Pakistan’s population conundrum

Amidst all the politicking over economic recovery, a crucial element that is missing from the mainstream narrative is the uncontrolled population growth in Pakistan. The recent census revealed that Pakistan’s population has skyrocketed to approximately 208 million. This is an alarming situation because any effort to stir economic development will be undermined if the population keeps growing at this rate. Realising the constraints overpopulation can have on a developing country’s socio-economic development, most countries in the region implemented policies that significantly decelerated population growth in a relatively short amount of time. As a result, Bangladesh currently has an annual population ...

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How effective is PTI’s climate change policy?

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan began his historic speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week with climate change, calling it one of the “most urgent problems the world must address”. Climate change was of course on the agenda of this year’s global leaders gathering in New York. But to be fair Khan has noted the importance of climate change in several of his earlier speeches to the nation as well. 1st let me talk about climate change; I have seen a lot of leaders talk about this. But I don’t see world leaders really realizing the urgency ...

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Who exactly will the Islam-centred TV channel be for?

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently announced that the governments of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia will collaborate to launch a “BBC type” English television (TV) channel to challenge Islamophobic views in the West. The channel is expected to highlight various issues specific to Muslims in the West and “contextualise” cases of blasphemy. So why aren’t we feeling as hopeful as we should? Our meeting in which we decided to set up a BBC type English language TV Channel that, apart from highlighting Muslim issues, will also fight Islamophobia. pic.twitter.com/GA6o15oJFH — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 30, 2019 Misperceptions which bring people together against Muslims would ...

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The curious case of Pakistan’s dependence on Indian pharmaceuticals

As relations between India and Pakistan soured as a result of the Kashmir crisis, Pakistan stopped all trade with India. Some even went so far as to prophesise that this in turn would wreak havoc for the Indian economy. It appears that such measures are usually taken in a sudden burst of nationalist fervour, and usually ignore Pakistan’s economic realities. The simple truth of the matter is that many sectors in the country are unable to sustain themselves on domestic products alone; case in point the lifting of the ban on Indian pharmaceuticals.  Under Imran Khan’s orders, Pakistan had suspended all ...

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Property for sale, unless you are a non-Muslim

It is no secret that Pakistan has an abysmal record when it comes to protecting religious minorities and ensuring that their rights are safeguarded. But legislation and government action can only do so much; ultimately, it is the attitude of the masses which will determine whether we as a nation wish to protect religious plurality or not. Thus far, that seems rather unlikely. A torrential downpour of blasphemy cases, forced conversions and the fleeing of religious minority groups from Pakisatn has only led to the increasing marginalisation of those who belong to a religious minority in the country. There is however a ...

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Pakistan must ensure that women are included in the family planning process

Her backache is better, and she is feeling relieved for more than one reason. An hour ago, Azra got an Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) which she calls a challa (ring) inserted, with her own free will; the IUCD will potentially give her a break of five years from conceiving a child. This 30-plus years old mother of three, who does not know even her own exact age, knows well now that to remain healthy to look after her three children, and to possibly give birth to healthy children in the future, her body needs a break. Azra had come to the Naudero ...

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With impromptu statements, Imran offers ammo to critics

For Imran Khan, one of the greatest drawbacks of being granted endless screen time is that it only ends up providing ample proof of his unending claims and circular statements. For every U-turn that Imran takes, there is substantial evidence to suggest he may well also have a contrary stance, so much so that he has acceded to not just accepting his flip flop behaviour but has also justified it by terming it as a trait which all great leaders possess. In this context, the prime minister’s trip to the United States, for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting, ...

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The day climate change finally made it to the front page in Pakistan

Before September 20th, the last time I marched for the climate was a decade ago outside the venue of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. It was a cold, dark day and there had been skirmishes with the Danish police. It was a depressing march and as protestors huddled around bonfires made of banners, I thought it a fitting end to a summit that had failed to deliver a climate deal. The world had not come together to cut carbon emissions as we had all hoped. In fact, key governments bought themselves a few more years until the Paris Agreement. ...

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Is culling dogs the solution to Sindh’s rabies crisis?

Twelve-year-old Mir Hassan Abro died in the arms of his helpless mother last week because the hospital where he went for his treatment had no anti-rabies vaccines available. While Abro’s death is only the latest incident representing the poor state of affairs in Pakistan’s healthcare sector, it is also a stark reminder of the sheer volume of rabies cases which Sindh is afflicted with. The shortage of anti-rabies vaccines continues to compound and further aggravate a problem which could be resolved if the state and the provincial governments ensured that hospitals in Sindh were better equipped to deal with the growing number ...

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Can Ghotki and Pakistan ever rise above bigotry and religious prejudice?

It appears that communities which have lived together for decades in Pakistan have recently begun to view their coexistence as a matter of shame rather than pride. Sindh, a land which used to exemplify the ideals of peace and harmony, the land of Sufis, has morphed into the land of hatred and religious extremism. Bigotry and prejudice, masquerading under the guise of religious righteousness have been destroying the social fabric of Pakistan. Therefore, one hesitates to predict the future of religious minorities in Pakistan if radical precautionary measures are not taken. The latest in the long line of such ...

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