Stories about Bahawalpur

Imran Khan is right, Pakistan should have more than four provinces

Whenever I make any comments about Pakistan having more provinces and smaller units, the reaction is always the same, “You want to divide the country? Are you a RAW agent or what?”  So when Imran Khan promised the creation of a South Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say something intelligent for once. Imran made this promise recently as he welcomed turncoats from South Punjab into his party; defectors who enjoyed the perks and privileges of being MNAs for the past five years while saying nothing about creating a new province, until now. While supporting the demand by the Janoobi ...

Read Full Post

The slain officers of the Lahore blast deserve a better brand of respect than the medal of martyrdom we pin on them

Inspector o inspector, why is your uniform red? Are these wounds of servitude? Have they finally bled? Your gun lies unarmed by you… But the enemy has fled, Inspector o inspector, we know you toiled hard, In pouring rain and scorching sun, Over us you stood guard….. Alas today you shall rest in your grave, But today you shall hear some lad some praise, Some words like honour…others like grace, For after someone has passed, only then are we dazed… Rest now o weary inspector, you have done your deed, But those who let you down are we, And those who we chose to lead…. Neither was the hour late nor the police. Rather, they were ...

Read Full Post

Shehbaz Sharif can buy himself a helicopter, but it’s too costly to provide adequate medical facilities in Punjab?

The aftermath of the Bahawalpur tragedy is a harrowing tale of gross incompetence and disregard for human life. Before this, little emphasis has been placed on how the massive loss of life could have been avoided. For instance, Army helicopters had to be called in for transporting the burn victims to the hospital since the rescue services didn’t own one. But here’s a little fact – just three months ago, a Rs2.25 billion Russian helicopter was bought by Shehbaz Sharif for personal use. The question that should be asked here is, whether it was bought with public funds that could have been utilised elsewhere. Numerous lives could have been ...

Read Full Post

Why Taimoor Raza’s death sentence does not come as a surprise in Pakistan

Last week, an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur gave 30-year-old Taimoor Raza a death sentence for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on social media. The verdict left many stunned since it was the first time a death sentence has been given to someone for their actions online. Yet, despite it being a shocking legal decision, it was not a surprising one. At least not for those of us who have been keeping up with the country’s constantly evolving crackdown on its citizens’ cyberspace activities. For years now, activists, politicians, and journalists have bemoaned the many ways that Pakistan’s antiquated blasphemy laws can be abused. Whether it is ...

Read Full Post

My top ten memories of Pakistan

Three years is not much time in which to learn about a society as diverse, complex, and fascinating as Pakistan. However, for foreign diplomats, it is a fairly long tour. As I leave, I wanted to share with the Express Tribune readers what I hope will be an interesting and unique perspective on this great country; on some of the things that we, in the American government, have done with our Pakistani partners; and, of some of the things I have most appreciated during my time here. 1. Viewing Mughal Architecture I have lived in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan off and on ...

Read Full Post

I took a roadtrip from Karachi to Muzaffarabad and discovered real Pakistan

Pakistan is a land of plains, plateaus, mountains and a rich cultural heritage. It also has an abundance of fruits and vegetables; an abundance which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. If marketed appropriately, Pakistan’s treasures can attract a multitude of tourists. This summer, I had the opportunity of taking a road trip from Karachi to Islamabad and then Muzaffarabad, allowing me to be stunned by Pakistan’s beauty first hand. Guava Cart at Phool Nagar, near Multan. Road trips are fun but can be extremely exhausting and require a lot of planning. Drivers must be well rested, your car should be ...

Read Full Post

Hospitality – The strong dissimilarity between rural and urban Pakistanis

Earlier this year, I was in rural Punjab conducting fieldwork on a study called ‘Women’s Work in Agriculture and Nutrition’. Prior to that, I was interviewing adolescents and their families in lower income areas of Karachi for a study called ‘Being an Adolescent in Karachi’. As a surveyor, I was introduced to interview respondents by a local resource person in both settings, and although my position as a researcher was the same in both sites, I noticed a stark difference on how people treated strangers between the two sites.  In rural-southern Punjab, people’s candour, warmth, and kindness were prominent. Even though majority of ...

Read Full Post

Qadri Sahib, you cannot ‘rent’ your supporters!

Battered by the monsoon and baked by the sun, many Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) revolutionaries seem to be yearning to return home. Alas, they did not or probably could not read the fine print of the contract they signed with their political party. According to a BBC Urdu report, there is growing discontentment among a large number of protest participants who are, allegedly, not being allowed to go home. These include participants who were injured in the clashes with the police, and are ostensibly unfit to sit-in any longer. A young resident from Bahawalpur informed BBC that he’d been promised a sum of Rs6,000 to ...

Read Full Post

Everything is NOT Zia’s fault – here are 6 reasons why

In the 1980s, there was a grocery store in H-Block, Model Town Lahore, called ‘Blueberry Bakers’. Now that I think about it, I wish I had asked the owner, known to me only as ‘uncle’, why his establishment was named as such, especially since I am 100% sure the store did not have a bakery and neither did it ever offer any blueberries. Blueberry Bakers was one of my go-to points for Super Crisps and RC Cola.  While I might enjoy waxing nostalgic about where I bought junk food from as a 10-year-old, I’m guessing that’s of little interest to the ...

Read Full Post

Don’t be fooled Imran Khan, this is not your revolution

The recent political turmoil of the country could not have staged itself at a worst time than this. With the army and the nation’s sentiments tied with over thousands Internally Displace People (IDPs) in North Waziristan, the least we expected out of our politicians was a serene political climate. Instead, we were thrown in with political gimmicks and chaos; silenced and stunned by the brutal killings carried out under the suspected supervision of the chief minister, which were reciprocated later by equally disturbing acts of vigilantism displayed against the Punjab Police. The icing on the cake, however, was our ‘revolutionary genius’ asking ...

Read Full Post