Stories about funding

3 lessons Pakistani politicians can learn from Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders announced his second shot at the presidency of the United States last Tuesday. In 2016, he lost to the then-candidate Hillary Clinton in a close contest that pitted ‘big money’ against ‘big people’. Later it was discovered that the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the organisation that oversees the nomination of the Democratic party, had heavily favoured Clinton when they were supposed to stay neutral. This left a sense of unfinished business for Sanders’ supporters who felt cheated by the DNC. Big money won that time, but this time it’s different. After announcing his run for presidency, Sanders has ...

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From Gilgit Baltistan to New York: Leo was lucky to escape the death cells that are Pakistan’s zoos

On a random Wednesday morning, I ended up strolling inside the Bronx Zoo in New York. Don’t ask me what I was doing at the zoo on a weekday, but I’ll tell you this: Wednesdays are free for visitors. Yes, this was a cheap move, but I was actually only having a stroll to see if this is a place I can bring my younger nieces to, should they visit me coming summer. At the Bronx Zoo, I met another visitor from Pakistan that I wouldn’t have imagined I would meet even in my wildest of imaginations. Hold on to your ...

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Hide my terrorist bakra

Bakra Eid or Eidul Azha is here. With the new government being sworn in, there is more news coverage of the political situation in the country rather than the festival which always garners great interest in Pakistan. One serious issue, which pops its head every year during Eidul Azha, is of course of the collection and utilisation of animal hides. As early as food stalls pop up all over the city, volunteers from different organisations start visiting houses, requesting the donation of the animal hides to their ‘deserving’ organisation. As mundane as this sounds, anyone living in Pakistan knows ...

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Oman’s inspiring cricket journey

Oman’s meteoric rise in international cricket took the world by surprise, much like Afghanistan’s. It all began during the Asian Cricket Council T20 Cup. Relentless prayers back home finally went answered in 2014 as Afghanistan took on the big names in the Asia Cup. Photo AFP Oman entered the World T20 2016 qualifier as the underdog, was ranked 16th in the world and was up against some of the Associate heavyweights. With nothing to lose, Oman played for the thrill of the game. After suffering an early defeat at the hands of Kenya, Oman went on to beat the much experienced Netherlands, Afghanistan and ...

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Why conditional state funding of madrassas can be a sound policy move

A heated debate has ensued over the allocation of PKR 300 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government in the 2016-17 budget announced recently. The critics view this as a reward for a seminary that is notorious for its regressive world view and alleged support for violent extremism that earned it the title of ‘University of Jihad’ from Washington Post. Yet, there are plenty of reasons why conditional funding of madrassas, if pursued with caution, can be a prudent policy move by the provincial government to tackle religious extremism.   It is important to remember here that ...

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Perhaps Pakistan can learn from Austria’s madrassas

A year before a mosque in Kanpur (pre-partition India) was razed by our British overlords to pave way for a road, and while a Jinnah-less Muslim League was yet to overhaul its objectives – which until then asserted that ‘the party shall work towards manifesting a sense of loyalty to Britain’ – to work towards creation of a Muslim majority state (Pakistan was still a very distant idea), Austria passed a remarkably inclusive law, setting an example for the rest of the European countries. In 1912, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph passed an act guaranteeing its small minority of Muslims royal patronage by making Islam ...

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Caught between conspiracies

Members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have decided to show solidarity with their leader, Altaf Hussain, by demonstrating their street power on May 25, 2014 in Karachi. The MQM chief has been under investigation, for money laundering charges, in London for nearly a year now. Though the UK authorities have been unable to prove the charges with substantial evidence, for the time being, Altaf’s accounts have been frozen. Like any other political party, MQM’s major source of income is through donations, which it collects from its supporters locally and around the globe. Altaf  Hussain, the party chief who moved to ...

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The Iran-Pak pipeline: Who’s funding this project anyway?

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline formerly known as the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline was conceptualised in 1989 to supply India with hydrocarbon resources. Pakistan was set to play only the role of a transiting state as the need for natural gas in the country were substantially lower than what they are today. However the matter was brought to a standstill due to unstable relations between India and Pakistan, it was only after Pakistan agreed to give a sovereign guarantee to India did the matter progress. By this time Iran, due to its nuclear program, was pressured by the United Nations Security Council via sanctions and embargoes. ...

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Party campaigns: Where does their money come from?

Nearly all of us spend hours debating what our country needs, and almost every time we end up with the same list of priorities; education, eradication of corruption, job opportunities and other such basics. While I do agree that we require the above mentioned things, I also think that there is something else that we need on an urgent basis in our political system and which no one seems to be talking about it; campaign finance reforms. Even though it is the giant elephant in the room, I find it surprising that I have never come across a single discussion on it. For those ...

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Limping towards polio eradication

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Nigeria as the four ‘polio endemic’ countries of the world. It’s distressing to learn that according to WHO surveys, nearly 80% of all polio cases reported from these states come from Pakistan, with 144 confirmed cases in 2010 and 57 reported during the first half of this year. This trend, despite consistent efforts to combat the disease through mass immunisation campaigns across urban and rural localities, poses many questions. Health and social sector experts reiterate several obvious reasons for Pakistan’s inability to control polio like other countries, despite massive global ...

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