Stories published in May, 2019

From Nashwa’s death to doctors spreading HIV, what is happening to Pakistan’s healthcare?

“Primum non nocere.”  (First, to do no harm) This is how I started a blog for the Express Tribune a few years ago. I wrote it then because I felt I had to speak out. A sweeper in Karachi had been rushed to a nearby hospital after he succumbed to noxious gases while trying to clear a sewer. The shocking bit was that the fasting doctor on duty refused to treat the critically ill sweeper covered in sewage water, claiming that doing so would have broken his fast. Interestingly, it is Ramazan again, so perhaps an apt time to remind my fellow healthcare ...

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Why I ditched my chador

When I was in my teens, some 20 years ago, my parents would tell me to wear a chador (a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head and upper body) and cover myself every time I would go out of the house. I lived in a small city and my father was widely known. Each time I stepped out of my house, I would cover myself from head to toe, sometimes even the face if I was with my father, as he didn’t want people gazing at his daughter. I understood at the time that this was essential for ...

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Hear a mother’s heart

The sky was bathed in the flaming yellow rays of the sun. It was a bright sunny morning in Lahore. Shahbaz’s rickshaw broke down again in the middle of the road. The traffic broke into wild outbursts of car horns, and angry people growled and grumbled at him for disrupting the traffic flow. Shahbaz’s rickshaw was old now and rank with problems. If it stopped working one day, he wouldn’t even make as little money as he did now. The thought made him anxious. How would he provide for his wife and son if that happened? ‘I wish I could buy a ...

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Why people believe PTM is playing into foreign hands

There is hardly anyone in Pakistan today who remains unfamiliar with the name of Manzoor Pashteen and his Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Till January 2018, Pashteen was a largely obscure figure whom not many had heard of. However, due to events that led to the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Rao Anwar, Pashteen was soon plucked from obscurity to become the leader of the popular resistance movement which later came to be known as the PTM. Like Pashteen, the story of his movement is also intriguing, in that it was initially named the Mehsud Tahafuz Movement. However, with more ...

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Horror that cuts deep: It Chapter Two promises a very scary and fitting end

After the unprecedented success of It, which took in over $700 million worldwide, the hype surrounding It Chapter Two – which was always in the offing – only grew stronger. In a day and age where good horror movies are few and far between, this does not come as a surprise. Like the second section of the famed Stephen King novel, It Chapter Two is also set 28 years after the events of the previous film, with the members of the ‘Losers’ Club’ returning as adults to their hometown of Derry, Maine, ready to confront the evil Pennywise (who has reappeared) one last ...

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Controlling inflation: why the State Bank of Pakistan should be autonomous

The rise in the interest rate as well as the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar have both become topical issues in recent months. What is considered a conventional policy measure globally – often implemented in light of declining foreign currency reserves – has been scrutinised and discussed in mostly political terms. It is evident from the reaction of our political class and media that the concept of an autonomous central bank is still not fully appreciated by many. The aim of an autonomous central bank is simple: credibility. Politicians are always tempted to lower interest rates to ...

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A victory for the ages: Liverpool and Tottenham and their fate-changing semi-finals

There is no doubt that football always leaves people with some of the most beautiful memories. Memories which they will cherish forever. It is a game of emotion, instinct and passion. How many times have we seen managers and players lay bare their emotions after the final whistle? Countless. The same happened in this week’s Champions League semi-finals, when both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur defied the odds to defeat Barcelona and Ajax respectively. The two English sides booked their place in the Champions League final after pulling of miraculous comebacks. 🔴🔴 ALLEZ, ALLEZ, ALLEZ 🔴🔴pic.twitter.com/r8TRL9vvTC — Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 7, ...

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Maryam Nawaz can’t be vice president of her own party but Jahangir Tareen can be ‘deputy PM’?

It was a mammoth show of street power by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Lahore on May 7th. Nawaz Sharif was returning to Kot Lakhpat jail, but the reception he received from his vote bank in Lahore along the way certainly created life in the otherwise lifeless political narrative of PML-N. The credit for this power show goes to Maryam Nawaz, who has recently been promoted to one of the vice presidents of the PML-N. Her aggressive style of politics and her ability to pull large crowds within no time at all has started giving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ...

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Date cake: Something sweet, something mystical for a delightful Ramazan

Dates are a popular staple food in the diet of the Arabian Peninsula. They are a symbol of Arabic hospitality. They are often served as a quick ‘pick-me-up’ snack and are particularly consumed when breaking fast during the holy month of Ramazan among Muslim communities around the world. On account of their unique attributes, dates represent a unique bond between Muslim communities. I relate to them both culturally and religiously, and find them to be a mystical sweet snack. Living in America, I find nutritious dates in abundance at the grocery store. They are widely consumed as a snack, in salads, ...

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A mall, a lady, and some slut-shaming – another sad day in India’s ‘rape capital’

They say sometimes a woman is a woman’s worst enemy. In this instance, they have hit the nail on the head. In a mall in Delhi’s suburb of Gurugram, a middle-aged lady allegedly slut-shamed a bunch of young women openly. She was not their mother, or even someone they remotely knew. No, this was a random ‘aunty’ who was simply not pleased with the way the girls were dressed. According to her, their outfits were indecent and they deserved everything nasty that came their way. When the girls retaliated, saying they were comfortable in their skin and in their shorts, ...

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