Stories about United Nations

I fell in love with Pakistani art in New York City

Pakistan has once again made headlines in New York City, but this time it’s for a good reason. Go Figureis a group show of young aspiring artists from Pakistan, showcased at Aicon Art Gallery in the East Village area of the city. The prospect of meeting Pakistani artists and art lovers in the city kept me excited for days before the inauguration. The show was exceptionally well curated, displaying highly imaginative illustrative, graphic and sensual work. Photo: Hassan Majeed Photo: Hassan Majeed On the opening night of art shows in New York, art-loving crowds ...

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Why has non-violent India become so violent?

India carries somewhat of a reputation globally as the home of spirituality and a champion of non-violence. The combined legacies of Emperor Ashoka, Gautam Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and many other renowned gurus and sages have left an imprint on the way India seeks to carry itself on the world stage and also to an extent how the rest of the world perceives it. Many seekers of wisdom and inner peace make their way to India, hoping to find a path to spirituality and enlightenment. Some succeed in finding what they were looking for, while others return with disappointment, disillusionment, and ...

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The one chant that India has been unable to gag; “Hum kya chahtey… azaadi”

Kashmir is back to square one; the killing spree has begun once again and there seems to be no way out. After killing approximately 120 peaceful protesters in 2010, of which half were teenagers, this year, the Indian forces have not only begun a killing spree, but a blinding spree as well. With the help of lethal pellet guns, introduced to Kashmir through British expeditioners who used them for hunting, they forces have ended up blinding numerous individuals.   If you are not already aware, the intensity of a pellet gun is monstrous – one shot sends nearly 600 high velocity lead ball bearings. At ...

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The only country ‘sponsoring terrorism’ is the United States of America

News is meant to be serious and, apparently, so are the legal proceedings attended by lawmakers. Unfortunately, in our country, parliamentary proceedings are exceedingly boring but funny; not because of the content but because of the kind of characters who inhabit our parliament. A great example is Shah Sahib’s sadness at the murder of Junaid Jamshed which sparked a round of hilarious memes. What tickles my funny bone even more is when lawmakers abroad have long discussions about something absolutely absurd or condemning actions which their country is itself involved in. A recent example of this happened last week ...

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The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?

Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed.    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...

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Dear PEMRA, why can’t we talk about sex?

As of 2015, Pakistan’s estimated population was frighteningly over 190 million. We are growing so fast that the United Nations estimates we will hit 300 million by 2050.  Now, I am sure some of you read this and thought, “Masha’Allah.” But the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) warns that we will start running into water scarcity by 2025. Yes, we are already overpopulated, and our resources can’t sustain our growth. In essence we are a giant growing elephant riding a tiny single-wheel cycle. Photo: Jusscope And this unicycle is going to fall, except we are told by our ...

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Changing maps will not mean Kashmir is a part of you, India

The Indian government wants to pass the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB). This bill will essentially make any map in India (ONE that does not toe the official line on geospatial information provided by the Indian government) illegal and liable to seven years in jail and a fine of up to a whopping billion Indian rupees. Predictably Pakistan reacted by shooting off a letter to the United Nations (UN) protesting that the official Indian maps show the disputed territories of Kashmir as wholly part of India, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). While one respects the sovereignty a foreign nation state, the provisions of this law ...

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Bohra men must speak up to save their daughters from female circumcision

The fatwa given during the Zikra majlis by Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin in favour of female circumcision dug up the wound that still exists in my heart and eventually made me write this post. Listening to parts of the audio clip leaked from the majlis, at one point, Saifuddin says what translates to English as; “It must be done. If it is a man, it can be done openly and if it is a woman it must be discreet. But the act must be done. Do you understand what I am saying? Let people say what they want.” The Syedna made no direct mention of ...

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This post is about Autism, but are you even going to bother reading it, Pakistan?

Last year at the Harvard Ed School we ‘lit it up blue’ for Autism Awareness. We had blue lights on the buildings and people wore blue shirts in solidarity. A lot of my focus while in school was on education in Pakistan, and so as I walked by and saw the sea of blue, I wondered what might be happening back home on this day. The State of Pakistan I found some articles about autism in Pakistan on popular online news outlets and magazines. I wondered how many people actually clicked on the articles and read them. Someone else had obviously ...

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I love the UN, but it is failing

I have worked for the United Nations for most of the last three decades. I was a human rights officer in Haiti in the 1990s and served in the former Yugoslavia during the Srebrenica genocide. I helped lead the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, planned the mission to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and most recently led the Ebola mission in West Africa. I care deeply for the principles the United Nations is designed to uphold. And that’s why I have decided to leave. The world faces a range of terrifying crises, from the threat of climate change to terrorist breeding grounds in ...

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