Stories published in January, 2011

Dear PM Gilani, Pakistan’s fate is in your hands

Dear Prime Minister Gilani, I am delighted by your political maneuvering and how smoothly you have bailed out a failng government. It is smart of you to abandon personal and political egos, and pursue policy of reconciliation. The strategy has worked well and you have garnered support. You are still the prime minister of Pakistan. The fate of Pakistan is in your hands. I hope that your recent decisions were not just an attempt to save President Zardari or your highly unpopular government. Hopefully the MQM and PML-N have reminded you of what your priorities should have been in the first place. ...

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January 14, 2011
 Anam Haleem
TOPICS

United we stand, divided we fall

The tale of a woodcutter and two of his sons who fought all the time is a great example of how the woodcutter sought to teach his sons not to fall prey to the age-old tactic, of divide and conquer. It is a lesson well learnt by economic and military strategists, a lesson which unfolds one of the world’s greatest strategies to men who crave power. The woodcutter before dying passes on wise words to his sons “united we stand, divided we fall”, a clichéd term in today’s world. This statement has proved its worth throughout history. Man continues to fall ...

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Let a photograph familiarise us

They say a photograph is worth a thousand words. A single image is able to portray and capture raw human emotions and project it to a wider audience. Wars, natural disasters, sporting events have all become muses to showcase and highlight the extraordinary, resilient and inspirational moments of the human race. These moments have the power to evoke strong emotions which can prove to be the catalysts triggering political and social change. In times of war, a photograph has the ability to overshadow political speech. Whether it is Capa’s classic shot of the falling soldier during the Spanish civil war or ...

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It doesn’t matter if you’re ‘left’ or ‘right’

I have always wondered whether the characterisation of ‘’secular’’ versus ‘’religious’’ (with ‘’secular’’ equated with liberalism and ‘’religious’’ synonymous with at best, a quaint traditionalism and at worst, a form of barbarity) is an accurate framework for civic discussion. In his work titled Public Philosophy – Essays on Morality in Politics, Michael Sandel, the Harvard political philosopher, argues that all citizens should come to the public sphere and be allowed to use religious/moral and metaphysical arguments in public discussion as it has done much to tear down these simplistic dichotomies. The civil rights movement in the US was primarily a ...

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The cost of technology

Humans are exposed to technology on a daily basis. There is no doubt that it has blessed us in many ways and if it wasn’t for the wonders of technology, we would still be living in the dark ages. However, at the same time, it is important to maintain a balance. For starters, children are no longer interested in outdoor activities anymore. They would much rather be engrossed in their Play Stations and Wii. The culture of reading books is dying out. We would rather spend time watching TV and spend countless hours on the internet. Another important factor is the decline of ...

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Lessons from Britain: Where Pakistan’s ‘right’ goes wrong

Over a year ago, I was part of one the most exhilarating experiences ever – one of those transformational experiences that you keep learning from and growing through, well after they are over. If any of you have visited England recently you must be familiar with the rising surge of the anti-Muslim sentiment and the popularity of right wing parties there. Though the swing to the right is a global phenomenon, the resurgence of blatantly racist parties like the British National Party (BNP) in a country like Britain, with a heavy immigrant population, is particularly disturbing. In the current climate of ...

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Karachi in a body bag…

Way back in the early 90s, the operation against MQM had just started and life was almost at a standstill. I was a wee little lass of nine and in answer to all my questions, I was told that some bad people were out there killing others. I did not understand the dynamics of politics; “army operation”, “PPP” and “MQM” were familiar but meaningless words that were somehow involved in the havoc that was being raised. I felt afraid of Benazir Bhutto, who seemed to be somewhat responsible for calling the shots during a scary, unstable situation. There were endless strikes and ...

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What happened to provincial autonomy?

It appears that the decision to devolve some ministries to the provinces after the passage of the 18th amendment is now being resisted by the very parties and parliamentarians who had requested for it. I find it strange that provinces are not keen on getting provincial autonomy anymore. The key objective of the amendment was to remove the distortion made in the 1973 Constitution. Originally the centre could only keep a few departments, namely foreign affairs, defence, currency and communication. But having got the bill passed, members of five parliamentary committees have suggested to the Implementation Commission of 18th Amendment to ...

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Ponting, it’s time to hang up your boots mate!

There was a time when bowlers would shudder and captains would hold their heads in their hands as this man would walk in. Ricky ‘Punter’ Ponting was at one time the most feared one-down in the game. After the carnage left by the Australian top order, Ponting would just hurt the bowling side more. He would upper cut or pull with contempt anything short from fast bowlers, dismissing the deliveries with disdain from his presence towards the boundaries. If it was full, he would drive. Even spinners rarely stemmed the run flow. He was a majestic sight to behold, an ...

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Money 101: Getting down to business

If I was to do a spot poll and ask a hundred odd people whether they wanted to work for themselves or someone else, 95 per cent would choose being their own boss over job security and the luxury of forgetting about work when the clock strikes 6pm. But for every person who dreams of owning a quaint bookshop, a café by the sea or any other small scale business there are 10 others who will never get around to starting it up. Small businesses are the backbone of any economic system, often owned and managed by families, they continue ...

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