The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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No water, no electricity, no education – When living in rural Sindh is worse than a death sentence

Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”. This is the thought the residents of Tharparkar comfort themselves with every day. They console each other by hoping that after all their hardship will come some ease. Out of a small number of nine countries, Pakistan has succeeded in becoming a nuclear power. Who would have thought in a country with so much power, there would be so little for the common people? It is appalling to even think that the residents of rural Sindh still transport water with the help of donkeys. I often find ...

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11 years later, both Pakistan and PPP are suffering the loss of Benazir Bhutto

I still remember the date. It was October 18, 2007, the day Benazir Bhutto returned from self-exile. I was posted in Karachi at the time, and it seemed as if an electric vibe was going through the entire city. As I returned from the office, I could see cars and buses full of people, many of whom were waving the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) flag. I was with a colleague who, after seeing those PPP supporters, could not hide his disgust and remarked: “Jahil qaum hai. Itni corrupt aurat ko welcome kar rahi hai. Yeh Bhuttos mulk loot ker kha gaye. Tab ...

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Why 2018 will go down as an unforgettable year in Pakistan’s democratic history

This year can rightfully be termed the year of change for Pakistan. After all, the General Elections held this year saw the rise of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) into the power corridors. While the political temperature in Pakistan remains high despite the cold weather of December, the following are glimpses of the main political events that had an impact on Pakistan’s political dispensation this year.  January: US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan in a tweet and withheld aid worth millions of dollars. February: Renowned human rights lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir passed away. March: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nihal Hashmi, Talal ...

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Puff out your chests with pride, because these 7 Pakistanis have made us real proud

The year 2018 brought with it ‘Naya Pakistan’, or at least the promise of it, that many Pakistanis had been anxiously waiting for. Now that the year is ending, several changes have taken place; some good, some bad and some plain hilarious. By hilarious I mean things such as the chicken egg business model theory of Kaptaan himself, the ‘speed of light’ trains he was so impressed by and the buffalo auctions. As this year ends, there is still gas and energy shortage in the country, there is still rampant injustice, the political discourse has become childish and the financial ...

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It’s only been 6 months and Islamabad International Airport is already falling apart

The newly built Islamabad International Airport is yet another example of how poor planning continues to add rust to the public exchequer. Despite the nation’s capital being in dire need of a better airport, the new building has failed to deliver in every aspect. Since its inauguration in May this year, it has seen a plethora of structural flaws that have revealed it to be less of an airport and more of a health hazard. To start with, years before its inauguration, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) accepted flaws in the design of the runways due to which multiple ...

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Did the government really think that one bike lane on Shahrae Faisal will solve Karachi’s traffic woes?

The traffic problem in Karachi has gone from bad to worse to the absolute worst in a reasonably small expanse of time. No amount of signal-free corridors, bridges, underpasses and new roads have been able to alleviate what is one of the biggest causes of suffering for the city’s populace. While the recent grand encroachment operation under the Supreme Court’s instructions turned out to be a beacon of light for the citizens, things once again went astray when this too resulted in no significant improvement for the people of Karachi.  However, no matter how hard the government tries, it won’t ...

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Four years down the road to redemption: APS – the school of the 144

One hundred and forty four. On December 16th, we lost a 144 warriors. I had my Islamiat exam that day. I came back to Godley with a sense of accomplishment. It was over. The tyranny that Ziaul Haq’s fundamentalism had bestowed upon us was over. I distinctly remember talking to a close friend about the late General’s obsessive infatuation with religion, and “how none of us really needed to learn religion through such biased sources”. And as irony would deem it fit, it wasn’t over. And the way it showed shook me to the core. On December 16, 2014, progeny of ...

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Aleema Khanum walks away with a fine while Maryam Nawaz was sent to jail – double standards of justice?

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khanum has been fined for not disclosing her property in the UAE, with the Supreme Court (SC) ordering her to submit Rs29.4 million as a fine. However, she was not asked to disclose her source of income and neither was a joint investigation team (JIT) ordered to probe her source of income or for the authenticity of the money trail she presented in court. No reference of assets beyond known means was filed against her in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) either. On the other hand, on the same day, the SC ordered a JIT against ...

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The comeback after the setback: The ‘silent’ return of Maryam Nawaz

There is an ongoing debate in certain inner circles regarding the possibility of Maryam Nawaz being ‘re-launched’ into politics sometime soon. Some of these people are of the view that she is currently inactive, which is actually not true – Maryam is still very active in the decision-making of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, she has not made any public appearances or used her famous Twitter account as of late.  The PML-N has planned a convention on December 30th to commemorate the foundation of the All India Muslim League on the same date in 1906. Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are expected to attend and ...

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