Stories about campaign

The Clean Green Pakistan Index: A futile exercise?

Pakistan’s cities are ridiculously congested. They often feature a polluted water supply, over flowing garbage and toxic air pollution. As many environmentalists point out, they are gradually becoming unlivable, which is why many of us have welcomed the recent introduction of the Clean Green Pakistan Index. This index aims to encourage competition among Pakistan’s cities on various indicators like access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management and tree plantation. The index was launched in Islamabad this week and Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the example of his home-town Lahore which, in his younger days, was ...

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Why should a woman be shamed for being on her period?

I’ve been watching a recent debate unfold: students at a local university in Pakistan stuck sanitary napkins on the university walls with poignant quotes. As a woman, I admired the bravado of these students. Mainly because ever since we were kids, we’re told that since we are the ‘weaker/fairer’ sex, we shouldn’t: “Wear too much make-up”, “Wear a dupatta this way” “Wear such high heels”, “Don’t talk so loudly’, Oh yeah, and, “When on your period, channel your inner Jane Bond.” Maybe the men don’t get the whole psyche that’s inbuilt women from the age their periods start. The society has some sort of a state of ...

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Aligarh: Gay love in the time of Bollywood

All right, I am holding my hands up and I admit I was a homophobe back in the day. Like any typical Pakistani youngster, a lot of my cussing and swearing involved slurs against the gay community. Even the word ‘gay’ itself turns pejorative since it’s used with a derisive attitude in our society and considered as a general term of disparagement amongst Pakistani youth and ashamedly, I was no different. But for me personally, my days as a typical homophobic youngster changed for good when I happened to stumble upon Brokeback Mountain (2005). I am not a big fan of movies ...

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Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

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Anti-FIFA graffiti in Brazil: Could Pakistan ever protest against cricket?

The first time the World Cup caught my interest was when the official theme song was being selected. The competition between Shakira, J-lo and Pitbull was worth following because no one could predict what the amazing musicians could have up their sleeves. Although I was utterly disappointed, when Pitbull and J-lo released their unimpressive and clichéd We Are One (Ole Ola) – which was eventually selected as the theme song of the tournament – Shakira’s powerful and colourful LaLaLa Brazil 2014 was refreshing enough. I still have it on my cell-phone. On repeat, might I add. This time, my attention was caught by the FIFA World Cup ...

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Let’s do #14ActsForPakistan this August 14!

“Check the top trend on Twitter right now guys!” My colleague, Ahsan said pointing towards his laptop. This was a regular conversation for us as we sipped on our morning teas and chatted about how depressing it was to wake up so early. Perks of being in the Digital Marketing field, you can say. Yes, we take Twitter very seriously. We also take patriotism very seriously. You can tell by the green and white décor and the sound of national songs resonating within the walls of our cubicles as August 14 approaches. Anyway, we huddled around Ahsan’s laptop, peering over each other’s heads to stare at a ...

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PPP’s political campaign: Old footage doesn’t impress me

The pre-election time almost feels like walking through a busy bazaar, with each vendor calling out to grab your attention.  It is just that; candidates too are trying to sell us something. Flyers, banners, billboards and flags of political parties take the city and media by storm. Music is launched and adverts are created, all in hopes of roping in as many supporters as possible. The real question to ask is, will we buy it? Here is my take on the worst political ads that have taken over our television screens this election season: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ad:  “Kal bhi Bhutto zinda ...

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Elections 2013: Make it your decision, vote!

Come election year, political parties bring out the big guns to strengthen their political campaigns and make their case for the right to the electoral mandate. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has offered higher minimum wages in an effort to appeal to the masses, or perhaps, cloud voter decisions with promises of money The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has resigned from the Sindh government because evidently it takes five years to realise that an alliance is dysfunctional. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has shiny new buses and underpasses to show “real development”; even ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf is all set to return and ...

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Polio peace

On June 16, the Taliban shura in North Waziristan Agency, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, banned polio drops. Then, in the south, a Maulvi Nazir-led shura also banned polio vaccinations until drone strikes in the south and north are stopped. A source in the FATA secretariat health department said that thousands of children will be affected by this decision and the world media condemns it. The agency’s administration there has started negotiations with tribal elders. It has threatened to arrest them and stop all developmental work in response. A tribal elder said that the ban was imposed by the Taliban ...

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Use or abuse: How far will social media activism go?

On 26 February 2012, an unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin was shot in the chest by George Zimmerman. Minutes before the shooting Zimmerman called 911 and allegedly said – as has been proved by the release of dispatch tapes – that Trayvon “looked suspicious.” He claimed self defense and no charges were filed, however when police arrived on the scene all they found with Trayvon was a can of iced tea and a bag of candy. This incident did not explode on  mainstream American media for a while. But the uproar was loud and clear on social media platforms. It became big on Twitter, Facebook ...

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