Zeeshan Shah

Zeeshan Shah

The writer is a Director at a leading advocacy institute and a radio broadcaster based out of Karachi. He tweets as @zeeshan82445998 (twitter.com/zeeshan82445998)

Sustainable development goals have to take centre stage for Pakistan at Davos

As world leaders prepare to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, it seems that the issue of building a sustainable future will take centre stage at the summit. This year’s theme for the WEF is “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world”, hence emphasising the urgency with which leaders across the globe need to address one of the most pressing issues the planet is currently facing. After the bush fires in Australia, volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, floods in Jakarta, mass burning of the Amazon rain-forest, famine in Zambia, water scarcity in Mexico and dangerous weather patterns in North America; leaders ...

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What does the future hold for PIA?

In the 1960’s, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was arguably one of the world’s finest air carriers. Today, it is a shadow of what it was, primarily because it has been cut down by persistent and elongated maladministration, negligence, nepotism and corruption. The current state of the national carrier is a far cry from its glorious past, where tourists used to write rave reviews regarding its staff, service and in-flight entertainment. Ironically, PIA also provided training facilities to several airlines in the 1980s and played a noticeable role in their start of operations, none more so than modern day ...

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Is climate change impacting our mental health?

Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to gauge the adverse effects of climate on human development. One of the many unfortunate facets of climate change that are currently being explored is the impact it has on mental health, particularly with respect to that of our children and future generations. Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in natural disasters, owing to rapid climate change. A non-profit organisation, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, looked at numerous studies and determined that there was a clear pattern which demonstrated climate change had resulted in weather related disasters becoming far ...

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Why are we not addressing the HIV epidemic seriously?

In April 2019, the media reported that there was a sudden rise in cases pertaining to human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) amongst the children of Rato Dero a small town in the backward province of Sindh. Unfortunately, this was only the tip of the iceberg.  During the next four months, a total of 30,192 people were screened for HIV, using WHO certified testing kits out of which 876 were found to be positive for HIV. Over 82% of those who tested positive were children. Dr Assai Ardakani, WHO Representative to Pakistan, speaking at an HIV awareness seminar, stated that over 85% ...

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Battling the human rights crisis in Kashmir 

It seems that PTI’s Kashmir narrative has, unfortunately lost some of its momentum on the international stage. The human rights struggle in Kashmir remains in limbo, as over eight million people in the region are still under a constant lock-down. The government’s policy in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has been slightly marred by the lack of a subsequent follow through. Meanwhile, the Indian government has revealed the hidden demons of a society which is polarised beyond repair and a government which is furthering the religious divide in the country. The nation, already fragmented over claims of atrocities taking place inside its own geographic boundaries, has to be held responsible ...

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How Pakistan failed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

On November 20 1989, the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ was adopted by the United Nations, leading to the day coming to signify ‘World Children’s Day’ across the globe. The convention binds together countries and communities, a testament and a promise which states that children have the right to survive, live and develop; should be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation; and reserve the right to fully participate in the community that they are a part of. Yet, after 30 years, there is a dire need to revisit those principles in Pakistan. Despite the fact that Pakistan is a signatory to the ‘Convention on ...

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Why is the government refusing to address the smog crisis?

A few weeks back in New Delhi, a climate emergency was invoked across the capital. Schools were closed and warning signs issued as the government activated a climate emergency. It was reported that many commuters in Delhi could not see beyond three to five feet ahead of them. Patients were brought into hospitals with acute respiratory infections and children wards were on high-alert. While the some equipped themselves with air purifiers and masks, a large segment of the general public on the streets continued to breathe in the toxic smog. Construction was temporarily banned in city limits as people with burning ...

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Should Karachi fear the sea?

On November 28th 1945, a deadly earthquake occurred 100 miles South of Karachi in the Northern Arabian Sea, triggering a Tsunami which resulted in the loss of over 4000 lives. Since then, no tsunami has occurred off the coast of Karachi, but the location of the city does make it susceptible to a host of climatic disasters, because Karachi could very well be in the path of a storm in the near future. Over the past few days a series of cyclones in the Arabian Sea have been presenting a clear and present danger. A cyclone named ‘Kyaar’ damaged several coastal villages earlier in ...

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Will we fight a water war inside Pakistan?

Earlier in the month, the news of Narendra Modi threatening to cut off the flow of water from India into Pakistan made headlines across country. But as justified as this outcry was, it does beg the question as to why we seldom raise a voice against the manner in which water is stolen and wasted in Pakistan. The cries for more dams and reservoirs have thus far failed to result in tangible projects, while elsewhere in the country corruption watchdogs have uncovered that certain influential landlords play a big part in the theft of water. There have been many media trials in ...

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Police brutality: Should we now fear the very people sworn to protect us?

While being tortured by the police, Salahuddin Ayubi asked his tormentors, “Who taught you these torture techniques?” Ayubi, who had been arrested for stealing money from an ATM machine, died in police custody two days after his arrest. Unfortunately, this case of police brutality is not an isolated incident. Pakistan has seen a troubling rise in the number of people who are not only subjected to police brutality, but also die as a result. With little to no action taken against these individuals and only muffled public condemnation, the police continue to carry out these practices with complete impunity. But will ...

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