Walk it like you talk it: What (little) did PTI achieve in its first 100 days?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has finally completed its first 100 days in power. While the number itself is insignificant to judge any government’s performance, it was Imran Khan and the rest of PTI that created the hype over the 100-day agenda to begin with, even before the party won the General Elections. It was perhaps this promise and this plan that played a role in the PTI winning the elections. However, contrary to expectations, these 100 days were not smooth sailing for the PTI. On the contrary, they were marked with controversies, cases in the Supreme Court, U-turns, ...

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Why do we only have one advanced forensic lab in the entire country?

Mudassar Ali, a 21-year-old young man, was caught by the Kasur Police in February 2017 and was subsequently murdered by them in an ‘encounter’, as the police believed he had raped and murdered four-year-old Iman Fatima. In an interesting development, DNA tests conducted a year later on Imran Ali – the man who raped and murdered seven-year-old Zainab – evidenced he not only killed Zainab, but that Iman was also one of the many victims of his brutality.  Sadly, if the Kasur Police had made timely use of forensic science while investigating Iman’s case, not only Mudassar but other victims of ...

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The unheard plight of subcontractors in Pakistan

You might have noticed how the security guard at your company’s gate isn’t directly employed by your organisation; there is a third-party agreement that ensures there is no liability of that security guard on your company. Try to find out how much he earns a month and compare it to how much your company is actually paying for him; I guarantee you will find a stark difference in both amounts. Till a few years ago, this situation was limited to support staff, including pantry boys, the sanitation department, security guards, and so on. However, things have changed over the ...

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While PML-N, PPP drown in accountability and PTI figure out how to run the country, TLP fills the vacuum

Ever since his release from jail, Nawaz Sharif has been visibly absent from the political arena. He is seemingly cautious while talking to the media, his tone is softer, the victimisation narrative is no longer brought up, while he also does not delve into his plans for the future, or that of his party. A similar change can be witnessed in his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, who has practically disappeared from the limelight. Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif is under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), battling for political survival by defending himself on all the charges levelled against him ...

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Why reverting to the karez system might save Balochistan’s water and drought crisis

In an arid country like Pakistan, water in the form of rivers, glaciers and groundwater is life – it is what gives us sustenance. When there is too little, we have droughts, and when there is too much, we have floods. This is how it has been for centuries in this part of the world, and it remains how it is in Balochistan, home to the 7,000-year-old Mehrgarh civilisation. Pakistan’s largest province is currently in the midst of a drought, and yet some districts have been flooded as well. I was part of a group of journalists from Islamabad who ...

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Life after the British: If India can develop a thriving railway sector, why can’t Pakistan?

As a frequent traveller, whenever I visit another country my first preference is to take the train, and I have many reasons for doing so. Being an environmentalist, I am a conscious traveller, and railways have a smaller carbon footprint than other means of transportation. As a bonus, they also offer an enchanting and panoramic view of the countryside, which you are likely to never forget. Trains are also comfortable – you can book a private cabin and walk, stretch and even sleep in a real bed during your travel. If you’re traveling overnight, you don’t have to pay for a hotel ...

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Real estate, the new mafia: How can we fix Pakistan’s housing market?

The new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s priority is housing. Providing five million houses would certainly pick up the economy since around 40 industries would be throttled up to meet the demands of around five million houses. This is indeed commendable. Even though the target of five million houses seems a bit far-fetched, one could argue that setting up a lofty goal would actually keep the government on its toes. Even achieving a small percentage of the mighty five million would be a relief for the homeless and relevant industries. For the purpose of land for this scheme, government is eyeing ...

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K-P’s decision to segregate all-girls’ school isn’t just regressive, it is unconstitutional

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has ‘barred’ entry of men, even male parliamentarians, on all-girls’ school premises, even for school events. Moreover, his government has also banned any sort of media coverage of all-girls’ school activities and events. So if a female student tops the board exams or invents a new device, she can devalue it herself. Makes the job easier. No male minister, MNA, MPA or official will be allowed to enter in Girls School for any event as chief guest. All schools are bound to invite only female chief guests in KPK. #NayaPakistan #KPKUpdates pic.twitter.com/zmWCRN7KEG — Syed Kausar ...

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The dark side of coal mining: We can walk in knowingly, but we never know if we’ll get to walk out

It was a hot and humid afternoon on August 13th. Tajak Khan, clad in a proper coal miner’s uniform, sat on the rough ground along with his four co-workers, 800 feet deep from the surface of the earth. They took a small break from the day-long digging inside a coal mine near district Harnai located in the northeast of Balochistan. It was around 4pm when a massive blast rocked the coal mine and nearby areas, Khan and his four companions got trapped inside and were never heard of again. Five dead bodies were recovered the next morning after a much-delayed rescue operation. In a coal mine ...

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Black Day: Without international mediation, there can be no lasting peaceful resolution in Kashmir

The impasse that is the land of Kashmir – which Allama Iqbal described as “heaven on earth” – has shown little signs of abating, with only escalations in sight. On October 21st, thousands of demonstrators marched on a village in Kulgam, where Indian forces were battling an unaccounted number of suspected Kashmiri fighters. This led to a shootout in which Indian troops killed at least 14 youths and injured at least 30 others in the Laroo area of the Kulgam district, in an attack that included pillaging and destruction of the neighbourhood, according to local police and military officials in the ...

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