Stories about news

Should Pakistan ask for free internet during the coronavirus pandemic?

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic? There are chances that by now you have been frustrated by the speed of your internet at one point or the other. Maybe your co-worker’s face froze during a Skype meeting, or maybe you were trying to watch a YouTube video that kept buffering or maybe a 5MB picture took more than 10 minutes to download.  These are revealing signs that the internet in Pakistan might be struggling to support the unprecedented surge in use from millions of homebound computer and smartphone users. Since the local governments have imposed lockdowns across the country, ...

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What we can do to help the government during COVID-19

Life is full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. But some surprises are more of a shock than anything else. A rude awakening of sorts.  Just a few days ago, life was normal. You were perhaps planning a family holiday, maybe thinking of what needs to be done around the house and making a grocery list for the next month. And suddenly, everything changed. China was under attack from a very different kind of enemy, a virus. One that rapidly spread across the globe and shut down economies. In a few short weeks, it forced various governments to shut borders, ...

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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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How a Pakistani is weathering the COVID-19 lock down in Denmark

It was late January and I had just returned from a packed month of travel across Europe and South Asia. Novel coronavirus cases had just begun to emerge in Wuhan, China, the then epicenter of the virus. Sitting all the way in Scandinavia, the coronavirus at first appeared to be a pneumonia-like disease that would remain limited to China but then it started rapidly spreading to other East Asian countries and penetrated all of Europe courtesy borderless travelling. The seriousness of the situation first struck me when a hotel in Santa Cruz, Spain, was shut down as cases had surged in ...

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The deadly impact of long working hours

In today’s fast-paced world, human beings are expected to work like machines. Therefore, it is not surprising that incidents of suicides related to workplace pressure are increasing around the world. Based on the findings of the United States (US) Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), 282 workplace suicides occurred in the US alone in 2013. This number has gradually increased over the years with 304 workplace suicides reported in 2018. In Pakistan, workplace suicide is either under reported or not spoken of at all yet the office space, where one spends most of his or her time, could be a ...

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The billion dollar question: Why Pakistanis fall for fake news so easily

As a nation, Pakistan runs high on emotions and little on common sense. In an effort to make our otherwise tedious routine from nine-to-five feel a little more interesting, we like to create gossip, spread rumours and conspiracy theories, and mainly take active part in circulating fake news. Anything floats the boat in Pakistan, as long as you make the news sound somewhat real to a common man. A good example of this is the spread of something as wild as the claim that Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire and the richest person of Pakistani origin, is donating $1 ...

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The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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Push-ups and swag won’t impress us Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar

After sitting on the throne for more than eight years as the Chief Minister of Sindh, Mr Qaim Ali Shah was finally dethroned and is now replaced by Murad Ali Shah. The new chief minister tried to inject some urgency in the Sindh government with his actions. In my view, Mr Shah has taken a step in the right direction – more than half of the current government’s term has already gone by, and Sindh has only witnessed a further deterioration in various fields such as health, sports, education and waste disposal. The newly inducted chief minister also expanded his ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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