Muhammad Shafiq Haider

Muhammad Shafiq Haider

The writer is a sustainable development practitioner with expertise in governance, policymaking and implementation. He holds an M.Phil in Public Policy with a specialization in Political Economy. He blogs at shafiqhaidervirk.wordpress.com and tweets as @SHVirk.

Take with you all that is yours

“What is it like migrating to another country for work?” I asked a middle-aged, growing old, worn out man. There appeared deep wrinkles on his forehead, deep like incurable scars. His eyes blinked, as if trying to capture the escaping moments, and he heaved a cold sigh. “What can I say?” He whispered in anguish. “I came here to earn just enough money, to run a home with dignity. A home with my parents, brothers, sisters, my wife, and our children, But I’ve increasingly fallen short of making that home, Let alone running it. Having spent some 15 years here, In this foreign land, Which is still foreign to me. I would say– If there’s no other ...

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The decline in Pakistan’s civil services is no longer a myth but a stark reality

Following the result of the Central Superior Services (CSS) exam every year, numerous analyses are raised, largely outsider points of view commenting on its so-called decline. Such run-of-the-mill analyses blame the dismal state of education in Pakistan, the faulty examination system, the indifference of fresh graduates in regard to joining the civil services, the constantly deteriorating quality of candidates as compared to the bureaucrats from yesteryears, (including those who happen to pass the exam). There is no denying the fact that the education system in Pakistan is constantly facing a downhill slump. Yet, this decline is often associated with insufficient spending on the sector, which to be honest, is misleading ...

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Anonymous

August 13th, 2005 Hello Baba, Somewhere between home and nowhere, I write to you yet another letter in my head that I will never send. But then my heart must talk to yours for me to go on. I arrived in Chaman couple of weeks ago. This is my beat. These days I work at a hotel at Chaman bypass near Bughra road as a waiter. Yes, as a waiter. It is essentially a driver hotel but all kind of travelers stop by to stretch on charpoys, rest a while and eat food. The place is spread over more than two canals, of ...

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In Pakistan, the reality of poverty is hidden behind inaccurate numbers

Credit Suisse insisted that the world lagged behind Pakistan in the rate of total wealth increase between 2000-2015. Surprised? According to a report published in October 2015, the total wealth in Pakistan has increased at the rate of 7.4 % between 2000 and 2015, whereas the total wealth of the world increased at an average of 5.2% annually over the same 15-year period. The total wealth in Pakistan increased from $170 billion in 2000 to $495 billion in 2015. Similarly, the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16 has claimed that the per capita income in dollar terms has increased from $1,516.8 in fiscal year (FY) 2015 to $1,560.7 ...

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Budget 2016-17: Reinforcing the same old Pakistani agricultural story – no improvement!

Imagine the trickledown effect on the economy of a country when its largest employer, absorbing 42.3% of the country’s total labour force, and the highest contributor to the national export basket (up to 73.1%) fails miserably! During Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the performance of the agriculture sector witnessed a negative growth of 0.19%. The growth of important crops (cotton, sugarcane, rice, maize and wheat) other crops (bajra, jowar, gram, barley, tobacco, potatoes, onions) and cotton ginning registered a growth of -7.18%, -0.31% and -21.26% respectively. But in view of random and arbitrary agricultural reforms and policy interventions by successive military and civil governments, this was expected sooner ...

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Why isn’t the standard of education in Pakistan’s private schools regulated?

A free school run by Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain, Dawes Lane Academy, has been closed down, simply because it failed to secure a suitable permanent premise. The school was opened last year on a temporary property after getting necessary permission from the Department for Education. Does that, in anyway, ring a bell? Private educational institutions today have become a billion rupee industry in Pakistan. A phenomenal growth in private sector schools between 2000 to 2014 has been recorded – an increase of 69 per cent, as compared to a mere eight per cent in public sector schools. This should not come as a surprise since not much is required to open a private school in Pakistan. Institutions offering ...

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He was one-and-twenty, but his circumstances failed him

It was a big day for Murad. He was finally going to sit in the classrooms meant for students doing Masters at the English Language and Literature Department of Forman Christian College, Lahore. This was something he had been looking forward to for the last four years. He had, in fact, not applied anywhere else and the admission committee was keen to know why. “This is my home. I topped university examination from this college. Besides everything else, I have an inexpressible emotional bonding with this department, for the mentors who groomed me, the friends I have spent four years with, and ...

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Dance with me, my love!

If you knew the world would soon end, And we both would perish, When this moment is spent, This jiffy would die and with it, Our spirits would burn and fly!   Would you care, my love, to dance with me, When we have time to dance, To the end of the sky?   Let’s dance, my love, Before dreams are lost, And longing is rusted, In our hearts and eyes, For the dead dance not, Nor ashes cry!   Before the lights are out, And the doors are closed, Wild hearts are muted, No more they pine and sigh.   Here! Before the world ends, Dance with me, my love! Dance to the end of the sky!   Or would you not ...

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The winged sculptor and his little fairy, a story of immortal love

There once lived a winged sculptor who pledged to devote his entire life to his only masterpiece. He worked on her every single day. She was all he had, she was all that mattered. And every day he worked on his masterpiece, taking care of the minutest details, breathing life into every limb. Every day he would look at her and fall in love all over again. One blessed morning, she stood in front of him with all her perfection, innocence, and ethereal charm. He smiled and smiled. Love erupted from him like a fountain from deep within. He picked the little ...

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Evolving traditions: Online bakra shopping and a ruined childhood

During Eidul Azha, Muslims venerate Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) utter submission to God, in his willingness to sacrifice his son, Hazrat Ismail (AS), when he was commanded to do so.  The “Festival of Sacrifice” is, indeed, a celebration of Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) steadfastness in his faith, as well as, an occasion for Muslims to renew their resolve to follow his tradition. Thus, Muslims sacrifice an animal on Eidul Azha. The sacrifice is commemorated by sharing one-third of the meat with the poor, while the rest of it goes to the holiday feast. That’s what the adults are concerned with. Children have always ...

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