Stories about infrastructure

Crowded classrooms: 3 teachers for 500 students

Often young minds, unaware of the notion of enlightenment, tend not to be inspired with a desire to learn, progress and achieve.  They fail to comprehend the significance of education and that its absence can lead to an irreparable personal loss.This leaves them with the ‘monotony’ of school and a mushrooming culture, of neglected nurturing, of their innate inquisitive nature. Why is this so? One of the major factors is the gradual increase in the high student-teacher ratio in public schools of Pakistan. According to the data provided by Unesco in 2008, Pakistan has the most crowded classrooms in South Asia. The ...

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Functional cities need mass transit

Much has been said and written about lack of predictable and efficient public transport system in Pakistan’s major cities – to no avail. Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, who built a swirling network of flyovers and signal-free corridors during his four-year tenure, was smarter than that to realise, and voice, that adding more roads was only a short-term solution. True unclogging of our major cities’ blocked arteries would happen when you remove a significant number of vehicles from the road, which is only possible when you provide commuters with a viable public transport option. But the argument for a mass ...

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Kalma Chowk, you will be remembered

A lot of criticism is in the air about the “fall of the Kalma chowk” as if it is the fall of the Pakistan economy. Many people, all of a sudden seem to have loads of memories associated with Kalma chowk – which were probably made while staring at it, waiting to get across the signal. Protests, SMS’ and even Facebook pages have been made and dedicated to the discussion over the loss of this beautiful piece of architecture. The government’s personal interest in building the flyover is a by-product of the discussion. This is a perfect example for why I support ...

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Building Pakistan brick by brick

Living in Pakistan far from home and my friends, it’s only natural that there are moments when I wonder what exactly I’m doing here. Then there are prophetic moments when the clarity of my purpose washes over me with force. This was a moment of comprehension: At Ansaar Management Company (AMC), we were  quite literally, laying the foundation for Pakistan’s future. In a country that sees more poverty than its government is willing to prioritise, a lack of affordable housing means that 30-50 per cent of one’s hard earned rupees go to paying rent.  When $120 per month is considered a normal family income, it’s hard ...

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Failed projects and infringed human rights

The CDA has been going through a tumultuous period since the incumbent government came to power, with budget surpluses disappearing amid overly ambitious revenue projections, delayed projects and overlapping organisational roles following the inception of CADD and the PM’s task force on Islamabad. The latest cockamamie scheme was to replace the light bulbs in streetlights around Islamabad with LEDs, based on the argument that it would save money in the long term and reduce the strain on the national electricity grid. The phrase you must spend money to make money goes back at least 2,000 years, and the civic body appears ...

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FIFA World Cup: England’s thinly veiled bigotry

The barrage of racism England emits when it comes to football is truly shocking. Less than a year ago, sceptics and fools were united in their disparagement of an African Football World Cup. When quite convincingly proved wrong by a splendidly organised tournament by the South Africans, English bloggers and Tweeple turned their irrational gripes onto vuvuzelas, as if these innocuous horns were the epitome of all that was wrong with foreigners staking their claim on the sport. On December 2, it was announced that the World Cup 2018 is to be held in Russia, and 2022 in Qatar. England, ...

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The Chai Party Manifesto of Pakistan

The recent rise of the TEA Party in the US has made me realise how important alternative voices are within main stream politics. The fact that a bunch of people who were angry at government policies started a protest movement that eventually became a viable political force in elections is an amazing achievement. It made me wonder why we don’t have something like that in Pakistan. Rather than whining and crying over the stupidity of our rulers, why not put forward an alternative agenda? I present to you, the Chai Party Manifesto: simple things that need to be done on ...

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Rebuilding an emperor’s dream

I do not feel very proud as I tell you about Akbari gate, it is more of a junkyard than a cultural heritage site. When you walk through this gate it feels like you have descended to some level of hell. The air is filled with dust and the odour of animal waste has permeated to even the edibles sold here. Surprisingly, people manage to live here. They conduct business very proudly, contributing to the increasingly vast garbage heaps in the area. There are no traces of monuments and our old heritage; all that is left is a materialistic mess of the greed of humanity. There is little sign of the gate named after Mughal emperor Jalaludin Muhammad ...

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Graffiti culture in Pakistan: how to control it?

Graffiti that adorns the walls on the streets of Pakistan has multiple reasons behind it and is a host to multiple opinions too. For some people, it is a means of livelihood, for others it is an outlet for their thoughts. At the same time, it is used for political motives such as political marketing. Graffiti, (which is also in a way another kind of vandalism), is often used by low-level companies as a no-loss mode of marketing. When I approached different people regarding this issue, I received a number of different responses. One activist of a major political party ...

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