Stories about infrastructure

How can you expect international tourists to visit Pakistan when even the locals avoid it?

Pakistan is beautiful; there are no second thoughts about it. It is common to see videos making rounds on social media and the internet that show breathtaking landscapes of Pakistan. The purpose for most of them is to appeal to viewers to visit these places and witness the wonders of nature. We see people tagging their family and friends on such posts, making plans about their next trip. However, in most cases, the decision to take a trip isn’t based solely on how beautiful the place is rather the means, resources, security and facilities available there are taken into account. Recently, ...

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Let’s talk about Pakistan’s spiralling circular debt

Power-sector circular debt has become a subject of hot discussion as the media bandies the government’s efforts in securing emergency finance from external sources. Although various explanations of the cause and potential solutions to this crisis have been published in academic circles, very little of this has been understood by the population of Pakistan. Unsurprisingly, none of the discourse has translated into action at the policy level. Circular debt At its core, circular debt is the state’s outstanding financial obligations to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for supplied power, and to vendors for fuel consumed by state-owned power plants. The problem For decades, the ...

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The sea is calling: The crumbling reality of Karachi’s Hawkesbay beach

With its 27-kilometre long coastline, Karachi is lined with beaches in the south. Dotted with fishing villages, these beaches are one of the main sources of recreation and entertainment for the citizens of the metropolis. One of the most frequently visited of these is Hawkesbay, a public beach with free access situated near Kemari town. The tragedy, however, is that it has little to offer to the residents of the city. Cleanliness and hygiene, bumpy roads, absence of basic infrastructure including huts, public toilets and restaurants, are some of the issues that need to be addressed but so far very ...

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Is China making Pakistan a client-state with its ‘debt-book diplomacy’?

In Pakistan, China is the most active and positive economic force. So much so that continued cooperation between the two countries is supported by virtually all sides of this otherwise deeply divided country. Everyone from the Taliban to the secularist military leaders view Chinese investment as a boon to the country, the main source of job creation, and, in all truth, the most promising source of kickbacks for themselves. It certainly is the case that the infrastructure projects part of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative are the most significant economic development stimulus in the economically underdeveloped country, and the ...

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The only country that can realistically help India out of the Sikkim jam is Pakistan

Earlier last month, the Indian military showed up in the Dokalam region to stop the Chinese from building a road. This area falls under the Bhutan tri-junction which is a sliver of land where China, India and Bhutan meet. The incident came into light when some Indian pilgrims, on their way to Tibet, were sent back to the border. Since then, both countries have been providing their own version of the same tale. The eastern border of India with China is governed by an 1890 agreement brokered by the British. It has been fairly uneventful since then, except for the 1962 border skirmish between the two nations. Since the incident with the pilgrims, India and China ...

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Why are you silent on the amnesty bill for property sector thieves, Imran Khan?

It has finally happened. For the past five months, our government strongly resisted pressure from property sector players to grant them amnesty to retain stolen money. This week, the National Assembly – composed mainly of crooks – approved a bill which will enable these thieves to whiten their black money by paying back only 3% of the amount that they have looted from the nation. Property investors and builders are jubilant. This scheme allows them to whiten seven trillion rupees instantly, while paying a piddling amount to the exchequer. Prices of their plots, bungalows and apartments will undergo a phenomenal increase, making it impossible ...

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No Air China, your racist advice was not needed

Pak-China relations have always been formidable mainly because China is Pakistan’s closest ally and staunch business partner in large-scale infrastructure projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The two countries often express loud protestations about their eternal friendship and cooperation in light of India’s anti-Pakistan aggression and sentiment. So it would seem the overtly favourable sentiment expressed by the diplomats of both countries would be mirrored by the inhabitants of China.  However, this wasn’t the case when a seemingly innocuous statement mentioned in Air China’s in-flight magazine offered travel advice about living in London. The statement was splashed over social media for all the wrong ...

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It’s good to be back…

There are expats and then there are people like me, returnees. I’m going to take a literary liberty – without meaning to offend any intellectuals – and call myself an ‘inpat’. I think people like me deserve a special made-up name. Mine is a story like many others. I went to London 25 years ago to study and it took me that long to return. Not because I was particularly dumb and took 25 years to finish my education, but because the rat race rollercoaster of life took over. To cut a long story short, after 13 years in London ...

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10 horribly lame excuses people make when you ask them to travel within Pakistan

I have been travelling all across Pakistan for a few years now. It’s feasible for me to travel within the country considering my low budget and nominal income, as travelling within Pakistan compared to travelling abroad is cheaper, and believe it or not – it’s safe too. My admirers appreciate my lifestyle as I explore the diversity and beauty of Pakistan. They express their desire on wanting to experience the same adventure, yet come up with excuses not to, and end up travelling abroad instead. Excuses like, my dog ate my homework! Not literally, but their excuses fall under the same ...

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Why the floods in Chitral are not a natural calamity

Last week marked the most devastating surge of floods in Chitral in over a decade. The destruction has been, according to the word of mouth, “everywhere and colossal”. Infrastructure has been grounded, a number of roads have almost disappeared, electricity has been out for days, and for days to come, clean drinking water will be a scarce commodity. People living along the river bank have lost their homes and land, and economic activities in majority of the areas have been hampered. As many as 60,000 people have been displaced in 26 flood-hit villages. While we have heard stories of unbelievably huge floods from our parents and grandparents, ...

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