Stories about man

In search of clean water

I saw a man by the name of Ali Arsalan prove the principle “all answers are basically simple” at a fair recently held in Karachi. He claimed, and I was convinced, that the task of supplying pure drinking water to millions of people of the country could be achieved by just promoting a method of water purification that uses ultraviolet rays and the sun’s heat. The method is called solar water disinfection (SODIS) and is recommended by the World Health Organization. The man came up with the idea as a solution for the supply of potable water to the flood-stricken people ...

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The man who taught me how to give

I was not too surprised when I saw the elderly man on the side of the Islamabad highway. Beggars are a common sight on the road and drivers are used to ignoring them. But as I waited at the traffic signal, I noticed the man stepping onto the road. The light had just turned red and the timer had started. He only had a few seconds to get someone’s attention. Watching him from the car, I assumed he was asking for money, but his movements suggested otherwise. There was no weariness, no weakness in his movements, which is usually associated ...

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Punished for living near Mangla dam

We learn nothing from history. Our incompetence makes sure of it, and the common man bears the burden. The issue of affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ is another such case of incompetency and mismanagement, where state institutions have failed to deliver promised and much-touted respite to the people, not because of its low capacity but due to its lack of foresight and poor institutional coordination. Affectees of the ‘Raising of Mangla Dam Project’ have once again been staging protests against the incomplete and delayed process of compensation. Grievances run deeper than that. A high ranking official in the ...

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Media man Malik: More than the average minister

There are a few good reasons you would end up on http://www.rehmanmalik.com. You may explore it if you enjoy the banality of a reporter’s life, the superficiality of a politician’s or the masochism of a news junkie’s. For those of you with a penchant for the absurd, allow me to take you on a short tour of the honourable (and flamboyant) Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s website. I’m reluctant to call it official as the ‘contact us’ link just points towards the Pakistan Secretariat, which is one of the few non-residential buildings in Islamabad. For any loyal Pakistan People’s Party politician, it is a ...

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I know a secret: Grounded planes and flying capital

The Khadim-i-Aala may be bending over backwards trying to set things right and boast about rule of law in Punjab, but right under his nose an outspoken MPA belonging to a family of Pirs has been involved in not just the talk shows but doing what he should not be doing. The man is involved in all sorts of things. He was instrumental in getting a magistrate transferred because the man was not willing to cough up Rs2.5 million. The young man has also been reported to be criticising the CM for creating hurdles in his way and not letting ...

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Me and the vagabond

I befriended a vagabond. I must admit it was not a natural act, but well, I did. One late evening I was going home and saw a beggar, in dirty tatters of cloth, sitting all by himself and crying bitterly. But there was a reason to his tears. The children standing a little further down were hitting him with pebbles and stones that I could see would fall directly on his shaven head. The scene was really upsetting. It was then that I took the step. Inquired from him, about why was he crying and why the children were throwing ...

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Selling Faiz to the rich for Rs1,000

Lahore’s mall road was as crowded as always. Beyond the zooming vehicles and amongst the old silent trees, I saw him walking slowly on a footpath. There was something dramatic about the old man’s appearance. He reminded me of realist Soviet paintings; ragged dusty clothes, long gray hair, wrinkled face and clutching a small piece of scarlet, a little red flag. He was heading towards the Alhamra Art Complex which was covered with life sized posters of the legendary socialist poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The poet’s centenary celebrations were about to begin and the parking lot was almost full. The old man stood ...

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I know a secret: Loyalties and limousines

Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti may have survived the attempt on his life last weekend, had his pleas for better security, in particular a bullet proof car and a house in the Ministers’ Enclave been heeded. While some cronies of the man on the hill have been given bullet proof cars, without holding any cabinet portfolio. ************************************************ Elections to the Lahore High Court Bar, the biggest associations of lawyers in the country in terms of membership, were held on the last Saturday of February.  The contest was between Muhammad Asghar Gill and Rai Bashir.  Gill won by over 1,562 votes polling 4,172 votes. ...

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Bleeding tears for Pakistan: Where have we failed?

Nothing is more refreshing than an evening jog in the park. The wind in your hair, the moist clods of earth under your feet; the almost tangy smell of damp, green grass and the mellow chatter of birds as they begin their daily rounds of “good-night!” to each other. But today is different. Rather than a gentle caress, the wind seems to lash out at me. The grass smells bitter and the normally rhythmic twitter of the birds is like an ominous chant, resounding in my ears, getting louder by the minute until I can take it no more. I surrender ...

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Suicide – an easy practice in Pakistan?

Being privileged enough to have access to a number of wire services, I stumbled upon a rather disturbing figure: There were at least 10 suicides this week across Pakistan according to these sources alone. The reasons for suicide were varied. A 22-year-old swallowed poisonous pills due to a domestic dispute, a young man took his life after killing two women and injuring four others over a matrimonial dispute, a security guard shooting himself within the limits of Bahadurabad police station because he wanted to marry someone, and a youth committing suicide after being reprimanded by his parents in Sahiwal. The reason ...

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