Stories about corruption and bribery

The curse of nepotism and kinship in Pakistan

If I come for you, you come for me. If I stand for you, you stand for me. If I give you comfort and security against a flock of bloodthirsty hyenas from another tribe/caste/village, then you will do as I wish. Maybe submit your right to vote to me? This tit-for-tat espouses what we call a ‘strong sense of community’, one which takes pride in its people, its power in numbers, the idea of stability and of course coming to another’s aid in adversity. Obviously, one must be of a crude heart not to applaud such a social setting in a globalised world jostling ...

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Breaking the Curfew since 1989

“Respect for law is dying. The whole system of justice is breaking down… nobody wants a good police force as then, they would become subject to the law”. This is Karachi in the 1980s, as described by a senior police official in the book, Breaking the Curfew, published in 1989. It was written by Emma Duncan, a journalist for The Economist, during her escapade to Pakistan in the late ‘80s. The Karachi sketched in the book, when compared to the Karachi of today, sounds more like Zurich, as our elders recall. The saddest part is that the symptoms were there for all to see even then, ...

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Is Sea View a dangerous place?

Relieved to finally be done with our university exams, Asad, my best friend from university, suggested he and I decided visit Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine during our vacations. Since I had plenty of time to spare, I agreed and the two of us decided to go on Saturday early in the morning to avoid any rush. At 8am on Saturday, Asad came over and together we left, on my motorbike, for the shrine. After offering our fateha, we realised thatit was still relatively early and we didn’t have anything is specific planned out. S on our way down the stairs of ...

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5 reasons I still support Imran Khan

At least once a day, I am asked, “You support Imran Khan? Seriously?” It is mainly because I do not fit the stereotypical image people have about PTI people. Emotional, young, immature and what we call “trolls”. I like to think I am none of these. Very few in my field of work are open about their political tilts, if any. Maybe because there is a remote chance it may interfere with journalistic objectivity. However, I have been very clear since day one. Anything I report will say the truth and nothing but the truth. Even if it goes against the ...

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The car I bought

It was approximately 2am and the temperature was about three degree Celsius accompanied by a pitch-dark chilly night. A black coloured two-seater pickup took a sharp turn and then drove slowly into a quiet, murky, dimly lit street. The pick-up drove past the electric pole and pulled up near a house, where two men checked their guns and got out of the vehicle. One of them unloaded the pick-up’s boot while the other proceeded to climb up a 12 feet high electric pole which stood by the boundary wall of one of the houses. Upon reaching the top, the man took in the view of ...

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The Prado effect

Adam’s story I backed out of the driveway, closely monitoring the environment around me. This was the first time I was driving such a large vehicle and it was safe to assume that there was a very steep learning curve with regards to keeping the jeep on the road. “I need to pick up something for Natasha.” Amir squeaked from the backseat. There were around five people sitting atop each other. I nodded, glancing towards the road ahead before putting the jeep in gear. A slight tap on the accelerator and the monstrous engine roared to life, launching the vehicle onto the road. Sitting behind ...

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Is it a crime in Pakistan for a boy to drop a girl home?

A few days ago, as a friend was dropping me back home after dinner; we were pulled aside by the cops on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz road in Defence, Karachi. No dark corner or shady alley but while driving smack in the middle of a bustling road. While we pulled over the car, the men in uniform, (who in all likelihood belonged to the Darakshan police station since the area falls under that jurisdiction) asked my friend to get out of the car. As expected, he was asked to produce the required ‘kaaghzaat’ and give details of our whereabouts. Upon inspection and failing ...

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“Badshaho, we saw you kissing the girl”: To make a quick buck, the police will accuse you of anything

Going out with friends was a simple routine for me. It never bothered me whether I was going out with guys or girls since I never thought it to be much of an issue. However, in just one encounter, the Pakistani police taught me all the things that can go terribly wrong while going out with male friends. It was just another day when I went out with two of my friends from university. One of them was driving while the other sat in the front passenger seat and I took the backseat. We drove to a café located on ...

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Don’t blame Imran Khan for your own mistakes!

Imran Khan seems to have become a lightning rod for mass criticism. Aisha Ghumman’s recent blog is yet another addition to an already overflowing list of complaints against Imran Khan. In a nutshell, she questions his promises spouted during the May 2013 elections, labels him and his tactics a failure, and demands his resignation from the party. Ironically, it is the attitude of the author and not that of Imran Khan which is more reflective of why we have refused to see meaningful political change in the country. Students of philosophy and Greek mythology are familiar with Sisyphus. He was a king but his actions ...

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To survive at NADRA you must (not) obey the law?

NICOP and Smart NICOP facilities were started by NADRA in an attempt to assist overseas Pakistanis who send a considerable amount of their income to Pakistan and invest in the country despite the deplorable situation here. Here is the sad story of my pursuit to get this card.  My first attempt:  On October 20, 2013, I made my first attempt to acquire the Nicop. For that, I went to the Nadra office at Deans Trade Centre in Peshawar. After having spent two hours waiting in the queue at the token counter, I was told by the officer that the Nadra Dean Centre office did not accommodate applications for the ...

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