Stories about help

Will Musharraf’s treason trial help democracy in Pakistan?

Dictators and enemies of democracy would do well to listen to the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s advice,  “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” It was more than a decade after the country’s first democratically elected popular leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by a dictator that his daughter, Benazir Bhutto returned with an impressive mandate. Today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has returned to the political driving seat after a decade, with almost a clear majority while the dictator who ousted him from power, lingers in a sub-jail. In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Sharif’s government has initiated a case of high ...

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Pir Sahab’s orders: Don’t breast-feed your child or eat meat

Recently, a two-month old boy, Faizan, was brought to the hospital where I work, by his grandmother. She complained that he suffered from severe diarrhoea. I immediately asked her to bring Faizan’s mother so that we could establish breast-feed for the baby. We are currently in the process of educating mothers about the importance of breast-feeding at our malnutrition stabilization centre, and are trying to help them establish or re-establish breast feeding. In reply to my request, she answered, “Who tou nahi ayegi kyunke uska perhaiz hai.” (She won’t come because she is on abstinence.) Seeing my perplexed expression, she told me ...

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A bus ride with a convict, a drug dealer and an old lady

Travelling can help an individual understand different aspects of society and it also gives one a clearer perspective about the world. Having said as much, when I left Lahore to visit my home town Sialkot, I did not have the faintest idea as to what was in store for me! I reached the terminal, just in time to board a bus leaving for Sialkot. The weather was pleasant, so I decided to travel in a non-air conditioned bus. Although I had never been in a non-air conditioned bus before, I thought that this would save me money and perhaps, I could enjoy the weather ...

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A short guide to help you with the NTS-GAT exam for Pakistani universities

Graduate Assessment Test (GAT), which is also sometimes known as the local Graduate Record Examination (GRE), is a prerequisite test taken in order to get admission into any M Phil in almost all Pakistani universities. Moreover, it is required for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) scholarships. Naturally, students in the last semester/year of their graduation get worried about their GAT exams, as their future is dependent on how well they do in these papers. So what is the GAT really? As obvious by its name, it is a test which is designed to assess the skills and abilities gained in the 16 ...

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Forget NUST, our Baloch brethren need our help

NUST was the top trend on Twitter this week. 48 hours ago an earthquake of 7.7 magnitude struck Balochistan, the tremors of which were felt in Karachi and as far as Delhi. Tragically, over 300 people have died in Balochistan and according to The Express Tribune, 40,000 houses have been flattened. All the while, Nust remained top trend on Twitter. (News) #Balochistan quake death toll nears 350 http://t.co/2o5vUpPDoK #Pakistan #earthquake — The Express Tribune (@etribune) September 26, 2013 Photo: Reuters Most people seem to have forgotten that a tragedy far bigger than Nust’s dress code has struck Pakistan; either this or ...

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Being a nice guy

I was speeding away on my bike when I heard an agonised moan coming from a man, sprawled on the roadside. He was begging for help. I just couldn’t bring myself to drive away without stopping to see what had happened, because, let’s face it – I am Pakistani, and like all Pakistanis, I love a spectacle. I parked my bike close to the man and examined him. He was writhing in a pool of his own blood, twisting in agony. He had been hit badly and at this time of the night, I knew no one would come to ...

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My Christian house help: Pakistan never wants its minorities to succeed

Pakistan’s fertility rate is likely to drop if women marry at an older age: that argument stands on its own considerable merit, because a young woman is likely to conceive more easily and often at this most fertile time of her life, but other factors also contribute to the high fertility rate. In Pakistan, children are not just a source of joy, but necessary pillars that support parents in the parents’ old age. This is true of all cultures, but it acquires an imperative urgency in societies like ours. Insaan Masih is a young man of no education but an innate sense of ...

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Yes, we get depressed. Here’s my story

My father keeps telling me NOT to be so honest about getting depression or taking medication or going to a shrink. He thinks it will affect my chances of getting married. But at a chronically single 36 years, I think it’s safe to say many more extenuating factors are at work there. There are two reasons I have always been brutally honest about having had depression. 1. As a journalist, at my core is always a hankering for the truth, telling the truth and being unafraid to do so. Morally speaking, I would be a hypocrite if I expected other people to tell the ...

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Growing change in your backyard

Not too long ago, a select group of people got together to talk about urban innovation in Islamabad. But they weren’t all talk. These like-minded individuals, driven by a common goal to give back to the system, brought something new to the table. We’re talking TedxCity 2.0, independent talks designed to share ideas worth spreading on the cities we inhabit. In a nutshell, they were a reminder of our collective social responsibility and the realisation that it can manifest itself in various forms; that it does not require any amount of overthinking to give away leftover food to the underprivileged and ...

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God works in mysterious ways

As you drive down the road connecting Zamzama with Khayaban-e-Shujaat, you come across a market, at the border of Defence and Clifton Cantonment. The road itself winds down into Shujaat and if you are of the ilk, it shall take you down to the Sunday Bazaar in Defence Phase VIII. In front of this market are a set of fruit and vegetable thela walas (street vendors), lined up against the wall of Zamzama Park. That section of the road is peppered with cars buying fruits according to their purchasing power. Inside the park, oblivious to their proximity, a legion of affluent ...

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