Zardari’s arrest: Separating facts from PPP’s fiction

Let me steal a phrase from the The Shining: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” After Asif Ali Zardari’s arrest, the party rhetoric, the media noise and the social media trolling which ensued, have all made one thing very clear: all fiction and no fact makes Zardari a good boy. However, if we could attempt to achieve the insurmountable task of separating fact from fiction, our future generations, if not us, may live in a different and much better Pakistan. Pakistan is a strange country. In other countries, when public officials or aspiring office holders face ...

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Taking from the poor, giving to the stock brokers – who is PTI’s priority?

The incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has just increased the price of petrol by Rs4.26 per litre and it intends to introduce more indirect taxes in the upcoming budget in order to minimise the deficit in the budget. However, surprisingly, recently the PTI government approved a package of around Rs20 billion for stock exchange brokers and it was termed as a package to end the uncertainty in the Pakistan Stock Exchange and give confidence to the stock market. However, since the package is actually being given to the wealthier stock brokers, it begs the question that at a time when ...

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Capturing the spirit of Lahore’s fascinating canal

Moving from a small town to the historic city of Lahore in 2013 was a great experience. Though still an immature boy, I was enchanted by the many attractions Lahore had to offer. One of those attractions which continues to fascinate me is the famous Lahore canal, which runs through the east of the city. The canal was built by the Mughals and was subsequently improved upon by the British. To this day, the canal continues to be a popular site for children and adults interested in cooling off during the summer heat. Every summer, some of my friends and ...

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Is Fawad Chaudhry really the best person for the job?

It’s March 25, 1992. England is chasing a target of 250 to become the victor of the cricket World Cup in Australia. Experienced duo Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother have tilted the game in England’s favour, and Pakistan captain Imran Khan has to apply his cricket dexterity to take a wicket as blocking runs isn’t going to work. He needs to ensure the right person throws the ball, and brings in Wasim Akram. The rest, as they say, is history. References to the 1992 World Cup final are generally used a lot these days to offer sarcastic commentary on PM ...

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A paradise in peril: Destroying Naltar for the sake of promoting tourism

I had heard about the pristine beauty of Naltar since I was a child, but somehow had never made it to this remote valley, located around 40 kilometres from Gilgit. Perhaps a lot had to do with the fact that the road to the valley is barely passable by jeep, and it takes around two hours to get there from the Karakoram Highway. However, this month I finally made it to Naltar, and I was not disappointed. The bare Karakoram mountains, the rocky landscape and the dusty road was soon forgotten as we turned a corner and emerald green ...

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It is our inaction, not foreign involvement that is worsening the Balochistan conflict

Balochistan is once again in the grip of deadly violence. At least three people, including a prayer leader, were killed and 28 wounded in a remotely-controlled explosion inside a mosque an hour before Friday prayers. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. According to security sources, the target was a religious cleric, while the bombing itself was a result of Taliban infighting. However, this information has not been independently confirmed. Given the nature of the attack, however, it is apparent this is the work of a religious fanatic group. Pashtoonabad is located on the outskirts of Quetta and is predominantly ...

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With heavy snowfall in April, climate change has worsened life in Balochistan

Ahmad Ali and his 55-year-old mother have had their last meal of the day. They go to bed after offering their Isha prayers. They both have been frugal because they want to save some dry wood for the next day. It has been raining all day and it continues to rain all night. In the early morning, when Ali’s mother awoke for her Fajar prayers, it started to snow. The early spring snowfall was surprising for the locals since the valley, which was once famous for its snow-clad winters, has seen a decline in its share of rainfall and snowfall ...

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Not finding oil reserves was expected, but PTI had to save face so it gave false hope

After a lot of anticipation, the news finally arrived a few days ago that the much hyped oil exploration off the shore of Pakistan has ended in failure. This attempt by Exxon Mobil has cost the Pakistani exchequer about $100 million. This failure marks Pakistan’s 18th attempt at trying to find oil in the deep sea, but this should not be a cause for concern as offshore drilling is considered to be a ‘high risk, high reward’ business with a small chance of success associated with each attempt. Moreover, although this attempt is a failure, experts are hoping that future ...

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Chill out, PTI! It was just an iftar

An iftar gathering at the Zardari House in Islamabad has shaken the political corridors of Pakistan. On Sunday, almost 10 opposition parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) gathered for an informal iftar-dinner to devise a strategy against the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Maryam Nawaz led the PML-N delegation which Hamza Shehbaz was a part of, proving Maryam has finally taken the lead role while Hamza will perform a role similar to what his father did for Nawaz Sharif. Nonetheless, this was a big show ...

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Abandoned and neglected, Sindh’s orphans continue to suffer in silence

From the moment I attended the first board meeting of the Sindh Darul Atfal, I have been in a state of shock. I fail to understand how the orphans in Sindh are beyond their constitutional right to have an education provided by the state, as per Article 25A of our Constitution. Why can these children only be restricted to a life of becoming welders, plumbers, electricians or tailors? Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these professions, but you have to acknowledge a problem if these are the only options available due to a lack of a formal education ...

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