Stories about Islamabad

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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Will you march for climate change?

I first met Greta Thurnberg, the 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is now inspiring young people all over the world to protest against the climate crisis, back in December 2018 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. Hair tied in two pigtails, she looked much younger than her age, was extremely shy and spoke haltingly in English on several forums at the conference held in Poland. Thurnberg speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Poland Sure, the media was following her around even then, but no one imagined she would become such a huge ...

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Does Karachi have anything else to offer other than food?

As a Karachiite, not even a day goes by without hearing about the launch of a new eatery in the city. On some days, it’s a fine-dining restaurant presenting an unusual variety of a relatively unexplored cuisine. On other days, it’s a café with a new vibe, interior or facilities. Or on most days, it’s our favourite go-to spot – a chai dhaba. Almost all renowned areas of Karachi are famous for not just food outlets but entire food streets that are insanely popular. Boat Basin in Clifton, Zamzama in Defence, Burns Road in Saddar, Bukhari commercial and Port ...

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If BRT Peshawar is still incomplete under PTI, what chance does BRT Karachi stand?

Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) seems to be a never-ending project as once again Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’ s (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has postponed its launch. The inauguration ceremony of the BRT was supposed to be held on March 23rd, but because the project is yet to be finished, K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, after consulting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, decided to cancel the opening ceremony. Ever since PTI announced to launch BRT in October 2017, the project has seen many delays because of the inefficient management. The BRT is a 26 kilometre-long bus corridor designed to carry thousands ...

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In between the waves

“Please inform them in Lahore.” “Sure, Baba. Have a safe journey.” She said after tucking him into the window seat. ‘Seat #2’ it said in black. She was glad it was in the front. He won’t have to walk too much to get off. “Tell them that I’ll be there by 8:45pm.” “Sure, Baba.” She hugged him and ended up hugging part of the seat. She went to stand with her mother. The mother and daughter walked to the other side of the bus. Two eyes followed them, and as the bus made his daughter and granddaughter momentarily disappear, he brought his eyes to ...

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