Stories about aid

Stop criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge!

My advice, to those criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge for being a waste of water, is stop! Stop criticising long enough to understand the rare disease community and their struggles. The kind of awareness ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), has gotten over the past few weeks is the kind of well-deserved attention, I as someone who saw those closest to me suffer with a disease nobody knew off, could diagnose or had even heard off, wish and hope one day all rare diseases receive. People from all over the world have taken part in the campaign that has spread like wild fire. Celebrities ...

Read Full Post

Oh great government of Pakistan, take notice of the female aid workers in Balochistan, don’t alienate them!

On my recent trip to Balochistan, I came across examples of how women folk fare in tribal set-ups. While we, in the urban centres, believe that women are usually ignored and not allowed to contribute to society in tribal arrangements, the Baloch tradition has a very unique way of putting their women to good use. Tribal feuds and enmities usually span over generations. So when all else fails, the hidden asset – the women – is consumed. The women of the tribe seeking to reconcile are sent to the other tribe. These women then beg for forgiveness for the men folk of ...

Read Full Post

India does not want to invade Pakistan and the US is not our enemy!

India no longer considers Pakistan a threat. Let’s face it. India is poised to become a global economic engine; its economy is the 10th largest and third by Purchasing Power Parity. India is a member of the G4 and has recently acquired almost absolute control of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Having a G4 membership alone raises India’s global influence. Further, the day is near when India would be a permanent member in the UN Security Council. India played its cards well and is a potential super-power. It is time for Pakistan to come out of its shell of denial and recognise India’s swift ...

Read Full Post

Disaster victims are boring, lets cover Bollywood instead

Did you know that the estimated number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is around one million according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)? Did you know that another 1.5 million were affected by floods this year according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)? There are 1.2 million people in Pakistan urgently in need for winter items this season. I am quite sure that most people are unaware of these statistics. This is because the content on TV channels is driven by sensationalism which is essential to win the ratings race. Hence, we only ...

Read Full Post

Nawaz Sharif visits Obama, but the US is a ‘master’, not a ‘friend’

The title, as many would have noticed, is one inspired by Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s book, Friends not Masters. However, with the passage of time the Pak-US friendship has deteriorated and unfortunately, we are no more their equals. A stark comparison can be seen between Ayub’s era and the present. In 1961, when the president of Pakistan landed in Washington, the US military forces were lined up to receive him. There was fanfare and the Pakistani flag waved in all its glory above them. The American public was present at the airport alongside the legendary President Kennedy and the First Lady to ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

I’m not ready to live in Imran’s Pakistan

Its 2013 and by some unlikely miracle of sheer inqilabi (revolutionary) voting, Imran Khan has been elected prime minister and his party is in power. Wait a minute – what party? That’s right, a hefty gang full of  loafers and bitter ex-politicians out for rival blood. Looking at those lining up to be given party tickets so far, the PTI may as well take Sheikh Rasheed, Pir Pagara and Musharraf on board (something I’ve suggested before). Let’s face it – for Imran to win the elections, he will (and is) turn to the same old faces, using the same old tools to come ...

Read Full Post

Yes, we can…live without foreign aid

Unbeknown to most, the Pakistan Army does not need to adhere to unreasonable American demands because of its dependence on American aid. The Pakistan army has enough financial resources to meet its most immediate needs – the operations in FATA – and to completely modernize its creaky armoury. Simply put, the Pakistan Army doesn’t have to wince at American threats to withhold aid. Never mind the TV pundits who warn of doomsday lest America stops giving us aid, because it might actually herald some desperately-needed reforms. Let’s look at one of the least obscure illustrations of our military’s largess: Lahore cantonment ...

Read Full Post

Dear Bob Geldof, where are you?

Dear Bob Geldof, Where are you? Somalia is screwed. Famine has caused thousands of Somalis to leave their homes and head across the border to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, in hopes of receiving food and aid from international aid agencies. They are finding little help! The other day, on the news, I saw a woman who had to keep tying rope around her stomach to stop her hunger pangs so she could take care of her children. (I can’t remember if that was for Somalia or Pakistan). Starving refugees stand in line, hours on end, outside the Mogadishu’s Badbaado Camp kitchen, holding ...

Read Full Post

Sino-Pak relations: Beyond the rhetoric

Just a day after the US suspended $800 million aid to Pakistan, a news story appeared in major newspapers of the subcontinent. In Pakistan it read, China has pledged support to Pakistan when US has suspended its assistance. In India it read, Pakistan would be leaning on the Chinese to fill in the gap created by suspension of US aid and the Chinese would acquiesce. What actually happened was that Hong Lei, spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while answering questions during a routine briefing responded to a US aid suspension question in a very measured way. While avoiding commenting on ...

Read Full Post