Stories about politicians

Is Pakistan equipped to manage a natural disaster?

It has barely been a day and a half since earthquake tremors jolted all the major urban cities of Pakistan and our media’s super short attention span has already managed to shift to other so-called important matters. Have we not suffered enough of nature’s wrath in the last decade to be paying a little more attention to Pakistan’s disaster management capabilities? A few examples of such disasters that shook the nation as a whole are: the earthquake of 2005, the Balochistan floods of 2009 and the monsoon flooding of the Indus in 2010 and 2011. These disasters appear to have slipped into oblivion. The image of the debris ...

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Agro farm issues: Pakistan’s very own political FarmVille

Around the world, banks, leasing agencies and recovery firms are despised for the swiftness with which they come to collect on unpaid loans or breaches of contract. People complain about how their unique circumstances were not considered by the agencies when they appeal for leniency. Yet, at the end of the day, this is what keeps those companies ticking over. Plus, ‘borrowing’ something with no intention of giving it back is a form of fraud. Fortunately, so is providing loans to people who cannot pay them off. Unfortunately, while poor borrowers get punished, predatory lenders usually get off scot free. In December, ...

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What happened to being just ‘Pakistani’?

Today, my country, Pakistan is more divided than the subcontinent was in the 1960s amongst Hindus and Muslims. Today, people call themselves Balochis, Punjabis, Pashtuns and Sindhis instead of just Pakistanis; they put their provincial ethnicity before their nationality. People consider people from other provinces – who speak different languages -as their enemies; they forget that they all belong to the same country! Pakistanis blame the government for all their problems, but they refuse to consider their own wrong doings. They litter and then they complain about how dirty the city is. They bribe the police officers and then complain about the police force being corrupt. They carry guns and ...

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GI Joe 2: On censorship and movies based on children’s toys

Censorship. The worst enemy of intellectual freedom. The worst enemy of creativity. The worst enemy of an egalitarian, democratic society. And the best friend of the establishment. Censorship is why people in this country don’t know the history of this land. Censorship is why any reliable information construed as critical of Pakistan’s power players will vanish from the airwaves. Censorship is why Pakistan will not see the GI Joe sequel. The upcoming movie has been banned by the Pakistani censor board for its ‘fictional’ portrayal of Pakistan as a failed state and the also fictional theft of Pakistani nuclear weapons by Cobra. Max ...

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Letter to be signed by 100 people to the ECP

Justice Mr Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Chief Election Commissioner, Pak Secretariat, Block 44 A Shahrah-e-Iraq, Saddar Karachi ————————————————- Citizens’ demand ————————————————– Honourable sir, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has a historic opportunity to forever change the dark and disreputable politics of Pakistan. Free and fair elections will remain hollow clichés unless the ECP acts to purge the past violators and creates an effective filtration process for the future lawmakers. We, the ‘Citizens for Fair Elections’ demand that the Election Commission put an end to the eternal recycling of political sewage by taking the following bold steps: 1. Disqualify all fake degree holders: The ECP should order the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to ...

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A visual guide to the political circus in Pakistani media

Five years of democracy has meant a great deal of ups and downs for the free media. There has been a lot of drama, and occasionally some substance. Politicians returned from the wilderness into a completely changed world and had to adapt quickly. New phrases, techniques and protocols had to be developed and on most occasions, the result – apart from tragedy – was hilarity! Here are a few of the best trends that caught on in the Pakistani media. “Dekhein ghaltian tou sab se hui hein” (We’ve all made mistakes) The best of the trends came right at the start. Several politicians were ...

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Let horse-trading stop already

An influential clan of Ghotki has left Party A for Party B. Sons of a governor have decided to join Party C. Meanwhile, the swashbuckling chief of a youth-centred party claimed last November that he only needed youngsters, not big-shot politicians, in his party. That was after he had welcomed a battalion of such politicians during the course of a few months. Welcome to election season in Pakistan! The season when major political parties auction tickets for electoral seats to the highest bidder. Individuals and heads of parties negotiate the price of the former joining the latter, in terms of the number ...

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Brazil, Baldia and the importance of empathy

The nightclub fire in Brazil that claimed close to 250 lives inevitably brought back memories of the garment factory fire in Baldia. The sheer horror of it, the pain of the weeping families and the apparent negligence and mismanagement by the nightclub owners all brought back to mind the tragedy that occurred in Karachi on September 11, 2012. As with the factory inferno, fire codes had been ignored, emergency exits had been blocked and, in essence, the terrible catastrophe could easily have been avoided in Brazil as in Baldia. Then the similarities ended. Brazilian President Dilma was on a state visit to Chile and ...

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Pay no attention to me, I am just a Pakistani citizen

I am nothing but a pawn to be thrown around in a game I do not choose to play. Nothing I own belongs to me. I have surrendered it all to the chaos I call my homeland. Consider my cell phone. I pay a considerable sum to be able to connect with the people in my life. I part with hard-earned cash every month in order to make calls and send text messages upon my will. It is my security against inconveniences and possible emergencies. Yet, I wake up every week to news that my right to communicate via cellular networks will ...

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‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous. The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up. Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing. The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a ...

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