Visiting Tehran after the death of Qasem Soleimani

Though the skies were clear and the sun was shining brightly, the heaviness in the air was evident when I departed Imam Khomeini International Airport on the morning of January 5th. I was told it had snowed the previous day and hence the air was chillier than what the weather forecast had predicted last week. We crossed a bridge decked with the national flag of Iran fluttering in the wind, surrounded by black banners on either side. The latter signalled the tragedy which had befallen the country recently. As we neared the city centre and the traffic grew, I could see ...

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How can Pakistan’s youth reap the benefits of e-commerce?

In a world which is increasingly relying upon technology to drive both businesses and innovative processes it is imperative that Pakistan’s youth be equipped with the necessary skills required to flourish in this changing landscape. According to my observations regarding the existing e-commerce policy framework, the willingness of the government to collaborate with online marketplaces for export capacity building is apparent. However, it is important that such online marketplaces are able to incorporate a particular aspect of ‘gamification’, which will pay dividends down the line. But in order to fully understand the perceived benefits of the model it is necessary to first engage with the ...

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How can local MSMEs tap into the international market?

Although the importance of micro small medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) cannot be overstated, one is also forced to admit that creating an enterprise that contributes to the export potential of a country is a daunting task, especially for individuals. The prevalent culture involves importing goods from China and selling them locally at a premium price. Selling imported products in the local market is an easy and safe option primarily because foreign countries are facilitating the export of their goods through logistical support and secure payment mechanisms. Therefore, foreign goods are practically delivered at the doorstep of Pakistani businesses at ...

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Is climate change impacting our mental health?

Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to gauge the adverse effects of climate on human development. One of the many unfortunate facets of climate change that are currently being explored is the impact it has on mental health, particularly with respect to that of our children and future generations. Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in natural disasters, owing to rapid climate change. A non-profit organisation, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, looked at numerous studies and determined that there was a clear pattern which demonstrated climate change had resulted in weather related disasters becoming far ...

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Corruption in Pakistan is not limited to politicians

In our society, corruption is commonly understood to be the giving or taking of money to commit an illegal act which furthers the interests of the payer and lines the pockets of the payee. It is also usually implicit that such interests are furthered at the expense of someone else’s or the state’s benefit. The bribe can be conveyed in the form of cash or an object of significant monetary value. Another generally accepted feature of financial corruption is that the recipients of bribes are persons in authority such as government functionaries or office bearers in non-government organisations or ...

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How many times will Pakistan fall victim to mob mentality?

“But what is liberty without wisdom? And without virtue? It is the greatest of all evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.” These words of Edmund Burke, the 17th century statesman and member of the British Parliament, circled in my head while watching the horrifying images and depressing accounts of what transpired in Lahore on December 11th. At least three people died after a protest by a group of lawyers at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) turned violent; hospital property was vandalised, attendants tending to their patients were thrashed, a police van was set ablaze, ...

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Is geography the primary determinant of foreign policy?

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If you know a country’s geography, you can understand and predict its foreign policy said.” If we view the modern world through a lens of realism, we will notice that every nation-state is acting to ensure its survival. Principles of idealism can only exist in countries where national interests do not collide with the interests of powerful international actors. Major global events of the last decade indicate that Morgenthau’s and Mearsheimer’s realism has indeed prevailed. Throughout this article, I shall attempt to prove how the foreign policies of world players have revolved around their geographical placement. Western analysts portray ...

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Is Islamic thought suffering from a shrinking intellectual horizon?

Time is the cruellest of all historical forces. It renders obsolete all human endeavours attempting to eternalise ideas and ideals about religious truth. It is thinking that enables us to fight against the ossification of ideas and the imprisonment of our own imagination. Owing to this, the inquisitive mind brings about change when comprehending religious experience by liberating one’s vision from the narrow confines of ideology, hence broadening one’s intellectual horizons. However, thinking itself operates within a epistemic range, which can be called the horizon of the mind. A narrow horizon produces exclusionary ideas and thus fails to interpret a phenomena ...

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Battling the human rights crisis in Kashmir 

It seems that PTI’s Kashmir narrative has, unfortunately lost some of its momentum on the international stage. The human rights struggle in Kashmir remains in limbo, as over eight million people in the region are still under a constant lock-down. The government’s policy in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has been slightly marred by the lack of a subsequent follow through. Meanwhile, the Indian government has revealed the hidden demons of a society which is polarised beyond repair and a government which is furthering the religious divide in the country. The nation, already fragmented over claims of atrocities taking place inside its own geographic boundaries, has to be held responsible ...

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Why are Pakistani men so fearful of female sexuality?

It is worth reflecting upon how our society is at a complete loss when it comes to dealing with the so-called ‘scandalous side’ of the private lives of individuals, especially when the scandal involves women who enjoy a celebrity status, more so if the scandal implicates their agency over their sexuality. In the recent past, with growing frequency, we have seen several leaked videos go viral on social media. Every such instance leads to the public ruthlessly judging the morality of the women involved rather than calling out those responsible for this breach of privacy.  It is ironic that the same society ...

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