Karachi, a story of neglect since time immemorial

Karachi has been a story of neglect since time immemorial. Perhaps the only sincere effort that was done to improve the infrastructure of this great city was during General Pervez Musharraf’s time when the then mayor of Karachi, Naimatullah Khan, and later on Mustafa Kamal, had tried to restore the glory of Karachi. For the first time, the denizens of Karachi watched their city beginning to evolve into a thriving metropolis. The ‘I own Karachi’ initiative, conceived by Kamal and his team, was a brilliant idea aimed at encouraging citizens to be more active and responsible members of the ...

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Iftikhar Lund as a human rights advisor is like a wolf drafting a charter on the rights of sheep

From the ashes of World War II rose the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This international instrument granted a special place to the concept of human dignity. Article 1 of the UDHR states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Today, more than a hundred constitutions across the world make some reference to human dignity, either as a right or as a value that the state is to aspire towards. Although there is a wide disagreement about the ...

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The repercussions of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest

One could argue that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest has always been on the cards. He has been very vocal against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime, has said he was not afraid of being arrested, and he also never filed a petition for protective bail against his arrest. But before discussing Abbasi’s current predicament, it is important to understand the charges levied against him. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Karachi office, while investigating the case against Abbasi in 2017, observed that there were irregularities in the awarding of the LNG contracts. It was said that the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited ...

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While the masses suffer under austerity, PTI’s Shaukat Yousafzai enjoys his new Rs8mn car

In August 2018, while addressing the nation, Imran Khan said that his government, unlike its predecessors, would not spend tax money on luxury items. In fact, he stated that an austerity drive would be implemented across the country when he assumes power. In the past, Imran and ministers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have repeatedly criticised previous regimes for their lavish spending on bulletproof cars and other luxuries at the cost of the public exchequer. Yet, it appears that PTI is now falling victim to the very behaviour it once condemned, given that the expenses of the PM Office have ...

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Making Pakistan proud: In conversation with interdisciplinary designer Wajiha Pervez

Pakistan has an abundance of talent, and young Pakistanis continue to make their homeland proud internationally. One such Pakistani is Wajiha Pervez, a Pakistani artist, interdisciplinary designer, materials enthusiast and traveler. Qatar Foundation (QF), a conglomerate of academic institutions including campuses of many international universities, houses the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts (VCUQ). The university hosts a high-profile event, Tasmeem Doha, which hosts renowned artists and speakers from all over the world. Up until now, the board of the event only consisted of either key faculty members from the parent campus in Richmond or top local faculty. However, this year, ...

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Fed up of your high electricity bills and constant load-shedding? Go solar!

Last week in Lahore, when temperatures were touching 45 degrees Celsius, everywhere I went the conversation revolved around not load-shedding but high electricity bills – rich and poor were reeling from their June electricity bills. The recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has resulted in subsidies being removed from electricity and gas, and citizens are now left to cope with huge bills. “The only option is to go solar – we have our elderly mother in the house who needs her air conditioner (AC) running 24/7 all summer long, plus our room and my brother’s room and guestroom. We ...

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The return of Fayyaz Chohan: Is tolerance no longer the ‘first and foremost pillar’ of Pakistan?

When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, Fayyaz Chohan was given charge of the Punjab Information Ministry. During his stint as Punjab’s information minister, Chohan not only used derogatory language against his political opponents, but he also passed disrespectful, misogynistic remarks about a stage actress, accusing her of spreading vulgarity in society. His statements soon became an embarrassment for the PTI government and it seemed that every time Chohan spoke, PTI had to clean up the mess after him. However, when Chohan spoke against the Hindu community in an offensive and bigoted manner, it seemed that he had finally crossed the line. ...

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Once a neighbourhood of gang wars, Lyari’s Girls Café is helping women reclaim the streets

Among poorly-designed, bullet-riddled houses, there stands an immensely eye-catching building right in the heart of Lyari. This three-story residential building painted in striking shades of blue, pink and green is not a sight that can go unnoticed. The street, once most widely known for its vacant houses and gang war tussles, now hosts a place that welcomes hundreds of young girls and women from every nook and cranny of the area. This place, inaugurated around three years ago, is known as the Lyari’s Girls Cafe (LGC) where girls and women gather daily to learn, teach and share ideas, both long-standing and innovative. ...

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Is increasing the retirement age a good idea?

Due to its current inefficient governance, Pakistan is currently facing issues on all fronts and unfortunately, the problems are expected to worsen in the near future. Because Pakistan didn’t have enough problems already, a new problem of pension payments has surfaced. The government is currently struggling to process pension payments to its retired employees or their families in a timely manner. Many factors contribute to this issue, including presence of ghost employees in various departments. If drastic measures are not taken to eradicate the concerned problem on immediate basis, it will certainly worsen the country’s economic woes in the near future. One major hiccup is that in some ...

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Pakistan’s dangerous melting glaciers and why we should be concerned

Shishper glacier, located above Hassanabad village adjacent to the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Hunza district, has been in the news lately as it is an unusual glacier – unlike many other large glaciers in the region that are melting and receding, this glacier is advancing and surging. The 15km long Shishper Glacier that was surging until a week ago This towering black wall of ice has been pushing forward into Hassanabad and heading towards the village and the KKH since last July. I visited the glacier this past May and I have to say it was a fascinating ...

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