Load-shedding? Bill tampering? Theft? Fret not, Pakistan, for solar-powered systems are here to save the day (and your money)

For the last 10 years, we’ve been hearing that Pakistan is on the verge of getting rid of load shedding and power shortages. The situation, however, has stayed the same despite repeated government announcements. Since power is not the only sector in which gross incompetence and corruption have led to low levels of service delivery, it is perhaps correct to assume that the prospect of things improving in the short to medium term are impossible. When the government-provided education services are inadequate, people send their children to private schools. They opt out of the government-prescribed syllabi which are often used to propagate nationalistic and corrosive ideologies and get their children to study for internationally recognised A’Levels. They send ...

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I chose to study psychology over engineering and for that I was labelled a “psycho”

On the verge of their college graduation, everyone is confronted with a wide range of career choices. They have to consider which career draws them in as it depends upon a number of factors pertaining to the individual and the market scope. Nevertheless, millions of choices are made and people commit to different disciplines every year. Some go for ‘passion’ while some opt for ‘prudence’, and let me tell you, this is leading us straight into that scope versus interest argument that has been going on for decades. But without delving into this never-settling issue, let’s stick to our central debate. They say choosing from a ...

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Dear Ayesha Gulalai, instead of honouring our roots and culture, you have disgraced every single Pakhtun woman of Pakistan

Dear Ayesha Gulalai, I am neither a political worker nor do I support any political party. What’s even more interesting is that I am not a fan of Imran Khan either. I am a young Pakhtun woman who has been following the Pakhtun tradition and culture since I was a little girl. My parents have always guided me to stand up for my rights and speak up against any kind of harassment in the male-dominated society we live in. Brought up in a conservative traditional family, I have always been reminded to uphold the respect of my family and most importantly, ...

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PML-N is like a hydra; you cut one head off, three more – Shahid Khaqan, Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz – will emerge

Pop goes the weasel. Nawaz Sharif is out. There is joy and jubilation in the opposition camps but gloom and despair in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) camp. The way forward is interesting to say the least. Nawaz didn’t nominate one person for the prime ministerial slot, he nominated two – Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the coming month and Shehbaz Sharif until the next elections. The candidacy of these two gentlemen should not come as too much of a surprise. Abbasi is a long-time Sharif loyalist while Shehbaz is Nawaz’s younger brother. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had nominated Sheikh Rasheed, while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had ...

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How can we expect a better Pakistan if our caste system is the reason why our sanitation workers die?

There may be no better parameter to judge the character, values and structure of a society than by the manner in which it performs some of the most humble and menial tasks. Sweeping, handling garbage or working on clogged gutters and sewage lines fall into the category of menial tasks. Who are the people who perform these tasks? What methods, implements and protective equipment are used to remove, handle and dispose the filth, trash, sludge and raw sewage? Are these processes well regulated and controlled? Are these jobs open to all or restricted to some? What is the social status, respect ...

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Not all Indians are rapists just like not all Pakistanis are terrorists

As a Pakistani, I always thought of the Indian media as anti-Pakistani and excessively nationalistic. So when I recently got the opportunity to work with Indian journalists, I was not sure what to expect. I was on my way to London for the Chevening/South Asia Journalism Fellowship. The program brought 17 leading journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to live and work together in London for two months. Getting off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I wondered what it would be like to have a frank conversation with an Indian journalist. India is almost four times the size of Pakistan, yet their news media seem to be obsessed ...

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You killed her… the strong, independent woman and her voice along with it

I recently came across an article that brought up some thoughts about being a woman in Pakistan. The following is the said article: There are girls out there who think they are the moral police of our society. They are the ones that pick and choose when they want to be feminists. The ones that believe it is their right to tell others what to think or feel. Why? Why do you think it is your duty to define what’s right or wrong? If you’re telling someone not to get “physically attached” before their nikkah, you’re barking up the wrong tree. A tree that ...

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Quaid’s mausoleum may soon be replaced by high-rises, and we’re not doing anything about it

I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the present Sindh government, like its predecessors, is also selling whatever open land is left in Karachi to interested developers. I’m referring to the most recent scandal, the selling of 30 acres of land meant for the Horticultural Society to the builders’ mafia at a price which is about 1% of its actual value. I wonder if they have ever thought of the fact that one day, all the open spaces in Karachi will be gobbled up and replaced with shopping malls and commercial plazas, and they will have nothing left to sell. So if a man is struck on the head ...

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No, Nawaz Sharif must not be allowed to complete his term, if democracy is to prevail

(This article is intended as a rebuttal to the blog titled “Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good.”) I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when this article caught my eye. With the wave of antagonism and criticism of Nawaz Sharif that has swept social media following the release of the infamous so-called joint inverstigation report (JIT), it is always interesting to see pockets of support for the embattled prime minister pop up every now and then. However, to my surprise, the article advocated allowing Nawaz to remain in office. Not out of political allegiance, but based on the ...

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Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...

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