and of being a harbinger of change have little truth in them. Second, PPP’s fortunes in Punjab are grim and it is doubtful that it is going to make any impact in ...

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Is the road to development leading Multan somewhere else?

For centuries, Multan has stayed true to its reputation as the land of graveyards and beggars, heat and dust. Despite the sprawling mango orchards across the district, the terrain retains a semi-arid feel, a situation that only promises to get worse in the face of looming water scarcity and unscientific crop management. If tree cover in the country, in general, is significantly less than ideal, it is critically low in the Upper Indus Plain comprising southern Punjab. For decades, Pakistan’s ruling elite have favoured one mode of development above all else; build roads and prosperity will follow. From local politicians to national leaders, ...

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Imran Khan is and always will be the common man’s saviour and Pakistan’s happily ever after

As a nation, we Pakistanis are a romantic people. From our folklore to our cultural beliefs; from our personal relationships to our politics, we love a sentimental tale of love, strife and bravery. It is only fitting then, that our choice of leaders should follow suit. The love affair of the Bhuttos is example enough – from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s fiery charisma, to his daughter’s legend, we have proven an unwavering support of the lone warrior fighting for the greater good. As one light fades, another begins to flicker – Imran Khan charges into the arena, ready to slay all wrong-doers and battling for the ...

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But who will stand up for Balochistan’s Jibran Jogezai?

Muhammad Jibran Khan Jogezai first came to our house in Karachi somewhere in 2006, courtesy of his classmate and my brother, Muhammad Saad. He had a heart of gold, a handsome countenance, a million dollar smile, and laughter encompassed him. He was an instant hit across three generations of our family (the only one to achieve that) and we loved him. Today, he is no more. He was martyred in Qilla Saifullah, mainland Balochistan, over property disputes involving ancestral property. It was a gun attack, they say. Three bullets, furthered by a dilapidated road and hospital infrastructure, ensured that he was no more. Jibran was one ...

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Why honest policemen can’t survive under the existing Sindh set-up

The following is an old joke about the police in Karachi. The police chiefs of London, Tokyo and Karachi were discussing how they tackle crime in their cities. The London police chief said, “When a robbery occurs in my city, we solve the crime within 24 hours.” The Tokyo police chief said, “We catch the thieves within 12 hours.” The Karachi police chief responded with, “We cannot arrest anyone, as it’s our policemen who commit most of the crimes in Karachi.” In 1984, I visited a police station in Karachi to see someone who had been arrested. As we were talking, the phone rang and the SHO picked ...

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Why is breast milk being substituted with formula?

Human beings are probably the only mammals on earth not benefiting from the precious elixir of life – breast milk. The epidemic of bottle feeding, powerful marketing by milk companies and unjustified formula feed prescriptions portray breast milk substitutes as power packed energy sources. Moreover, everyone is looking to benefit from these useless powders instead of the precious gift of nature. Breast milk is the first form of immunisation for a child and it is a potent caloric source that is in accordance with the need of the baby with no risk of contamination and, the best part is, it doesn’t cost a penny. From ...

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Why framing Shia genocide as a sectarian conflict only trivialises the problem

One of the most important factors which determine the way an issue is understood, debated and addressed is the way it is framed in the media. Framing becomes extremely important as it affects the discourse, narrative, and ultimately the kind of solutions which are brought to the table. Knowing its importance, supporters and opponents of a contentious issue often try to frame it to their advantage. For example, in the US, the debate around abortion is often framed as pro-life by Conservatives. This is a very powerful and effective construct as it creates the impression that those who choose abortion are anti-life and hence ...

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If Jinnah never asked Ruttie to change her name to Maryam, why did you, Pakistan?

Those of us who were born before Partition know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, except perhaps a few broken sentences. His speeches were always in English, sometimes with a translator to make the crowds understand what he was saying. But sometime in the 1980s, the government dubbed all his speeches in Urdu, apparently under pressure from those who thought a highly westernised Jinnah would make today’s youth doubt that he wanted an Islamic state. One result of this is that an entire generation of Pakistanis have grown up believing that Jinnah was fluent in Urdu, and always dressed ...

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Roads and religion: How CPEC will pit Pakistan against itself

‘Exclusive: CPEC Master Plan Revealed’, read a headline this week in Pakistan’s daily newspaper, Dawn. Instantly, news outlets from across the world scrambled to analyse the text of the now-viral article and provided their own respective analyses of this said master plan. The two words themselves seem especially ominous, harkening to the devious plots hatched by cunning antagonists in the spy movies of old. The words, however, in many ways do justice to what was revealed. The plan includes details of leasing large tracts of land to Chinese companies for ‘demonstration projects’ in agriculture with similar concessions in land granted for the construction of ...

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