Stories published in May, 2013

Baby 59: The newborn who was flushed down the toilet in China

They say there is no creature on earth like a mother frightened for her kids. The almost animal instinct to protect your offspring from harm is borne almost immediately inside a woman, along with her newborn. Whether it is an ape or a cheetah or a rat, all mothers are vicious when it comes to protecting their young. Yet, as the perversity of human condition would have it, not all vicious mothers are well-meaning. Every day the news bring cases that shake parents (and the non-parent reader as well) to their very core. Andrea Yates drowned her five children. Nina Koistenin, mother of ...

Read Full Post

Kalabagh dam: PML-N’s solution to our energy crisis?

Pakistan, after the elections, is once again faced with perhaps the most divisive political issue- the construction of the Kalabagh dam. One of the many expectations from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is to bring to life the Kalabagh dam; a subject that has been brushed under the carpet for a long period of time. So, the questions arise, will Mr Nawaz Sharif be able to address this issue through consensus among the provinces? And, will we as Pakistani citizens for once rise above our internal conflicts and work towards our collective development? It cannot be ruled out that the ...

Read Full Post

IPL6: Finally, it’s Mumbai’s turn

Lately, off the field controversies have stolen the limelight and it seems as if everyone has forgotten about the IPL 6’s final that took place on Sunday. This match was played between two of the strongest sides of the tournament; Chennai versus Mumbai. There was something peculiar about these two teams playing in the final and Lalit Modi’s suspension in the previous IPL stood witness to that. Though the rowdy crowd at Eden Garden had not forgotten this, it was as crowded and boisterous as ever. For Chennai Super Kings (CSK) the match itself was nothing new; this was their fifth ...

Read Full Post

The Gujrat bus tragedy: Children burnt to death in a country that just doesn’t care

Glimpses of mothers wailing, the smoke from burning school bags and the funeral of at least 16 innocent angels still haunt me. They lost their precious lives when their school van caught fire – an indescribably agonising accident in Gujrat. The tragedy hasn’t left my mind since and my heart still weeps.  We live in a country where bomb blasts and terrorist activities have made us collectively immune as a nation to the routinely-played episode of blood, terror and death. Every life is equally important, its loss, equally lamentable and its enemy equally reprehensible. But there is something immensely unsettling ...

Read Full Post

May 28: Remembering the bomb, forgetting the people

Today marks the best of days and today marks the worst of days. May 28 or as a true patriot would call it “Youm-e-Takbeer” marks the day when Pakistan registered its might in modern warfare and arsenal by successfully conducting a controlled nuclear explosion. Pakistan with its sensitive and strategic geographical location also became armed with perhaps the most powerful weapon (though there are some who still believe education is the most powerful weapon). Pakistan had the attention of the world and especially had its good neighbor, India, and our favorite piñata (minus the candies), Uncle Sam, up in arms. ...

Read Full Post

The IPL love affair — a poisoned chalice

Cricket’s reputation has once again come under the scanner. The latest scandal to have rocked the game occurred when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was in full swing, with three players of the Rajasthan Royals’ franchise arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing. That the IPL’s very survival is now under threat does not come as a surprise. Since its inception in 2008, the league has been plagued by financial irregularities, sponsorship rows and ownership issues. Lalit Modi, the man who conceived the idea of launching cricket’s version of football’s showpiece spectacle for clubs — the Champions League — has been ...

Read Full Post

Youth bulge: a ticking time bomb?

Over six decades of a perennially faltering economy? There has got to be something that Pakistan is doing wrong. I have found my country in an economic morass for as long as I can remember. While this issue invariably makes the headlines, it has assumed an unprecedented significance following a Unicef report that cites Pakistan’s youth bulge as one of the largest in the world. According to the report, more than a third of the country is aged under-15 and the number of people in the 15-49 age bracket will double by the year 2050. Though many countries might view ...

Read Full Post

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A must watch!

Set against the social and political upheaval following the infamous 9/11, Mohsin Hamid’s book is skilfully brought to life in the movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Instead of the somewhat stilted, ‘Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?’ with which the book starts, the movie launches straight into old Lahore (sadly, a Lahore recreated and filmed in Delhi, given the potential volatility of the subject), with an electrifying qawali. And very soon, images of the qawals’ paan stained uvulas are interwoven with disturbing scenes as an American couple on the street is attacked, the man roughly bundled into a car. The screams of ...

Read Full Post

Electricity woes: Is this KESC versus SSGC or Karachi versus Lahore?

We all expected it. We all knew that with the election of the Punjab government, Karachi would have to pay the price – like it always has. I don’t plan on venting my frustration out on Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), because honestly speaking, they have done a marvelous job, from not only reducing the electricity crisis tremendously if not eradicating it, to removing illegal hooks and providing free electricity to several hospitals and school in the city. KESC actually convinced everyone to follow an energy conservation program by running their air conditioners at 26 degrees and switching off appliances and not keeping ...

Read Full Post

Poor health care in Islamabad

Islamabad has failed to set examples for other cities in terms of providing better health care facilities to its citizens. Currently, there is an acute shortage of public hospitals to cater to the needs of poor patients coming not only from Islamabad but also from as far off as Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. In the rural set-up, the 14 basic healthcare units (BHU) and two rural health-care centres (RHC) are in pathetic conditions. All rural health centres, except one that was upgraded last year, lack basic facilities and are in a shambles. There are no boundary walls, no electricity or clean ...

Read Full Post