Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

Do not accept praise for healthcare when you cannot accept blame for a woman giving birth outside your hospital, Shehbaz Sharif

They want to attribute this incident to a developing country’s poverty, meaning that it is nobody’s fault in particular. But I believe it is appropriate and needed for the public to shake its fist at the administration that has failed us all. No woman should have to bargain for shelter and basic healthcare while in labour. But that is what Sameera Bibi had to do at Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital in Raiwind. Sameera, the wife of a humble brick kiln worker, was refused obstetric care because there was seemingly no doctor available at the facility at that time. Knowing Shehbaz Sharif’s history with ...

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Dear Centaurus Mall, forcing single males to pay a non-refundable fee of Rs500 is elitist and offensive

Centaurus Mall has once again fired shots at the lowly invaders of its ‘family-oriented’ atmosphere. I fear this will only get worse. Frustrated social media users have posted images of Rs500 entry tickets to Centaurus, applicable only to single male visitors. Unlike older entry coupons, these tickets are neither refundable nor adjustable with purchases inside the mall. #Boycott #Centaurus_MallAbsolutely ridiculous! Centaurus used to charge 300 previously which was adjustable. They're… Posted by Islamabad~~~Rain~~~Music~~~Walk~~~Perfect Combination on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 It appears that the management of Centaurus has done nothing that is not within the class-warfare guidelines of Islamabad – the face of Pakistan’s elite ...

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The oil tanker spill didn’t expose the ‘jahalat’ of the poor, but the inhuman apathy of the ‘educated’

One wonders if there’s a special hell for those who quickly assign blame to the society’s poorest and most vulnerable members in the wake of every catastrophe. A second oil tanker has toppled in Vehari, and locals have been found attempting to pilfer its fuel. This is uncomfortably similar to the situation just a few weeks ago, when over 200 people lost their lives trying to collect fuel from an overturned tanker near Bahawalpur. The victims and their families who beggared our sympathies, got caught in a storm of hostile opinions instead. Most disconcertingly, these opinions were all aired by the society’s most affluent and privileged quarters who ...

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Islamabad’s food is terrible, and posh restaurants cannot fix that

The people of Islamabad are deprived of good food, and as a Rawalpindi-based critic, I promise not to take too much pleasure in this declaration. We are all aware of our guests from Lahore, our undisputed food capital, being notoriously hard to impress with nearly any kind of food found in Islamabad. Islamabad is a young city, and has not had time to evolve its own unique cuisine and celebrated eateries as many other cities like Karachi, Multan, and Rawalpindi have done in the last 100 years or more. Islamabad, true to its modern self, has wholeheartedly adopted the global trend of ‘culinary gimmickry’. We are impressed by burgers ...

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Hong Du Noodles: Is this what good food is supposed to look and taste like?

Here’s what might happen when you walk into Islamabad’s curious new food joint on Hilal Road, F-11. You’ll find a grand total of two tables bathed in yellow light, in a space enclosed within quirky green, neo-oriental wallpaper. Both of these tables are occupied by Chinese patrons. One of the parties may immediately vacate their seats on seeing you, and offer you their table. You realise that these are the owners and operators of this proud family business. Seated at the table, which is neither lavish nor comfortable, you may ask to see a menu. There is no menu. The Chinese owner/chef/waiter, in a faded green ...

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Dear Pakistani universities, you cannot disrespect your students by infantilising them

We, the educated citizens of Pakistan, are concerned about the administrators of various universities and their obsession with the private social lives of their students, especially with regard to their inter-gender interactions. We are hereby compelled to issue the following notice, to address this disturbing phenomenon. To all university deans, chancellors, proctors, wardens, and administration officials, We thank you for upholding our long-valued tradition of lovingly blurring the line between an educator and a parent. In the light of the socio-political advances made over the past few decades, this paternalistic tradition has not only been rendered moot, but has become outright obnoxious. Parts of your campuses ...

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Benazir Bhutto International Airport: A nightmare that doesn’t end

Alas, it was only a matter of time before the “Worst Airport in the World-2014” would crawl back into news headlines by having female passengers assaulted on its premises. Are we dismayed? Yes. Surprised? Not at all. A hair-raising video has gone viral recently showing a woman passenger – a Norwegian national – being beaten up by a female Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) Islamabad. The video begins with what appears to be the person behind the camera arguing with the security personnel on why they aren’t helping a woman being beaten behind a screen. As screams continue in the background, a male ...

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The strange myth of America’s ‘humanitarian’ wars

In March 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a forgetful 71-page report, calling out Israel’s indiscriminate use of white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. No rhetoric of bringing the oppressor to justice was heard within the American halls of power, and no tomahawk missiles were launched the following week. The perversity of President Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes speaks for itself. It’s fair to assume that if Assad’s regime had been backed by powerful western interests, the latest unwatchable video of Syrian children suffering from the effects of chemical warfare would have invited the same response as Israel’s hawkish policies consistently do – Assad ...

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Why marriage is not for everyone

There are more routes to happiness than those identified by the social majority. It is time we acknowledge that not all of these routes transit through the terminal of marriage. Any discussion on whether a certain custom is right for you, must begin with an honest recognition of your primary goal. The goal is your happiness and prosperity, and nothing that any parent, uncle, aunty, friend has to say about it has any agency over your own awareness of what brings you contentment. Their counsel may be wise and worthy, but they have the disadvantage of not knowing you the way you might ...

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“People are dying” because of the bad healthcare system, not the YDA protests

You may put your mind at ease, because I will be singing no undue odes to the greatness of the ‘noble profession’ and all those who are a part of it. But there are more than a few reasons to empathise with the protesting doctors, a few of which I feel compelled to state. A recent blog on this site passionately listed the reasons for the author having no sympathy for the Young Doctors Association (YDA) doctors and their recent activities in Lahore. As a person who is closely linked with the medical community, I find it necessary to revisit some ...

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