Nawaz Sharif underwent serious surgery: Should a deputy PM have been appointed?

Amidst heated demands of resignation following his family’s deep involvement in offshore tax activity coming to light with the Panama Paper reveals Prime Minister Sharif hastily left for London last week. Jumping where they saw opportunity, his political detractors, in a game of ‘I told you so’ accused the country’s leader for having fled for good until news surfaced, from within the PM’s family camp, that he had in fact gone for a necessary, emergency open heart surgery – a risky yet routine procedure and the PM’s second such surgery in recent years. At 66 years of age, the prime minister of Pakistan ...

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Why are arms and ammunitions so easily available in Pakistan?

As per a recent news report, over 170,000 of the total 352,000 licenses in Pakistan could not be verified by NADRA. Acquisition of arms and ammunition in Pakistan has never been a problem for applicants who know the various back door options available in the market. Unless there is a blanket ban on issuance of new arms licenses, a common citizen bearing a computerised national identity card, can get more than one arm license issued under his/her name of various non-prohibited or prohibited calibers  if he/she has a direct connection in the federal interior ministry. Background interviews with some prominent arms dealers in ...

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Why was Karachi’s Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah dismissed, Mr CM?

Whenever there is honey, there will be bees and wherever there are bees, there should be a beehive nearby. In other words, be careful of honey or the bees will sting you, not to mention the odd bear or two lurking about. Karachi is akin to the honey, which welcomes millions of people looking for work within its high rises but these people must survive amongst the bears (land mafia, political power mafias, death squads, extortionists and an endless list of the like). The number of bears Karachi attracts is roughly the same number which goes to the rivers to ...

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The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?

Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed.    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...

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She came to me for a contraceptive but her husband dragged her away

It was a few years ago when a 40/41-year-old mother of five children (her eldest in his late teens) came to me asking for contraception. After we discussed the pros and cons of the various contraceptives available, she decided to pick a pill that was appropriate for her age. Half an hour later, her husband, a man in his early 60s, stormed into my clinic, flashed me the same medication in his hand and asked, “What is this?” “This is a medication for women,” I said. “Is this a contraceptive?” “Yes.” He threw it in the dustbin and warned me that if I ever dared ...

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Despite re-verifying CNICs, the Mullah Akhtar Mansoors in Pakistan will continue to enjoy their perks and fake identities

What a strange country we live in! First you harbour terrorists from across the border, facilitate them and help them get a computerised national identity card (CNIC) and travel documents. Then when, inevitably, the terrorist is found with those documents provided to him by the state, the interior minister of Pakistan acts indignant and says that he would push for re-verification of all CNICs in the country. Now what did I, a hapless citizen of Pakistan, do to be punished for what is essentially a sin of the state? And what will re-verification achieve? What new Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) will the government put ...

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Alisha was treated outside a lavatory – shame on you, Peshawar

Like any other people, all the transgender community wants is to live with dignity. But in Pakistan, dignity for this sexual minority is almost impossible to find. From birth to their death beds, they are ostracised as if they are the bearers of some invisible disease. Forced to live with their own communities, forced to take menial jobs or to beg on the streets, forced to put up with mental and physical abuse, forced to deal with sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape, from their fellow citizens or even those tasked with protecting them, the transgender people of Pakistan ...

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With its marriage to the Taliban and its extramarital affair with the US, Pakistan is playing with fire

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the leader of the Taliban group, was allegedly killed at around 3:45 pm on May 21st. He is said to have been killed in a US drone airstrike in Dalbandi, Balochistan. This is the most significant American incursion inside Pakistan ever since the Navy SEALs incident in 2011, in which the al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed. After realising the Afghan war was a complete failure, America changed its strategy and began pursuing the Taliban leadership, Mullah Mansoor, to come to the negotiation table. They did this by offering them lucrative offers including the release of Taliban prisoners and the opening of their Qatar office. With Mullah Mansoor having ...

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The GIR Bill is an attack on the democratic rights of all Indian citizens

One of Narendra Modi’s mantras before he became prime minister in May 2014 was, “Minimum government maximum governance.” Two years later, this famous quote has lost its meaning. Currently, in all walks of life, there is more government and less governance. The powerhouse in Delhi wants to decide whether people are national or anti-national, it wants to dictate the religious preferences and wants to monitor each activity through Unique Identity Card (UID). The way the government is intruding into the private and personal space of individuals, it will eventually end up making the common man a prisoner in their own nation. The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB) is another attempt to invade the ...

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Changing maps will not mean Kashmir is a part of you, India

The Indian government wants to pass the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB). This bill will essentially make any map in India (ONE that does not toe the official line on geospatial information provided by the Indian government) illegal and liable to seven years in jail and a fine of up to a whopping billion Indian rupees. Predictably Pakistan reacted by shooting off a letter to the United Nations (UN) protesting that the official Indian maps show the disputed territories of Kashmir as wholly part of India, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). While one respects the sovereignty a foreign nation state, the provisions of this law ...

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