Stories published in November, 2019

How a garbage epidemic is choking the Baltoro Glacier

The northern part of Pakistan is known for its scenic beauty, tall mountains and cold climate. These very attributes have draw tourists from across the world to the region for more than a century. These visitors include those wishing to get away from the hustle bustle of the city as well as mountaineers and trekkers looking for adventure. Among the various attractions of this area, the Baltoro Glacier stands out prominently since, at 62 kilometres, not only is it the longest glacier outside the polar region but it also leads to Concordia, where Baltoro and Godwin Austin glaciers meet and ...

Read Full Post

Will imported tomatoes help tackle rising prices?

In an attempt to tackle the rising prices of vegetables and fruits in Pakistan, the government finally caved in on Wednesday and allowed for tomatoes to be imported from Iran. The Pakistani masses have been bearing the brunt of the nation’s economic woes, but that burden has been worsened recently after the prices of tomatoes began to rise due to faulty economic polices and bad weather which adversely impacted harvests. But perhaps this desperate reaction to reach to Iran for some much needed tomatoes was the result of Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s, the prime minister’s financial adviser, much ridiculed gaffe earlier in the week. One ...

Read Full Post

Why is a bomb on display at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib?

The opening of the Kartarpur corridor represented a truly unique moment for a region which has suffered great tragedies and unbridled hostilities at the hands of national and religious prejudices. The manner in which the opening ceremony was conducted and the warmth with which Sikh pilgrims from across the border were welcomed into Pakistan represented the very ideals we as a nation should aspire towards – religious, ethnic and international inclusivity. It is therefore unfortunate that this site of tremendous religious significance is being used to tout a message which simply does not belong there and sticks out like a sore ...

Read Full Post

For PTI, the Nawaz Sharif nightmare continues

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has proven time and time again that it is lacking in both political acumen and the ability to rise above petty politics. When Nawaz Sharif was given bail by the courts and allowed to receive medical treatment, it was a blunder on part of the PTI to link the removal of Nawaz’s name from the exit control list (ECL) with a surety bond. While some are attempting to dilute Nawaz’s illness down to a political stunt which has been carefully crafted so that he can escape abroad, the fact remains that Nawaz is in a critical situation and if ...

Read Full Post

The flaws in Pakistan’s e-commerce policy framework

Pakistan’s e-commerce policy framework, which was announced last month, aims to implement measures which could be beneficial for the overall e-commerce environment in the country, however, the polices could also prove to be rather short-sighted in nature since the existing ecommerce situation is actually having a negative impact on the overall economy from a trade perspective. Although, there are 9 major points along which the e-commerce policy has been divided, much of the focus of the e-commerce policy seems to be on using the digital potential to export products to foreign countries, hence it is imperative to understand the dynamics behind exports using ...

Read Full Post

Is Pakistan’s smog epidemic about to get worse?

Environmentalists in Islamabad were aghast this week when precious old trees in the capital were cut in order to make a bridge to connect sector G-7 to G-8 over the Express Highway, a signal free corridor. Despite their pleas that an alternative loop existed nearby which could be used, the Capital Development Authority went ahead to facilitate traffic flows. Islamabad’s activists are ringing alarm bells because this is exactly what happened in Lahore, with all its fancy signal free corridors, over passes and under passes which steadily ate away the old trees and green belts of the city. The ...

Read Full Post

Why is the government refusing to address the smog crisis?

A few weeks back in New Delhi, a climate emergency was invoked across the capital. Schools were closed and warning signs issued as the government activated a climate emergency. It was reported that many commuters in Delhi could not see beyond three to five feet ahead of them. Patients were brought into hospitals with acute respiratory infections and children wards were on high-alert. While the some equipped themselves with air purifiers and masks, a large segment of the general public on the streets continued to breathe in the toxic smog. Construction was temporarily banned in city limits as people with burning ...

Read Full Post

Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part 1

This article forms part of a series that will try to answer several questions surrounding the law on sexual harassment in Pakistan. The aim is to allow people to understand what the legal regime on this issue is, how it works, and what needs to change. ~ Meesha Shafi’s case has allowed sexual harassment to enter into the mainstream discourse in Pakistan. More recently, the traumatic experience recounted by Jami shows how harassment and sexual violence are acts of power that do not spare any gender. These victims, and the countless others who have come forward, have shown the problems of a legal system infused ...

Read Full Post

The Ayodhya verdict and the veneer of Indian secularism

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour earlier in the week, Iltija Mufti, daughter of the former chief minister of occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, stated that India is “turning into a cesspool of bigotry, selective persecution, of hatred against minorities, and this is not the country I grew up in.” It appears that the Narendra Modi government has been doing its best to ensure that it continues to lend validity to these claims, however, in light of the Ayodhya verdict, it seems that the Indian Supreme Court has also joined the party.  Now, let me first preface this by saying that highlighting the great disservice ...

Read Full Post

What does the future hold for Kashmir?

The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act’ put forward by the Indian Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, occupies a central role in the deteriorating bilateral relations between the nuclear–armed neighbours and the worsening domestic conditions in the region. Pakistan’s demands for justice against the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) is being spearheaded by Prime Minster Imran Khan, who has termed India’s actions “a war crime” and a violation of 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions. While little headway is being made to restore the previous status quo, Imran’s efforts have materialised with six lawmakers from the United States ...

Read Full Post