Stories about electricity

My top ten memories of Pakistan

Three years is not much time in which to learn about a society as diverse, complex, and fascinating as Pakistan. However, for foreign diplomats, it is a fairly long tour. As I leave, I wanted to share with the Express Tribune readers what I hope will be an interesting and unique perspective on this great country; on some of the things that we, in the American government, have done with our Pakistani partners; and, of some of the things I have most appreciated during my time here. 1. Viewing Mughal Architecture I have lived in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan off and on ...

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It’s mourning in Kashmir

My confusion regarding whether the explosions were Eid crackers or gunshots was short-lived; slogans followed the shots, which are a rarity in the uptown area of Srinagar, where I live. I rushed downstairs to hear my father announce that Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, had been killed in an encounter. My mother looked at me in a way that suggested she needed to hear it wasn’t true. I didn’t know yet. I quickly checked my phone and saw missed calls from my friends and fellow journalists. Sheikh Saaliq, who works with Hindustan Times had called. Kyah chu karun (what do we do). Between the shock and ...

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Government officials will fast in their air-conditioned offices and the public will face eight hour power shortages

I remember the times when power outages were rare. This was before the widespread use of air conditioners. Today, in every government department, air conditioners are switched on long before the baboos arrive in the morning. This is to ensure that when they enter their cabins, the temperature is not more than 20 degrees centigrade. These government officials, ministers included, want to remain cool so they are comfortable even when the temperature outside is 45 to 50 degrees. One doesn’t mind our bureaucrats and ministers enjoying themselves in their ultra-cool offices. But what they forget is that the electricity they use ...

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Will I ever find an incentive to keep paying my taxes every year?

As an employee who lives his life from one pay cheque to the next, I rejoice with the fresh set of energy that generates in the last few days of every month. Fortunately, I work for a private firm which follows a strict set salary cycle every month, compensating employees on a timely basis. The bank credit text message received every month, confirming my salary’s transferred into my bank account, contains a figure that translates into an immeasurable emotional elation every time I see it in my inbox. However, a significant portion of my salary gets chopped away in lieu ...

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Living in Quetta, the Amish way!

If I said that residents of Quetta live an almost Amish lifestyle, would you believe me?   “What is an Amish lifestyle?”, you ask. For those who don’t know, the Amish are a small Christian sect or tribe mostly living in North America and Canada. They are known for their simple and old-school lifestyle and can be recognised from afar by their clothes and appearance. Their men are usually attired in a suit and a hat while their women wear full skirts, mostly reaching to the ankle and may have their heads covered with a bonnet. If you have ever seen ...

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Pakistani Twitterati took on the #PetrolShortage and here is what happened

Already frustrated by crippling electricity and gas shortages, Pakistanis now have another crisis on their hands. This time around, Pakistanis are standing in mammoth queues just to secure a drop of petrol. The ‘petrol crisis’, as it is being referred, brought to light some interesting and entertaining observations on the country’s favourite government-bashing platform: Twitter. Three hashtags are currently being used to respond to the petrol shortage in the country; #PMLNpetrolchor was the top trend, with it being used over 19,500 times in the past 24 hours and #PetrolShortage and #SherBanoSher were each tweeted nearly 6,000 times since yesterday. We look at how people reacted: This @Reuters report ...

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After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

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Lahore: No gas to turn on the heat, so if I froze to death, would I be a martyr?

I woke up this morning and found out that, for the fourth consecutive day, there was no gas at home – none whatsoever. The stove fluttered to life for merely a second before going out and I understood that turning on the heater would be a waste of time. The equation was simple – no gas, no heat. I would have to resign myself to a cup of tea. I knew that as long as we have our electric kettle and chai (tea) – the answer to all Pakistani problems – we would survive. The key word here is electric, of course. There was no electricity either. And this ...

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From Peshawar: A plea to the government

Dear Leaders of Pakistan, I hope you are well and are busy overseeing and planning solutions for the many problems faced by our nation. Since you will, undoubtedly, be caught up with reforms rather than amassing wealth, as you have just stepped into office, I thought I should tell you a little bit about your awaam. As a dutiful child is expected to inform his parents about the changes happening in his life, I want to tell you about how we are living now. We, your children, have finally installed a generator at home. Despite living in a posh area of the capital ...

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Yes, thunderstorms in Toronto can take you back to Lahore

Pakistan is notorious for a lot of things. However, electricity shortage continues to stand out from the gruesome front runners that are security threats and economic disparity. These are the perfect ingredients to derail any sane mind but a Pakistanis’.  All hell may literally break loose in Pakistan, but pick any common person from a crowd and there is always room for more in the snake pit; for more morsels in their hearty appetites for despair. Maybe because they have no other choice. Maybe because they are built that way. ‘Human Play-Doh’ is what I’d like to call them. You ...

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