Stories about Islamabad

On the front lines of the coronavirus battle: A Pakistani doctor’s tale

If we were in the middle of a military war, a media campaign against active-duty soldiers would be considered ‘distasteful’ at best, if not outright ‘seditious’. On March 16th, two doctors in Islamabad were shifted into isolation for treating a patient suspected of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection. These doctors who put the patient on the ventilator were not equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). Basic PPEs may include face masks, surgical gloves, aprons, and gowns. In a different war, these doctors would have medals being pinned to their chest. But in this crucial war for public health and safety, such healthcare professionals ...

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A tale from a state of COVID-19 emergency

It was the day before our departure from Boston, Massachusetts to Islamabad. Local, regional and national concerns about international travel and COVID-19 had been increased for a few weeks but we were doing our due diligence. Our travel group leader had checked with his contact at the Unites States (US) Department of State and we received the go-ahead. Next, he checked with the US Embassy Islamabad and got the “green light” for our arrival. Lastly, all of our travellers’ immediate family members, while having predictable reservations about long distance travel to what they considered an ‘unstable region’, approved of ...

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The US-Taliban deal will only benefit America

The deal between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban in Doha last Saturday is bound to have lasting repercussions across the region. Under the agreement, the US is committed to reducing its number of troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the deal, and the full withdrawal of forces will take place considering the security situation in the country and the Taliban’s commitment to not creating any more security threats in the region. However, it seems that President Donald Trump has made this deal in a hurry in an attempt to strengthen his chances ...

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Is geography the primary determinant of foreign policy?

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If you know a country’s geography, you can understand and predict its foreign policy said.” If we view the modern world through a lens of realism, we will notice that every nation-state is acting to ensure its survival. Principles of idealism can only exist in countries where national interests do not collide with the interests of powerful international actors. Major global events of the last decade indicate that Morgenthau’s and Mearsheimer’s realism has indeed prevailed. Throughout this article, I shall attempt to prove how the foreign policies of world players have revolved around their geographical placement. Western analysts portray ...

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Is Pakistan’s smog epidemic about to get worse?

Environmentalists in Islamabad were aghast this week when precious old trees in the capital were cut in order to make a bridge to connect sector G-7 to G-8 over the Express Highway, a signal free corridor. Despite their pleas that an alternative loop existed nearby which could be used, the Capital Development Authority went ahead to facilitate traffic flows. Islamabad’s activists are ringing alarm bells because this is exactly what happened in Lahore, with all its fancy signal free corridors, over passes and under passes which steadily ate away the old trees and green belts of the city. The ...

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Who is to blame for Saeed Book Bank’s impending closure?

Reading about Saeed Book Bank’s impending collapse made me think about my last visit to the store; it took me 20 minutes just to find someone to help look for the books I wanted. Once found, it was evident from the salesperson’s disinterest that it was not by mere chance that none of them could be seen in the spacious yet dusty shop. The help they offered was more abysmal than the look on their faces, with me having to run around two floors in confusion as the book arrangement was also haphazard. I eventually had to turn to technology and opted to use ...

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Fazlur Rehman and the art of staying politically relevant

Maulana Fazlur Rehman is well versed in the art of staying relevant. Despite the constant shifts on the political chessboard, Rehman has proven himself to be a very shrewd politician with excellent political acumen. Rehman’s ‘Azadi march’ aims to end as a sit-in against the incumbent government until Imran Khan resigns and dissolves the National Assembly. The fervent support base that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) enjoys means that Rehman and his followers are unlikely to be deterred by the continuous warnings from Interior Minister Ijaz Shah. If the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government really wanted to avoid Rehman’s impending march and sit-in, it ...

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How significant will Manmohan Singh’s Kartarpur visit be?

History teaches us that an absence of dialogue leads to war. The Kartarpur corridor is an attempt at dialogue at a time when the relationship between India and Pakistan is at an all time low. Therefore, the timing of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kartarpur, as part of a group of pilgrims, acts as a coolant during this tense atmosphere. It is not important whether Singh has accepted Pakistan’s invitation or whether he is going on the invitation of the Chief Minister of Indian Punjab. What matters is what his visit represents. Happy to meet former Prime ...

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Property for sale, unless you are a non-Muslim

It is no secret that Pakistan has an abysmal record when it comes to protecting religious minorities and ensuring that their rights are safeguarded. But legislation and government action can only do so much; ultimately, it is the attitude of the masses which will determine whether we as a nation wish to protect religious plurality or not. Thus far, that seems rather unlikely. A torrential downpour of blasphemy cases, forced conversions and the fleeing of religious minority groups from Pakisatn has only led to the increasing marginalisation of those who belong to a religious minority in the country. There is however a ...

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The day climate change finally made it to the front page in Pakistan

Before September 20th, the last time I marched for the climate was a decade ago outside the venue of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. It was a cold, dark day and there had been skirmishes with the Danish police. It was a depressing march and as protestors huddled around bonfires made of banners, I thought it a fitting end to a summit that had failed to deliver a climate deal. The world had not come together to cut carbon emissions as we had all hoped. In fact, key governments bought themselves a few more years until the Paris Agreement. ...

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