Stories about citizens

Letter to be signed by 100 people to the ECP

Justice Mr Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Chief Election Commissioner, Pak Secretariat, Block 44 A Shahrah-e-Iraq, Saddar Karachi ————————————————- Citizens’ demand ————————————————– Honourable sir, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has a historic opportunity to forever change the dark and disreputable politics of Pakistan. Free and fair elections will remain hollow clichés unless the ECP acts to purge the past violators and creates an effective filtration process for the future lawmakers. We, the ‘Citizens for Fair Elections’ demand that the Election Commission put an end to the eternal recycling of political sewage by taking the following bold steps: 1. Disqualify all fake degree holders: The ECP should order the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to ...

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Lahore’s new bus service

The inhabitants of Lahore have already started to bear externalities of the Metro Bus service – a multi-billion-rupee public project designed to facilitate transport – before it becomes functional. People whose houses and shops have been demolished are crying for their rights. The compensation of the damage is a big issue for the people of Lahore. The Punjab government, in order to put to use the gift of 100 secondhand buses announced by Istanbul mayor Kadar Tobash, started the Metro Bus project in the city to allow commuters a journey of international standards. It allocated Rs10 billion as the budget during ...

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Can a non-Muslim hero be honoured in Pakistan?

That Pakistan is afflicted with the evils of bigotry and prejudice is no secret. But however much one gets accustomed — sadly, even immune — to this state of affairs, one is still left aghast at the extremely narrow worldview held by certain quarters. The recent backlash that was witnessed against the Dilkash Lahore Committee’s proposal — later thankfully approved by the city’s district coordination officer — to rename Fawara Chowk in Shadman after Bhagat Singh, the pre-Independence Indian freedom fighter, is a case in point. Now, one could have disagreed with this proposal on various grounds. One may argue that however ...

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Political aims of the public: Know your civic responsibilities first

For most of us, politics is a dirty game of false promises on the part of the leadership. It is used to routinely obscure laws that protect the corrupt and shows the extreme ignorance of politicians. We have certain parameters set in our minds – so and so will be voted for, so and so will be ousted but the same faces will return again. Henceforth, and sadly enough, ‘us’ as a nation and ‘we’ the public, limit our ‘political’ responsibility to casting a vote and critically examining events for the next five (or ten) years, depending on who ascends the ...

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Want rescue? Please hold indefinitely

I was standing in the kitchen with my mother when we heard a vehicle come to a screeching halt on the main road we live across. As I peered out of the window, I saw the red car slam into what looked like a pick-up truck. There was a loud bang and then both the vehicles turned upside down on impact. Immediately I grabbed the phone and dialled 15.  The recorded voice of a woman asked me to hold and I did. This went on for around five precious minutes before the operator picked up. “Hello Madam, Rescue 15.” “Hello. There has ...

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Connecting our cities not just with flyovers but with people

What do you want Islamabad to look like in 2042? If there’s anything the geography component of O’ Level Pakistan Studies taught me, it was to appreciate my city. One of the chapters was “Population in Pakistan”  full of sketches of villagers moving to new cities. A friend underlined one reason given in the textbook for rural-urban migration: Bright lights. “Of all things, that’s why people migrate?” she asked with a bemused laugh. But that is true to some extent as Karachi is a city of bright lights. Take a ride at night and the billboards will prove this. Is your ...

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Once upon a basant

It’s that time of the year again when the frosty blues and grays enveloping  start to disappear and in their place awakens a plethora of colours, fresh and vibrant as if after a long hibernation. As if by magic, people’s spirits start to soar and life starts looking more – excuse the pun – ‘sunny’. This reminds me of the time when I was growing up – when as soon as the flowers started appearing, so did kites all over the sky, with people getting ready for the much awaited Basant festival. I loved everything about Basant when I was a kid. My ...

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My problem with your staring problem

My daily walk from my point stop to my apartment is nothing less than torture for me; not because I am exhausted after a tiring day at college and my legs are unable to bear that five-minute stress; but because the dear men of my beloved nation are suffering from the staring syndrome. Whether I am wearing jeans with a shirt or am covered in a burqa, there are three points in that five-minute walk where I feel people eyeing me with extreme interest. The first is an under construction building, where poor and ...

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Left to die in an old age home

In her article for The Express Tribune, reporter Rabia Ali wrote: How an elderly Mehmooda Begum was left at an old home is heart breaking. Tired of eating porridge which was served to her every day, she decided to cook food for herself one day. The daal she made got her a black eye and a forceful admission to the old people’s center by her son. As Mehmooda recalls her story, miles away from her family at the largest old home of the city, her lips quiver and her kohl-lined eyes fill up with tears. Her youngest son, and his wife, ...

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I love my country. Do you?

This is a question that’s debated quite often these days, by both, people who have lived in this country and those who are of Pakistani origin but live overseas. Often, seen in the drawing rooms as the tea trolley moves around, the argument grows to be a heated one but the million dollar question remains, “Who loves their country Pakistan, the most — the residents or the expats?” Come to think of it, each group has a role to play inside Pakistan or outside of it. And we don’t need to love Pakistan and be patriotic because we listen to ...

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