Stories about karachi

Sindh coronavirus lockdown: The unfamiliar sight of leaders, leading

We often see the chicken and the egg problem in political systems; chronically bad leaders and a cynical populace coexist in mutual contempt. In this scenario, if a leader tries to do good, the population is ill-equipped to recognise it because, like a snarling, abused street dog, it has known only ill treatment and neglect. Such has been the case in Karachi during the recent weeks. Unused to leaders leading or, indeed, fulfilling even the basic requirements of governance, Karachiites have been treated to the unfamiliar sight of the Sindh government taking proactive measures against the COVID-19 menace. From the prescient decision ...

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Why Pakistan must ban congregational prayers during the COVID-19 crisis

Many years ago, I read Christina Lamb’s famous but controversial book titled Waiting for Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy. Although her book, touched upon various facets of the Pakistani society, it focused on the role of religion. She made two key arguments. First that Pakistan was trapped by the need to adhere to a “true” version of Islam, which impeded its progress. She wrote, “The more the country strives for what its religious scholars see as true Islam, the less equipped it becomes for running a twentieth-century state, and the more it is forced to watch once-lagging competitors such ...

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Tackling Karachi’s energy crisis

Karachi is the economic power-house of Pakistan, yet the city is facing a massive energy crisis which needs to be tacked on an urgent basis. To remain viable in the coming years as the highest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), a strategic energy road-map for the city needs to be drafted under a comprehensive framework. How we prioritise our actions and create the right benchmarks is crucial. To enhance technological expertise within the sector, we need four components to be simultaneously inter-connected: human resources, research, development and investment. Providing incentives for the private sector must be the top ...

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The boxing girls of Lyari

Humans have the strange ability to draw strength from the very despair that they are sometimes forced to endure. Many instances of this ability can be seen in Pakistan, a country rife with poverty and deprivation. Famous novelist, the late Abdullah Hussain, was of the opinion that the people of Pakistan are gifted in the extreme; although beset with countless problems, hindrances and insufficiencies, they still manage to transcend their circumstances and shine. A glorious example of this aspect of Pakistani society can be seen at the Pak Shaheen Boxing Club in Lyari, Karachi. Lyari is a densely populated and ...

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How Pakistan’s fashion industry is polluting the environment

Modern day fashion retailers have adopted the phenomenon of ‘fast fashion,’ which is characterised by the quick turnover of designs that move at breakneck speed from the ramp to the stores and eventually, into the garbage bin. Retailers aim to increase profits by focusing on key elements of the supply chain with an emphasis on increased manufacturing speed at lower costs. The concept of fast fashion has resulted in a changing industry dynamic that boasts a quick response ideology that has inculcated the capacity and ability of retail brands to generate quick merchandise turnover. A popular Spanish retailer that has ...

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MQM-P continues to play a dangerous game of political charades

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has played a very indecisive role in the country’s political scenario during the recent years. Their endless charade of intermittently joining and leaving their coalition partners continues to this day. Recently, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi resigned from his cabinet position, stating that the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had failed to fulfil its promises. While Siddiqi cited PTI’s lack of interest in the development of Karachi as the primary reason for his resignation, he did not ask his party colleague and incumbent law minister, Barrister Farogh Naseem to resign with him. In fact, Siddiqi, in a presser, said ...

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In conversation with Asad Umar: “Pakistan is one of the most difficult countries to run”

Interrupting the festivities of his son’s wedding, I caught up with the remarkably candid Minister Asad Umar for an interview at his residence in Karachi this weekend. We talked about everything from his substantive reform goals as the Federal Minister for Planning and Development to who’s more likely to become a prime minister first, Bilawal Bhutto or Maryam Nawaz.  “The last time you interviewed me, I was fired after four days,” Umar quipped, as we began the interview. “If it happens this time, it’ll fall on December 25th, which will be really sad.” Since wedding festivities were in full swing around ...

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The Dua Mangi case: A glimpse into our society’s rotten morals

Are my clothes speaking to you? Listen closely: Do they tell you where I’m from? What I like? What I desire? Do they say, yes? Does my tanned skin scream to be touched? Does the curve of my neck seem ever so welcoming? I’ve grown up surrounded by this very narrative. The Pakistani vernacular is etched with log kya kehengay – embedded with the notion that my body, if hidden, says no and if exposed, draws the male gaze towards me. But the problem with the male gaze is simply that it does not stop. Not for a fully clothed body, not ...

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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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Should Karachi fear the sea?

On November 28th 1945, a deadly earthquake occurred 100 miles South of Karachi in the Northern Arabian Sea, triggering a Tsunami which resulted in the loss of over 4000 lives. Since then, no tsunami has occurred off the coast of Karachi, but the location of the city does make it susceptible to a host of climatic disasters, because Karachi could very well be in the path of a storm in the near future. Over the past few days a series of cyclones in the Arabian Sea have been presenting a clear and present danger. A cyclone named ‘Kyaar’ damaged several coastal villages earlier in ...

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