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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A fruitless Ramazan

The people of Pakistan are finding it incredibly difficult to keep up with the extremely high prices of fruit this Ramazan. Of course, it doesn’t help that they are already bearing the brunt of an economy that appears to be going through its worst phase. The festive occasion of Ramazan, which is followed by Eidul Fitr, has never been particularly kind for the poor or middle classes in Pakistan. Unlike other Islamic countries where Ramazan is a month of ensuring ease for the poorest, the opposite is witnessed in Pakistan, where prices of basic amenities such as wheat, sugar, pulses, ...

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Pakistan’s wildlife: Going, going, gone!

As we go about our busy lives, completely dependent on fossil fuels from the vehicles that transport us to the houses we live in electrified by thermal power plants, we remain blissfully ignorant of the damage resource extraction and unchecked development has done to the flora and fauna of our planet. How conveniently we look the other way as yet another housing estate gobbles up even more rural land and old trees are cut down to make way for roads! Scientists have now rung the alarm bells that we humans are driving the sixth mass extinction on Earth. A new ...

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Why people believe PTM is playing into foreign hands

There is hardly anyone in Pakistan today who remains unfamiliar with the name of Manzoor Pashteen and his Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Till January 2018, Pashteen was a largely obscure figure whom not many had heard of. However, due to events that led to the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Rao Anwar, Pashteen was soon plucked from obscurity to become the leader of the popular resistance movement which later came to be known as the PTM. Like Pashteen, the story of his movement is also intriguing, in that it was initially named the Mehsud Tahafuz Movement. However, with more ...

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Maryam Nawaz can’t be vice president of her own party but Jahangir Tareen can be ‘deputy PM’?

It was a mammoth show of street power by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Lahore on May 7th. Nawaz Sharif was returning to Kot Lakhpat jail, but the reception he received from his vote bank in Lahore along the way certainly created life in the otherwise lifeless political narrative of PML-N. The credit for this power show goes to Maryam Nawaz, who has recently been promoted to one of the vice presidents of the PML-N. Her aggressive style of politics and her ability to pull large crowds within no time at all has started giving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ...

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