Stories about karachi

Is Pakistan ready to grant citizenship to its Afghan and Bengali refugees?

Policy and governance are most effective when idealism morphs into realism to tackle challenges and go after opportunities in the real world, while also aspiring for utopia. It is in the middle ground between these poles where effective governance happens. Thus, Imran Khan’s announcement that Pakistan would grant citizenship to refugees of Afghan and Bangladeshi origin should be seen in the same vein as his other policy decisions since his victory, many of which he has backtracked on. Atif Mian’s resignation from the Economic Advisory Committee is a case in point. The decision to oust him was a solid ...

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Pakistan is ‘Asia’s best kept secret’ – what will it take to reveal it globally?

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it” – Martin Parr. Pakistan, unfortunately, is a country that has been at the receiving end of such mythology and perception for a good while now, even as things on ground have changed quite drastically over the last few years. According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), terror-related incidents have declined 58%, from 2,060 incidents in 2010 to 681 in 2017. These figures are testament to the success of our Army during the massive military operations conducted in the northern areas of ...

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A dark conversation in the city of lights: “If you don’t listen to your parents, you’ll end up like this (transgender)”

Wandering across the city of lights without a clue about your destination has a certain edge to it. When it comes to digging up possible stories hidden somewhere within this metropolitan, the best possible course of action is always to take a walk in this crowded coastal expanse. Carrying the burden of writer’s block, I decided to journey through this city in search of inspiration.   It took a significant part of the day for my restlessness to triumph over my determination, and with a sense of certain defeat, I paused for a cigarette at the nearest cabin I could ...

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A Rs10 tip on a Rs4,000 bill is an insult, not a favour

Tipping is unique to the food industry. As a doctor, never once did a patient hand me an extra Rs20 note as a thank you for a good knee exam. The reason is that we expect a doctor to receive adequate compensation for his work through the bill alone. It was when I put down my stethoscope and took a hiatus, serving chai to paying customers at my own café, did I develop a greater appreciation for this art. Tipping persists in the food industry because we don’t expect the labour to be paid what they are due. Serving food ...

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The diaspora of Naya Pakistan: The time is ripe for us to pay back to the motherland what is due

Some years ago, summer of 2012 to be precise, I hosted an informal morning tea for Maleeha Lodhi, and while discussing the upcoming 2013 elections, she said to me, “It is not the Pakistan that this diaspora may have left 20 years ago, it’s a different Pakistan. The public is more desperate, the crises are much more and the conscious awareness that every vote counts is on everyone’s mind.” Hence, to me, her statement implied that Imran Khan was going to be elected prime minister in the 2013 elections, but history tells us a different tale. Imran fell, and with ...

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Hide my terrorist bakra

Bakra Eid or Eidul Azha is here. With the new government being sworn in, there is more news coverage of the political situation in the country rather than the festival which always garners great interest in Pakistan. One serious issue, which pops its head every year during Eidul Azha, is of course of the collection and utilisation of animal hides. As early as food stalls pop up all over the city, volunteers from different organisations start visiting houses, requesting the donation of the animal hides to their ‘deserving’ organisation. As mundane as this sounds, anyone living in Pakistan knows ...

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Young and wise: When Bilawal Bhutto Zardari outshined Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif

The long-awaited wish of Imran Khan to become the prime minister of Pakistan has finally come true, and I pray that he delivers what he has promised. Change is indeed needed and perhaps at a much faster rate than the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) anticipates. Given the state of Pakistan’s crippling economy, the new government may not even have time to enjoy the “honeymoon period” and would have to start their work from the very first day. All of us know that Imran has many problems which he will have to sort out in his own time, however in my opinion, ...

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5 stories that prove the trauma of Partition did not end in 1947

As I think of the Partition that happened 71 years ago, it feels like a memory. Though I do not possess any personal narrative of it, yet it feels like I do have one – so personal that it invokes emotions. This owes to the Partition of 1947 being a national memory in both India and Pakistan to this day. A memory that, as Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal notes, “continues to influence how the peoples and states of postcolonial South Asia envisage their past, present and future”. Despite this eminence, it feels like there is a dearth of narratives; stories that ...

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If religious parties were not elected into power, is the Pakistani voter thus “moderate”?

The 2018 Elections are over, giving a healthy but controversial victory to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). These elections were, according to many independent correspondents, one of the “dirtiest” in living memory, mainly due to the tactics employed by mainstream parties and the extreme political polarisation in the electorate. Besides other things, one crucial aspect that truly distinguished these elections from previous ones was the intense whipping up of religious sensitivities – like bringing up the Finality of Prophethood (pbuh) – by several parties. Although this issue had been raised earlier as well, it took centre stage during the elections. Due ...

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The political catch-22: How will PTI help Karachi if PPP stands in its way?

The General Elections held over a week ago broke the shackles that had bound the city of Karachi for so long. The public came out and voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and rejected the mandate of two powerful political dynasties that have ruled at the federal level for the last three decades. Not only this, the public voted out the most prominent and influential party of Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The city of lights has been voting for the Altaf Hussain-led MQM in all kinds of elections, be they general or local body. However, except for the brief tenure ...

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