Stories about infrastructure

K-Electric boasts of massive profits, but Karachi still does not have electricity

Three years ago, I wrote a blog praising K-Electric’s improving standards, and in general, the blog was received well by Karachiites. Clearly, many of us were in agreement about the power company’s progress as a service provider. Rolling blackouts in areas where customers were paying bills regularly were less frequent than before. At the same time, the company formerly known as KESC had adopted social media to allow more avenues of communication. There was also a marked improvement in customer service and a faster reaction time from the repair teams. At the time, I expected this to only be the beginning of K-Electric’s upward trajectory. As ...

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Aao Parhao – My experience in a Pakistani school

I have been privileged to attend some of the best schools across the globe. My primary schooling was initiated at an American international school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After eight years at this school, I then moved to Pakistan with my family where I attended an all-girls school in Islamabad, Pakistan.  This was a prestigious establishment and I attended at the same time as Bakhtawar Bhutto, even though she was always flanked with guards and extra security. However, making the transition from an American school to a Pakistani one wasn’t easy. All of a sudden, I had to deal with a ...

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7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere. This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes: 1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI): ‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’ In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine ...

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Help, I am a pedestrian!

While walking in Lahore, I stepped onto the footpath like any other pedestrian. I had only walked for five minutes when I realised that being a pedestrian in Pakistan is the saddest thing that can happen to a person. Apart from the government, that waves away the concerns of pedestrians quite often, car owners also make sure that things are not easy for those walking on the road. This wasn’t the first time I had walked down the street. In fact, I have been a pedestrian for eight years now. I have always been an outdoor person and hence, I enjoy walking and ...

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Goals for the incoming government: Tell us where all our money has gone

The last five years have only strengthened my position that although sound economic policy may not be the answer to all our problems, mishandling issues of public debt has the potential to break the fragile sovereignty that Pakistan stands on. I often hear about roti, kapra, makaan (food, clothing, shelter) and the plight of the vast majority of Pakistanis; the end of the energy crisis, reducing the national debt, handling the law and order situation, and tackling the double-digit inflation rate. These are all necessary steps to sustain us into the future, and I commend anyone in public office who dedicates their ...

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General elections and Rawalpindi

The general elections are around the corner. Although an actual date for the elections has not been announced by the government, every politician is trying to complete development projects in his/her constituency. As a resident of the federal capital, when I look towards neighbouring Rawalpindi, I see elected officials in every constituency focusing on development projects. The urban parts of the city seem to have emerged as a major hub of the PML-N, which is probably because the Punjab government has executed a number of important development projects there since coming to power. Sometimes, being a resident of Islamabad, I cannot help ...

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Twenty things I love about Lahore

Lahore and I have always had a complicated relationship. The city can plunge me deep into an abyss of depression at will, yet it’s the sole antidote to depression I know of. It reminds me of various people, family members and others, who passed away; yet it’s a place that still makes me want to live. I would choose Lahore over any other city of Pakistan if given the choice. So it’s only after 20 years of my acquaintance with Lahore, countless memories, ample experiences and an article in The Express Tribune Magazine entitled ’10 things I hate about Lahore’ (which ...

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Euro 2012: So Poland and Ukraine can host but not Pakistan?

The UEFA‘s decision to choose Poland and Ukraine as hosts for the Euro 2012 was dealt with criticism and rightfully so: The two countries are known for their hostile attitudes. Poland, where 96.7% of population is pure Polish, is ranked number 14 in the list of the most racist countries in Europe. Ukraine, which has a whopping 78% of pure Ukrainians, has bagged the 23rd position on the list. However, we were not aware of the situation regarding racism in Ukraine and Poland before the release of the famous BBC documentary “Stadiums of Hate”. ...

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Reviving tourism in Swat

Known for its dazzling beauty with high-peak mountains, lush green valleys, spectacular waterfalls and magical lakes, Swat Valley has remained a tourist’s paradise. Containing thousands of years of history, the valley is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its rich cultural heritage and various civilisations which sprang there. Apart from summer tourism, the valley offers much more for winter tourists. Every year, the skiing slope of Malam Jabba is swarmed with tourists who enjoy the serene environment and hills covered in snow. Tourism, apart from agriculture, is the backbone of Swat’s economy. More than half of ...

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Connecting our cities not just with flyovers but with people

What do you want Islamabad to look like in 2042? If there’s anything the geography component of O’ Level Pakistan Studies taught me, it was to appreciate my city. One of the chapters was “Population in Pakistan”  full of sketches of villagers moving to new cities. A friend underlined one reason given in the textbook for rural-urban migration: Bright lights. “Of all things, that’s why people migrate?” she asked with a bemused laugh. But that is true to some extent as Karachi is a city of bright lights. Take a ride at night and the billboards will prove this. Is your ...

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