Stories about government

Forgotten veterans: This is the story of Allah Ditta

His eyes reflect long nights of toil, tears and sweat. His posture and grey beard is telling of his age. His ID card announces his name – Allah Ditta. He is a security guard at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi. As I draw near, he greets me with a warm smile. Behind this calm facade is a story of great self-sacrifice, of dreams unfulfilled, of expectations unmet and a life unlived… During the blood-stained days of 1971, Allah Ditta was 19-years-old. Overflowing with a blend of youthful valour and the love of his fatherland, he joined the army and jumped ...

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When there was a rat in the house

The family stood by like a nation. Mother was the intelligence. She knew all that took place – how many people entered the house, when they came in and when they left. Only she truly knew the quantity and quality of ration and what kind of sustenance was needed at any given point in time. She was also the government. Father was the army. He fixed leaks, changed bulbs and defended the territory from external threats. He was also the opposition. My sister was the media. She kept a strict check on the army and government. She was also the ...

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Is the PTI tsunami over already?

“It’s just a blast, not the end of the world” This statement, made by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ex-information minister Shaukat Yousafzai, on a suicide attack killing 16 people shows arrogance, ignorance and lack of experience to run a government in a stressful situation. It isn’t surprising, thus, that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lost badly in the biggest ever by-elections in Pakistani history. They lost both the seats vacated by its Chairman Imran Khan with Ghulam Ahmad Bilour emerging as victor of the seat NA-1 in Peshawar and Ubaidullah Khan Shadi Khel (PML-N) of NA-71 in Mianwali. Tragic news indeed for PTI. So, how exactly did they lose? Bad decisions: ...

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Five things Egypt can learn from Pakistan

Discussions over Egypt’s future have almost become a coffee table routine for many across the globe. Shock, grief and anger over the violence and death, combined with the fear of a looming civil conflict, has paved way for passionate discussions over the ‘legitimacy’ and ‘actions’ of various political entities in the most populous Arab state. As Egypt copes with a changing political climate and sluggishly works its way towards democracy, one wonders what external solutions can be offered to help end this unrest and instability. If Egypt wants to look at a fellow Islamic country for guidance, it should look no ...

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Sindh local government elections: Bureaucrats have no place in politics

The upcoming local government elections could provide an opportunity to address issues of governance in Karachi provided the local governance system is strengthened to compensate for the division of the province into a rural and an urban part.  A discussion on these issues is normally framed in terms of the political parties involved. Unless some structural issues are addressed, a change in political parties would only be a change at the margin. One of the problems with Sindh is that it is the only province in Pakistan where a distinction has been made between urban and rural areas. An unintended consequence of this is that ...

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I am Bradley Manning and you should be too!

As the sentencing hearing gets underway for Bradley Manning, who faces 136 years in prison after being convicted of 20 charges including espionage and theft, it’s hard not to feel that a travesty of justice is taking place. Here is a person who had made a commitment to serve his country and was put in a difficult situation of deciding whether to follow protocol and turn a blind eye to abuses and war crimes being carried out in his country’s name, or to do the morally right thing and bring the atrocities to light. Bradley Manning chose to follow his conscience, knowing ...

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Is there a solution to the Kashmir dispute?

The news from the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir is not good. Five Indian soldiers have reportedly been kidnapped and murdered by terrorists wearing Pakistan Army uniforms. However, the Pakistan Army denies any part in this. I believe that this action, like similar actions in the past, has most likely been carried out by the Jihadi groups who like to derail any process of rapprochement between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, this has caused tempers to flare across the border and the Indian establishment has sounded off against Pakistan and its support for terrorists. On the Pakistan side, the reaction has ...

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#ShiaGenocide is a reality, not just a ‘fab’ Twitter trend

Another sectarian attack in Parachinar. The infamous hashtag Shia Genocide, however, only lasts momentarily on Twitter before being taken over by more worthy trends like #replaceMovieNameWithSharamnak. A thoughtless comment by a random person inspired this post. “Why isn’t it called #SunniGenocide when people die in Parachinar?” Firstly, let me explain that genocide isn’t claimed by the Shias because it’s the fab trend these days, just in case someone was confused between gadget hype and reality. Second, genocide isn’t an award or laureate we’d all like to place in a glass showcase. It is the epitome of inhumanity which rages on caused by the efficient inaction ...

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When the Presidential election is more important than the Parachinar blast

Pakistan is a rather strange place. If you are unable to fast because you are unwell, you can end up with a black eye and maybe a few broken ribs. This is courtesy of our informal, yet thorough and self proclaimed moral police marching down the streets 365 days of the year; they are the ‘righteous’. However, if you want to join in the Ramazan festivities beware that shopping for iftar in a local market or going to a mosque may become a gamble on life.  The twin blasts in Parachinar yesterday, left at least 50 dead and around a 122 severely injured. ...

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Ibrahim Hyderi: Where children chew gutka and await their turn to eat

Enter Ibrahim Hyderi. From the foul and putrid smell that contaminates the air to the alleys upon alleys of shanty mud erections, this 4,000 year old basti (town) will leave you despondent. It has been deserted by the government, abandoned of literacy and polluted with all forms of abuse: child, drug and health. Its inhabitants lead a very dismal existence indeed. This crumbling and dilapidated town is home to a staggering 50,000 Pakistanis. As the rocking waves settle against the sweltering sun, a string of fishermen’s boats line the docks. The effortless beauty is deceiving for while Mother Nature may majestically ...

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