How can you expect international tourists to visit Pakistan when even the locals avoid it?

Pakistan is beautiful; there are no second thoughts about it. It is common to see videos making rounds on social media and the internet that show breathtaking landscapes of Pakistan. The purpose for most of them is to appeal to viewers to visit these places and witness the wonders of nature. We see people tagging their family and friends on such posts, making plans about their next trip. However, in most cases, the decision to take a trip isn’t based solely on how beautiful the place is rather the means, resources, security and facilities available there are taken into account. Recently, ...

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Will we get #JusticeForIrshadRanjhani or will his killer get the Rao Anwar treatment?

The entire nation is by now familiar with Irshad Ranjhani’s name. He was the Karachi President of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST), and was shot multiple times by Rahim Shah, the Union Council Nazim of Bhains Colony who also belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A video that surfaced on digital and electronic media on Friday showed Ranjhani lying in a pool of his own blood on the road in broad daylight. He was still alive then, but instead of taking him to the hospital and helping him, most of the bystanders were busy making videos and taking ...

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Remembering Asma Jahangir: A democrat in a country that loved dictators

“Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.” – Asma Jahangir A year ago, when the news came in that Jahangir had passed away, I felt like I no longer recognised the legal system I had worked so hard to become a part of. To understand why, let me tell you a little bit about who Jahangir was. Jahangir was a woman who was born a democrat in a country that loved dictators. The Convent of Jesus and Mary may have been the first to discover this. The Convent had a system for selecting their head girl ...

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50 shades of politics: In the end, PTI will be a graveyard of resigned politicians

Politics is a particularly nasty creature. Even for social science, it’s an art form very few can master. The rest just try to rock the boat. To make it easier to understand, one can say that everyone is trying to do the right thing, but what the right thing is and how to do it is where all the division happens. At the core of it all, unfortunately, nothing much changes, because the people who put every crook, criminal and elite into power essentially do not change. No matter how moral or ethical we want to see our politicians, we ourselves ...

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#JusticeForUzma: Another year, another child, another bill, another promise

Recently, the body of a 16-year-old girl was found dumped in a drain in Lahore. The girl’s name was Uzma, and she was a domestic worker for a family living in the Iqbal Town area. Uzma was allegedly tortured and killed by her employers, who have now been arrested for further investigation. This case could have gone down as just another murder of an ill-fated child domestic worker in Pakistan, but the circumstances of her death outraged the whole country. Plz help us raise voice to get justice for the little Uzma. #Justice4Uzma was brutally tortured and then murdered by the ...

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First Empress Market and Burnes Road, now wedding halls – Karachi is falling brick by brick

The courts have given their verdict. Encroachments will have to be removed and Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has already started issuing notices to property owners throughout the city. The current drive is against two different types of irregularities: a) individuals or businesses that encroached upon government land; b) usage of residential property for commercial purposes. If we look into the socio-economic dynamics of this issue, Karachi has been home to job seekers and entrepreneurs from the entire country. The influx of migrants from other cities and provinces is still going on with the same volume and pace. People are heading ...

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Why India may not be a big fan of Pakistan’s new visa policy

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ just passed legislation loosening the country’s previously difficult visa procedure. This legislation allows most of the world’s nationalities to either receive a visa on arrival or electronically, which will not only boost tourism and facilitate business dealings, but also show the international community that Azad Kashmir is truly free and not ‘Pakistan-occupied’ as India falsely alleges. This is all part of Imran’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ vision of revolutionising his country’s domestic and foreign affairs. This legislation is expected to immensely boost Pakistan’s tourism industry and facilitate the clinching of international business deals along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The ...

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From a bright student to a beggar: “The hate never melted” – Noshi’s journey as a transwoman

“You can change your hobby, but you cannot change your nature. If someone offers Rs10,000 to you in exchange for wearing such a feminine dress, you are probably not going to wear it. The same dress, however, is second nature to me. I wear and admire it every day. That does not make me any less of a human, does it?” This is how my conversation began with Noshi, a 45-year-old trans woman previously known as Farrukh Naeem. Noshi outside the room where she has been staying for the last four years. Growing up in Shahdara Town, ...

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Karachi will never be able to fill the void left behind by Ali Raza Abidi

I woke up to a text message from my mother on a lazy Wednesday afternoon on Boxing Day, December 26, 2018, advising me not to react after receiving the news of what had transpired in Karachi. I did not quite understand what my mother meant, until I swiped to the next message from my uncle asking me (and presumably a number of other people in his WhatsApp group) to recite something for the ‘late’ Ali Raza Abidi. Only then did it dawn upon me what my mother was talking about. The first thing I did after that was to ...

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#SahiwalEncounter: Is that all we are now, “human shields” and “collateral damage”?

I don’t intend for it to sound sensational, but there were four bullets in a 13-year-old child’s body that were paid for by our tax money. This would be an appropriate time to question our security policies. Four people were recently shot dead by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on a highway in the Sahiwal district. The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver and three members of a family, including both parents who have left behind three orphaned children. Counter Terrorism Deptt (CTD) opens fire on a car in Sahiwal and kills 4 people while 3 kids miraculously survive. ...

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