Stories about corruption

None of these people represent me! Why can’t I vote ‘none of the above’?

You know what, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), I wanted to exercise the ‘none of the above’ option in my vote but you backed out by deciding against introducing it. I don’t know, nor do I care if I was alone in rejoicing the commission’s decision to put in that option in the ballot paper, because for the first time, I thought I would go and vote my heart out. I would rather go to the ballot and tell the world that none of these people represent me. This is so much better than just sitting back and not casting one’s vote ...

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The tug of war between transporters and cops

Waiting at traffic signals on the busy roads of Karachi, you can see motorcyclists, rickshaws, car drivers and even the big public transport bus drivers breach the signals because they don’t have a minute to spare for it to turn green. They ram into each other or nearly crush somebody at the other side, just to save this minute. You smile inside your helmet or your car when you think of this nation that always reaches, at least, an hour late at every event or meeting, though they don’t have a minute for the traffic signal. When the signal turns ...

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Musharraf returns: Give the devil his due!

The former dictator is back, and this time, he is not wearing his uniform. I seriously do not know what our dear Commando is up to; do I hear anyone chanting “Pervez Musharraf Zindabad”? A very small number of people, gathered outside Karachi airport to welcome Musharraf upon his return and this did not portray the entirely rosy picture he had painted for himself. As expected, and rightly so, the government had cancelled the congregation that was to greet Musharraf at his arrival and I think that bit of reality served him well. However, his return has made me recall the ...

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Recovering my stolen car from the police

There is no worse experience than buying your own stolen car back and from none other than the police itself. Such has been the experience that my friend and I went through when the Islamabad police informed us that my friend’s car, which was stolen months back, had been recovered. Looking for a car stolen in Pakistan is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Recovering it from the authorities, once it has been found, is an even bigger hassle. Little did we know, enroute to Islamabad from Lahore, that to recover the car it will not just be a ...

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A visual guide to the political circus in Pakistani media

Five years of democracy has meant a great deal of ups and downs for the free media. There has been a lot of drama, and occasionally some substance. Politicians returned from the wilderness into a completely changed world and had to adapt quickly. New phrases, techniques and protocols had to be developed and on most occasions, the result – apart from tragedy – was hilarity! Here are a few of the best trends that caught on in the Pakistani media. “Dekhein ghaltian tou sab se hui hein” (We’ve all made mistakes) The best of the trends came right at the start. Several politicians were ...

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Pay no attention to me, I am just a Pakistani citizen

I am nothing but a pawn to be thrown around in a game I do not choose to play. Nothing I own belongs to me. I have surrendered it all to the chaos I call my homeland. Consider my cell phone. I pay a considerable sum to be able to connect with the people in my life. I part with hard-earned cash every month in order to make calls and send text messages upon my will. It is my security against inconveniences and possible emergencies. Yet, I wake up every week to news that my right to communicate via cellular networks will ...

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Tahirul Qadri’s ‘Arab Spring’ façade –

The emergence of Tahirul Qadri as the sole ‘saviour’ to the people of Pakistan has not failed to attract much media attention. “A revolution journey has begun,” his words echoed at public gatherings from Lahore to Karachi. Quite undoubtedly, Qadri has come forth with an elaborate agenda which deals with getting rid of corrupt rulers, but the strategy he has devised is far from being prudent to achieve this purpose. Though the emerging leader seems to have taken charge of a fast-changing political scenario, several questions still remain unanswered. For instance, Qadri fails to explain how Pakistan is similar to countries which experienced ...

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My political leanings may have changed, but I still love you BB

Maybe it has to do with the fact that she was a woman. She was a flame snuffed out much before it’s time….an everlasting Shakespearean tragedy. Perhaps, the candle in the wind. Maybe it is because I am a Sindhi, and somewhere it is in my blood and bones to have a soft corner for the Bhuttos (please leave the Zardari clan out of that allegiance). Maybe it was her grace and eloquence. Maybe she was the rebel against forces of oppression that I wanted to be when I grew up. She was my hero when I was an emotional little ...

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I want to be part of the corruption brigade, don’t you?

As a Pakistani, I really want to be a part of the corruption brigade; after all, it is the biggest business in this country, right? Recurrent news about the level of corruption in Pakistan explains that in the past four years, people in power can easily pocket around Rs8.5 trillion!  This encourages me to focus on a single point agenda to pursue ─ how can I become corrupt? I guess majority of the Pakistani youth is also thinking along the same lines. Apparently, there is no need to think of another option because this one is the most convenient. Pursuing another career ...

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Prevention is better than cure

Not for the first time, a court order has gotten the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in a tough fix. After the Islamabad High Court ordered the formation of a three-member panel of retired judges to investigate allegations of corruption in the CDA, more than a few serving and former CDA officials would have broken out in cold sweats. The CDA is not by any means a model organisation. Civic problems go unaddressed for weeks, lower staff goes unpaid for months, projects are delayed by years, and corruption has been rampant since its inception. The new chairman hasn’t been in office ...

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