Stories about jobs

Federal minister of style: 4 great appearances by Faisal Vawda that nobody asked for

Pardon my political naivety, but who asked Mr Faisal Vawda to do anything more than his actual job as the minister of water resources? Regardless, we have been blessed with an impressive array of performances in Pakistan’s robust political theatre this year. It seems unjust to not acknowledge the many contributions of Vawda, who has worked hard to establish himself as more than just a federal minister. The greatest of these performances are being listed here for the convenience and amusement of our nation’s proudest patriots or theatre-enthusiasts. 1. The punisher Some may argue that it’s unusual for an armed federal minister ...

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Make matriculation/high school compulsory to vote

On July 25th, Pakistan’s fate, at least for the next five years, will be in its own hands. The future will come down to all of us as we make certain choices in that polling booth. Some of us will still be thinking, weighing pros and cons, measuring the benefits, and calculating the risks. But most of us would have likely made up our minds on who to vote for before judgement day. The next day, Pakistan, a sovereign state since 1947, will see only the second successive transition in democratic power. But I have a question: are all people informed enough to ...

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I wanted to change the lives of underprivileged school kids, but they changed mine

While growing up in Karachi in the turbulent 90s, my neighbourhood used to be a perpetual warzone. Acting tough was the only way of surviving. Our future outlook used to be so bleak that career orientation was not even a fleeting thought in my mind. As time passed by and I was faced with the prospect of monetary meltdown at the domestic front, I used to wonder why no one ever extended a helping hand to me and to numerous others who stood at the brink of an abyss that had already consumed hundreds, if not thousands, from our generation due to ...

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Political parties are promising jobs in their manifestos but snub education – how does that work?

Pakistan has one of the largest youth population in the world. Forty-six million of these will be voting for the first time in about two weeks; a number that is by no means small. To put it into perspective, if these voters were a country, they would be the 30th largest country in the world in terms of population. They will most likely vote for the party that has promised them jobs, and no one can fault that logic because jobs get you money and as we all know, money makes the world go around. But there is a slight ...

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Are internships a waste of time in Pakistan?

“Mind the gap.” This is a warning familiar to anyone who has ever taken the tube in London. It refers to the gap that exists between the platform and the train itself. It is also a warning delivered to all of us at university before we step into “the real world” – the platform being college and the bullet train being the corporate sector. What is this ‘real world’ we hear so much about? And why does every working professional refer to it as a world that every student is completely oblivious to and unprepared for? Did we not just spend ...

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Only in Pakistan can your child get an ‘A’ without learning anything

Over the past few years, the policy on education has taken centre stage in Pakistan. There is now debate over reforming the curriculum of madrassas, as they have failed millions of students who have, and continue to receive, their education in these religious seminaries. However, it is not just the madrassas that need reform, but also the ‘elite’ private school system. I have been teaching part-time in Karachi’s private sector for almost a decade, and it is blatantly clear that the current system has failed miserably. Be it private universities or schools, few understand or are interested in the purpose of education itself. The ...

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“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the reason the state of education in Pakistan is so bad

I recently came across an Urdu newspaper in which the date was stated to be October 32, 2016. Apparently the editor didn’t know that October has only 31 days, and it can’t ever have 32 days, not even if Imran Khan wants it and threatens to lock down the whole world if it is not done. Teachers of English in our schools are not qualified to teach, which is why most Pakistanis routinely add an apostrophe before an “s” even when it is not required. Education standards have deteriorated drastically. I usually come across such phrases as “his” husband or ...

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Balochistan is far from “uncivilised” and these women prove just that!

That Pakistan has a youth bulge is well known to most informed readers, but what the youth thinks about the myriad challenges faced by the country rarely gets space in the media, especially when it comes to females from minority communities. The First International Conference on Social Sciences recently held at Sardar Bahadur Khan Womens’ University in Quetta, Balochistan, provided me with an opportunity to learn just that. SBK Womens’ University caters to around 6000 female students from all parts of Balochistan and offers up to MPhil and PhD degrees. In 2013, the university was attacked in a suicide bombing that ...

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Why can’t we clean our streets and houses ourselves?

It was December 25, 2014 and I was heading out for work. As I approached the main gate, my eye caught sight of our building’s notice board. The words scribbled on the board left me dumbfounded. It read: “Important Notice: On December 25 and December 26, on account of the Christian community’s religious festival, Christmas, the sweepers will be off. Hence, on these two days, residents are requested to make sure garbage is not dumped on their balconies and special care is taken of their surroundings, with regards to cleanliness. Thank you.” Photo: Ishrat Ansari Though born and bred ...

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