Stories published in April, 2013

The ban on Basant

The caretaker chief minister of Punjab Najam Sethi has apologised to the people of the province for his inability to lift the ban on Basant. Mr Sethi, who considered the continuation of the ban among the top failures of the last provincial government, has been able to do no better. To absolve his government from all responsibility, he has cited legal issues that his government faced. All those reveling at the possibility of Basant taking place this year must have been disappointed to hear the news that this would not be the case. Many people had started planning trips to ...

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International Day for Street Children: Make a child smile today

“So, what are you doing on the International Day for Street Children?” A simple question I asked around to get to know the opinion of people in my city. To my dismay, none of them knew about the existence of the day! When I told them about it, hardly any responded that they would be doing something nice for the improvised. A few even argued over the point of having such a day. They believed that it was a ‘lame’ concept of the modern day and found it ridiculous to attribute one day to one person. The difference of opinion and unawareness about ...

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Does your child deserve a lower grade because he is an introvert?

Our society consists of an extrovert-dominated culture and students usually realise this when they enter an education system. However, it is not until after their university life that they are able to grasp the true magnitude of this trend. Teachers endorse a societal prejudice against introverts by valuing and praising students who are more expressive, communicative and vocal. The general perception amongst teachers is that introversion is something that needs to be overcome. The attitude of students is no better; introverts are looked down upon and treated as if there is something wrong with them or that they are somehow inferior to others. I ...

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Terror on Facebook ‘Confession’ pages, from KGS to CAS

Rehtaeh Parsons was just 17. What could lead a 17-year-old to such a state that ending her life appeared to be the only way out of her misery? Cyber bullying, it appears. This case bears stark similarities to that of Amanda Todd’s – another teenager who took her own life early in October last year due to severe bullying over the internet. Both girls suffered from acute depression due to the fact that nasty rumours and compromising pictures of the two had been making rounds online. Teenagers can be cruel and intolerant. They can cripple your self-confidence to the point where you feel as ...

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When bureaucrats and the media can never be friends

Prior to the devolution of the Ministry of Health to the provinces under the Eighteenth Amendment, it was easy as a reporter to cover the health sector at the federal level. This was because all departments were working under one ministry and had assigned officials to coordinate with media-persons. However, after the devolution, things have changed considerably. The health sector at the federal level has split into eight divisions. Even after two years of devolution, it is still difficult to figure out which department is functioning under which ministry or division. Most of them do not even have spokespersons or media ...

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My fairy tale wedding

I stand over the remnants of tea and pastries, the window creaks open and the wind howls. How did this happen? I close my eyes and my mind takes me back a couple of hours, to the beginning of the evening. “Oh darling!” exclaimed my overjoyed mother, “You look so beautiful!” She circled my chair for the millionth time, brushing imaginary specs of dirt and creases off the jamawaar kameez I was wearing, and adjusting a curl or two. I looked at my reflection in the floor-length mirror; as miserable as I was I had to admit, I did look beautiful. Almost ...

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When Pakistanis can love Indians and vice versa

The India-Pakistan conflict has spanned decades, keeping the news channels on tenterhooks with every turn of events. However, while years of struggling to keep each other at bay have taught the two political arch-rivals strategies to abate tension wherever possible, the media in both countries has largely refrained from employing any peacemaking tactics. Newsmakers on either side jump at the prospect of magnifying any hint of strain in relations. Harping on how evil the other side has proved to be one of the most effective methods of attracting new audiences. On either side, reports are one dimensional, biased and indifferent to the ...

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PTI will declare a national emergency to tackle illiteracy

Illiteracy is one of the biggest obstacles to Pakistan’s social and economic progress. Literacy is a fundamental human right and is essential to social and human development. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve people’s health, income, and their relationship with the world. It is a national shame that Pakistan’s illiteracy rate of around 46% is creating a nation oppressed by poor life outcomes, such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, crime, violence and long term illness. That is why last year I commissioned international scholar Dr Azeem Ibrahim to research and put together the ...

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It’s about more than just a ‘fake’ degree

It is almost refreshing to see the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutinise politicians with fake degrees, unpaid bills and bank loans. While I am fairly certain that some of this scrutiny comes with a pinch of biased resentment, it is neither unwarranted nor undeserved. Those who lie, cheat and steal while entrusted with the future of the country lack the fundamental premise for being awarded political candidacy: character. Justice cannot and should not operate with the childish notion of “but he/she did the same”, the fact that a selected few have been let off the hook does not absolve the ...

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Let’s give Shaista Wahidi a break

Shaista Wahidi, sometimes referred to as Dr Shaista or Shaista Lodhi is Sahir Lodhi’s sister. The brother-sister duo have a way of ruffling both the wrong feathers and the right ones; they can be called ‘famous’ or ‘infamous’. Shaista is one of Pakistani television’s most known faces. People have loved her and have been irritated by her simultaneously, but have not been able to ignore her. We have talked about her antics, her typical laughter in which she covers her face with her hand, her metamorphosis in how her face looks and have broken her down multiple times. One of the most ...

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