Stories about economy

‘Kabul gets bombed 24/7’: Eight stereotypes about Kabul

A six-day long Afghan-Pakistan Youth Dialogue in Kabul changed my life forever, as I set off to a venture that helped me break stereotypes about Afghanistan. From their meritorious hospitality  to appetising cuisine, from their commendable social activism to unwavering dedication, I could pen down a novel about my week-long stay in Kabul. But for now, let me share some of the stereotypes which were shattered once I moved across Kabul myself, experiencing and collecting cherished moments. Not everyone gets bombed 24/7 Kabul is not a battlefield and rockets do not come falling over your head. Chances of you dying while driving in Kabul are higher than getting shot at. An Afghan man roller blades ...

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I keep coming back to you, Lahore

I was in Lahore last November. If I close my eyes to relive some of the city’s glory, I would not know where to start. What do I remember? What do I smell? What do I taste? What do I miss? For me, as an immigrant, that is probably the single most difficult question. “What do you miss the most back home?” How do you answer that? Do you dig up memories only you can make sense of, or do you cough up the obvious? “Oh, I miss my friends and family.” Of course you miss the important human connections in your life. But what else do you miss? I ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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Pakistan cannot afford to kick its Afghan refugees out

Pakistan’s recent policy of repatriating illegal Afghan refugees from its soil, as a reaction to the Army Public School (APS) attack in Peshawar, is being appreciated in many circles around the country. Many believe that this step would lead to a decrease in the wave of militancy that is currently gripping Pakistan. These circles believe that Afghan refugees have injected the so-called “Kalashnikov culture” in Pakistani society; that they have introduced heroin and other drugs in Pakistan, which has destroyed millions of young lives. To these people, the root cause of every crime in Pakistan is these refugees. To them, ...

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India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?

The new Rajkumar Hirani-directed Bollywood movie PK starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma has divided opinions in India. ‘#BanPK’ trended on Twitter, there were protests all over India and religious groups burnt posters of the movie at processions but the movie is in course to be the highest grossing Indian film of all time. India’s silent majority is letting its position on the issue known by supporting the movie. There are no mass protests in support of the movie but the positive reviews online and thousands of people taking to social media to praise it shows India is ready to have the ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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What good is the Shaheen1A Missile?

“Pakistan successfully test-fires Hatf-IV ballistic missile” This was the headline that greeted me a few days ago as I logged into my Facebook account. Instinctively, I clicked on it and began reading. The story discussed the launch of a new ballistic missile called the ‘Shaheen1A Missile’ which has the capacity to carry nuclear warheads to a distance of 900 kilometres (km). After skimming through the main news, and skipping the parts of what the naval chief had to say about this, I moved towards the comments section. As expected, patriots, nationalists, and whatever other jingoistic euphemism we use to explain such kind of people, ...

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How the twin-marches in Islamabad are affecting our economy

Bang! The first bullet shot in Model Town echoed through the streets of Lahore. We may never know what was going through the mind of the man who pulled that trigger or through the mind of the one who authorised it, but what followed was one of the most dramatic domino effects in the country’s recent history. Although Imran Khan will probably insist that it also has something to do with election rigging. Tahirul Qadri’s second coming, the twin marches on Independence Day and the sit-ins since then, resignations in the assemblies, the march into the Red Zone, the use of force by the government as ...

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Wait, what about Zarb-e-Azb?

This August has been defining and shaping a lot of things for us Pakistani’s, nationally and globally. I, for one, am neither a supporter of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, nor am I a non-supporter. I am just a Pakistani who wants betterment for my country; I don’t care who brings it, but I seek progress. With the long march that has been initiated by Imran Khan, and has resulted in Tahirul Qadri bringing on his own revolution, I feel that there are certain things that need to be analysed carefully. On Saturday, August 16th, 2014, Qadri announced a 48-hour deadline for his 10-point ...

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Do your parents a favour and eat at home this Ramazan

According to a recent research, people in Pakistan spend 47.7% of their income on fast food and beverages. If we compare this to the spending patterns of other countries we will realise that this is, in fact, a very high ratio. Eating out is a popular pastime for the people of Pakistan – we are seen at restaurants, food courts and even food stands during festivals and celebrations. Ramazan, ironically, is like a month of food festivities for us. With people choosing different food for sehri and iftar, in Ramazan we are seen frequenting food outlets a lot more than in any ...

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