The deathtrap that is the Gadani ship-breaking yard

The country’s solitary ship-breaking yard is located at Gadani, which is roughly 50 kilometres away from Karachi. It is alleged that Gadani is the world’s third largest ship-breaking yard after the Alang-Sosiya yard in India and the Chittagong yard located in Bangladesh. Ships from all over the world come here to be scrapped and sold once they are past their prime and many of these ships bear the flags of European nations. For instance, Germany and Greece were the countries that dumped the most amount of vessels at Gadani in 2016. According to the 2017 Annual Report by NGO Shipbreaking Platform, ...

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Will Pakistan ever rid itself of the polio menace?

Recent reports indicate that six new cases of polio have been registered in Pakistan, thus meaning that currently 148 children are afflicted with the disease. Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which attacks the nervous system, mainly of children and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours, depending on the potency of the virus. The disease is primarily transmitted orally through the mouth, either due to a polluted water supply or contaminated food. The virus finds a conducive environment in the intestine and begins to multiply rapidly. It is then partially excreted out of the body in the form ...

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What does the future hold for PIA?

In the 1960’s, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was arguably one of the world’s finest air carriers. Today, it is a shadow of what it was, primarily because it has been cut down by persistent and elongated maladministration, negligence, nepotism and corruption. The current state of the national carrier is a far cry from its glorious past, where tourists used to write rave reviews regarding its staff, service and in-flight entertainment. Ironically, PIA also provided training facilities to several airlines in the 1980s and played a noticeable role in their start of operations, none more so than modern day ...

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Pakistan’s precarious waltz with the FATF

A quick internet search reveals a litany of news articles, twitter rants, and opinions regarding the presence of Pakistan in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) infamous black and grey lists. Back in October, the global watchdog posed 150 questions which Pakistan had to respond to. While it remains to be seen as to how many issues the government has actually addressed, the subject in question goes beyond the scope of clamping down on terror financing and money laundering for Pakistan. Major shifts in the global balance of powers, geopolitical conflicts and diplomatic duels have significantly affected the FATF ...

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PTI and the status quo

Every political party uses slogans to expand its membership and to energise its existing base. Some slogans articulate a party’s vision, some summarise its central narrative, while others highlight the steps the party will take once in power. Slogans are a powerful political marketing tool and can be extremely effective if they are catchy and easy to understand. For example, Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was extremely successful because it was catchy and effectively articulated Trump’s narrative that America had lost its ‘past glory’ and that he was the right person to restore it. In Pakistan, the ...

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How will Pakistan’s political chessboard shape up in 2020?

We have finally bid adieu to the second decade of the 21st century, a decade that saw the rise of conservatives and nationalist political figures such as incumbent US President Donald Trump, recently elected British Prime Minister Borris Johnson and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi. Even in Pakistan, we voted in a prime minister who leans heavily towards nationalist principles. While India is facing a political turmoil as a result of Modi’s Hindutva-centric narrative, Pakistan is also facing a self-inflicted political deadlock due to the policies of the federation. The ruling party is busy trying to create an impression that all is ...

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In conversation with Zulfi Bukhari: “My loyalty to my country is questioned daily”

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfi Bukhari is a man on an unstoppable mission when it comes to fighting for Pakistanis living overseas, and the fight is fuelled by his own personal struggle. I was able to recently catch up with Bukhari for an exclusive interview at his residence in Islamabad, where he shared that his nationality was still questioned and said, “People still question whether I’m even Pakistani or not. I’ve been called a ghaddar, an MI Agent, Mossad and what not. My first piece of advice for overseas Pakistanis who want to serve ...

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Can Pakistan rid itself of the doctrine of necessity?

The doctrine of necessity was shown the light of day by two English jurists named William Blackstone (1773-1868) and Henry de Bracton (1210-1268). The doctrine pertains to the principle of making lawful by necessity that which is otherwise unlawful. Hence, allowing the state to legitimately act in ways that would otherwise be illegal and unconstitutional. While the doctrine remains unimplemented in England, which successfully recognised Blackstone’s celebration of the common law of England as glorifying the past, the government and the judiciary of Pakistan have repeatedly hidden behind this doctrine when abusing the longstanding principle of separation of powers. One would ...

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The BISP purge: A much-needed review or an assault on the poor?

Pakistan does not have an illustrious track record of managing successful social protection programmes. Most of the initiatives have historically been conceived, and financed, by bilateral and multilateral international donors and can therefore, at times, be void of any connection with Pakistan’s ground realities and the actual needs of the masses. If ever an organic social protection programme is initiated, it is often cut short by changes in the government and the subsequent petty politics. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), however, is unique in that not only is it a local initiative, but it has also stood the ...

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How the obstacles to women’s mobility are crippling Pakistan

While the gender disparity which plagues Pakistan is by no means undocumented, perhaps the true extent of this gulf escapes us on a daily basis. The disparity becomes particularly stark when it is placed in a global context, as illustrated in the recently released report by the World Economic Forum titled the ‘Global Gender Gap Index 2018.’ According to the report, Pakistan is the second-worst country in the world when it comes to gender disparity, a title which should make it apparent that drastic reforms are needed in the country if we truly wish to become a nation which provides ...

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