Stories about 2012

Pakistan, you are not ready to host

For years I would argue endlessly trying to defend my country, citing the actions and examples of other places to justify my point. In some cases, diverting the discussion seemed logical and changing topics the best solution. But over time, the arguments have become much more serious. The country’s inability to progress and, worst of all, no light at the end of the tunnel has made it all the more excruciating to bear. One of the rare sources of joy was sports and there was nothing better than to throng the stadiums when the national cricket team took the field for ...

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Does Pakistan need a Turkish leader to succeed?

It is remarkable what a leader, committed to serving the nation he believes in, can do to a country’s fate. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a case in point. When he came to the helm of affairs in 2003, Turkey was at the periphery of economic development in Europe. A continuous stand-off between its civilian leadership and the military did not help matters either. After coming into power that year, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK) made Turkey a real success story in the economic realm, providing an excellent example of how institution-building and well thought-out public policies can translate into ...

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International aid and development are not synonymous

With the groundbreaking Oscar win of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and its appreciation in Western audiences, the implications of foreign funding for ‘development’ in Pakistan have been brought to the forefront. The documentary, ‘Saving Face’, highlights the oppression of women in Pakistan and is bound to attract ‘development projects’ which aim to facilitate women’s rights. The term ‘development’ is most commonly understood as a process of social, cultural and economic growth of a country or area perceived as ‘traditional’ rather than ‘modern’. With this premise two points come to mind. The first question raised is that should a society be injected with a ...

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Whatmore: Magician or mistake?

With the appointment of Dav Whatmore as coach of the national team, several former Pakistan players and fans have voiced the opinion that removal of Mohsin Khan from that position was an uncalled for action, considering the excellent run of results the side had enjoyed under him, notwithstanding the recent drubbing at the hands of England in the limited-overs series. However, an overview of Pakistan’s performance over the last year-and-a-half indicates that the good results that they enjoyed predate Mohsin’s appointment as interim coach. That’s why it would be unfair to the likes of former coach Waqar Younis — under ...

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Capitalism: A deal with the devil

It has been the greatest success story in the history of mankind. It has fuelled unprecedented economic, social and cultural growth, alleviated millions of people around the world from poverty and economic hardship, and ushered in a new era of technological innovation. However, while none of the political bigwigs and the so-called pariahs of the system care to admit, capitalism has created just about every problem in our world and the majority of its seven billion plus people face daily. It can be argued that terrorism global financial crises, famines, droughts and environmental changes are all the byproducts of the relentless need ...

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May I speak for the accused?

The courts are to decide the Uzma Ayub case, the alleged rape victim from Karak (a southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the fate of the 13 accused of being the rapists. However, being a native of the district, I think I have the right to speak for those among the accused, who did something good for my village and its people. One of them is Hakeem Khan, an assistant sub inspector (ASI) at the Takht-e-Nasrati police station (Takht-e-Nasrati is a tehsil in the district). Hakeem brought peace to my native village and arrested almost all the notorious gangsters, kidnappers, ...

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Suffering through Humsafar

It’s Saturday night and this room full of 18 year olds could be doing anything, anything at all. But instead we are squashed up on the sofas savouring our Magnums, because we are hungry and have no social lives. We discover, however, that neither does anyone else because the boy in the corner checking Facebook suddenly cries out: “The Humsafar finale just ended!?” Each head whips around to look at the grandfather clock on the wall. It is 9:05pm. One girl lobs her half-eaten Magnum at him. “You idiot! Why didn’t you tell me when it was 8 ’o clock! How could I ...

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‘Trashy’ tales from around town

I was walking back from a coffee shop this morning when I got a wonderful reminder of one of the failings of our city administration. I wanted to throw away my empty coffee cup and realised there wasn’t a single trash can around. There was however, a small pile of garbage every few meters, along with the dozens of cigarette butts, bottle caps and similar “pocket lint” strewn across the entire sidewalk. My friend asked, “What are you looking for?” “A trash can,” I replied. He snatched the empty cup from me and dropped it on the ground. Problem ...

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Civil servants with a conscience

Civil servants are considered to be the engine of any state machinery and their performance has a direct link with the building of a nation. It has been observed that the vested interests of the top hierarchy itself are a key hurdle in many cases to ensure good governance by victimising efficient, committed and honest public servants in one way or the other. The role of the civil servants of Pakistan has been time and again controversial in Pakistan, more or less due to being misused by the ruling elites. Victimisation of bureaucrats has been on the rise, and it ...

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Let the lawn wars begin

Come summer and all women hail the arrival of lawn — the three-piece fabric. Yes, do keep the hot weather conditions of the country in mind, but in the recent past what we have seen is the onslaught of one customer against the other, at the cash counters of great exhibits, which mostly take place in big cities of the country. This time round, things were a little different, before even winter ended in Karachi, the first lawn wars began with the adverts, with the first major exhibition by the end of January, of J Lawn by Junaid Jamshed. Come ...

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