Pakistan is not ready for a tourist influx

They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Pakistan is in an economic crunch at the moment, and with limited options available to bail itself out, the tourism industry could be the much needed light at the end of the tunnel. The recent surge in travel bloggers visiting Pakistan on sponsored trips shows the eagerness of the current government to refurbish Pakistan’s international image. However, this begs the question, does the government have any concrete plans to support the tourism sector beyond just charging a drone and flying it over the mountains? Like any other industry in the world, ...

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Why is the copy culture an ingrained part of education in Sindh?

The culture of mass copying is thriving in Sindh, eroding its education system over the past several decades. As usual, those who suffer the most are the poor students from outlying areas, where access to education is negligible.  Why is this menace still in practice, despite the various legislative and administrative initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education? Legislatively, Sindh was among the other provinces that adopted a bill ensuring the right to education for all in order to claim political fame. Administratively, the Sindh Education Ministry installed a biometric system – the first of its kind in Pakistan – with the aim ...

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Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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The desi hypocrisy surrounding autism

“Aap ka bacha abnormal hai kya?”  (Is your child abnormal?) The first time I heard the word ‘abnormal,’ I was five. For me, it was an alien word. So when I reached home, I asked my mum what it meant and if my cousin was ‘abnormal’. She just brushed off the question while tending to my newborn sister, not knowing the impact it would have on me later. In light of the fact that World Autism Awareness Day was marked earlier this month, I want to talk about children like my cousin and address the insensitive way in which our desi ...

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Because what do overseas Pakistanis know about promoting tourism in Pakistan, right?

Recently, I found myself posing for a big fat family photograph at a wedding in Lahore, during which I was duly handed one of those decorative desi prop-style labels to pose with. Instead of the usual titles like ‘Larki walay’ (bride’s family and friends) and ‘Larkay walay’ (groom’s family and friends), can you guess which label I was handed? ‘Bahar walay’ (outsiders). As a child of the Pakistani diaspora residing in the United Kingdom, my life has been divided neatly between Birmingham and Lahore, but neither of these two worlds accept me. However connected I may be, there has always been a sense of ...

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Pakistan’s space programme: Achievable goal or impossible dream?

Last year, newly anointed Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry boldly announced that Pakistan would launch its first manned space mission in 2022, and as expected, many people took to social media to voice their amusement. The statement cracked many smiles and it became the subject of much ridicule and cynicism. For the first time in a long time, a Pakistani minister had publicly shown interest in and hinted at developing a space programme. Although space travel may not seem like a necessary concern for a developing nation like Pakistan, the feat would require incomparable resources and in the process ...

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Why schools in Punjab should not bid goodbye to Mr Chips

One of my most cherished memories from my school years is reading the James Hilton novella, Goodbye, Mr Chips. The book tells the heartening story of a seasoned school teacher whom the students lovingly refer to as Mr Chips, a man who is an institution unto himself. Over the course of the story, Mr Chips reflects on the life he has led and hopes that his decades of service as a teacher have enriched the lives of his students.   The enduring popularity of the novel has ensured that it has remained a staple feature in English Language classrooms across ...

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#TherapistDiaries: A hard worker is not the same as a workaholic – the latter is an addict

Farooq’s* work was a matter of utmost importance for him. He used metaphors like “battlefield”, “winning” and “war” when talking about work. He worked in the corporate sector and was at a higher level of the ladder. He sought therapy because all his subordinates hated him. He had a sense that his subordinates, who at some point were his colleagues, were jealous of his success and plotted against him all the time. Farooq was a workaholic, and his perfectionism drove not only his subordinates but his friends away as well. He took no offence in working overtime or even sleeping at ...

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Will Uber end up destroying Careem as well?

As a young, 20-something, independent woman living in Lahore, I have made it a point to sustain my life and expenses all on my own. I do still live with my parents, but there is not much I rely on them for except their unwavering and unconditional love and support. This means I take care of my own transport, whether it is to travel to and from my workplace or frequently to run personal errands. A few years ago this was much harder as services like Uber and Careem were not available, but with their wide availability now, it has ...

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I was 6 when I was sexually abused, repeatedly, in my ‘safe space’

I am a person who is currently in his early 40’s. When I was around six-years-old, I was sexually abused, repeatedly. This is my story. At the outset, I would like to acknowledge that the inspiration to write this blog came from Nadia Jamil, the famous television actress who last year revealed the harrowing abuse she had suffered as a youngster. I, however, do not have the courage to disclose my identity or to publicly share my ordeal as she did. So by no stretch of the imagination am I trying to emulate her. She is much braver and a far ...

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