Stories about NGO’s

The flaws in our education: Why are Pakistani students struggling with mathematics?

Mathematics is perhaps the most powerful instrument of knowledge in the world. History proves that all ancient civilisations emphasised the importance of maths, and it is the one science that seeks to improve one’s ability to perceive and think. Maths may not help teach us how to love someone or how to forgive an enemy, but it gives us reason to hope that every problem must have a reasonable solution. Consequently, maths plays an important role in the development of countries because of its ability to penetrate into all sorts of human affairs, whether social or economic. Students are often weak in maths as ...

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Considering torture is illegal as per US law, how is a brutal torturer appointed as the new CIA chief?

The CIA occupies an almost mythic space in the minds of those of us who watch Hollywood movies. Time and again, we come across movies that show a direct link between the CIA and various atrocities around the globe. Movies such as the Bourne series and the Mission: Impossible series bubble up plenty of theories regarding how the CIA operates. Specifically for Pakistan and the Muslim world in general, such movies are proof for drawing room analysts that the CIA has a one-point agenda: defeat the Muslims. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty showed a heroic account of the CIA ...

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Pulling out of the Paris climate agreement may be Donald Trump’s only success story

In the cold and grey Washington, the news cycle has been eternally hot lately. The fire refuses to simmer down. The breathtaking pace at which events occur makes it tough to keep up with the war of words from the movers and shakers in a town where, post November 9, 2016, things have been constantly on the edge. While it is safe to say that all politicians are born actors and blatant liars, Donald Trump’s White House has legitimised the art of lying and given an official seal of approval to “alternative facts” – a term that essentially masks any untrue statement ...

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Why aren’t there any well-equipped ambulances available in Karachi?

A few years ago, my cousin passed away in Gwadar. His wife had to transport his body from Gwadar to Karachi in a Toyota Hiace because she could not get hold of an ambulance. That memory resurfaced when I heard that ambulance services were unavailable to carry the dead bodies of the martyred cadets in the attack on the Police Training Academy in Quetta. Even if one tries to justify the legitimacy of such issues by claiming that Gwadar and Quetta are ‘remote’ areas, why is there a shortage of ambulances in Karachi and in other developed cities of Pakistan? Apart from the ...

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“We’re begging, it’s not like we’re stealing”

“Even if we’re begging, it’s not as if we’re stealing or looting.” These were the hard hitting words of the signature beggar in my film Beggars of Lahore. The film was shot in the Summer of 2005, initially as part of an MPhil thesis, the interest for which arose out of my hybrid origin as a British Pakistani trying to come to terms with the intense scale of begging within the walled city and cultural hub of Pakistan, that is Lahore. I, too, couldn’t understand why people scorned upon the beggars so much for merely pleading poverty. I later ...

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The children of Mazin Academy need your help – Will you save them?

It was a distress call for the future of the children under his care. “I don’t know what to do to save the school. I think we should post a note on our Facebook page asking for financial help. It seems like I will have to close the school.” This was a call from my brother, a philanthropist by nature, who was always thinking of doing something more than his studies or career for the welfare of people around him. Thirteen-years older than me, I have always seen him helping people, be it relieving the sweeper from hefty interest loans, giving weekly tuitions ...

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Moving on from trauma, moving on from Peshawar

The Taliban’s brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 claimed the lives of over 140 people including 132 children. While hundreds of survivors of this mass shooting need physical rehabilitation resulting from bullet wounds and other physical injuries, the psychological impact of this traumatic event may have a long lasting effect on school children, both in Peshawar and across the nation. It is imperative that the trauma victims must get immediate psychiatric help, and secondary support be provided to children in other parts of the country who, although geographically distant, may still be troubled by this ...

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12 and married

The small private clinic was echoing with mixed voices – those of ear-piercing shrills and loud excitement. Waiting to see my doctor, I realised the commotion in the maternity section with nurses rushing through a storm of women – aunts and grandmothers waiting on news of a baby child. Passing it on as regular routine at the clinic, I was alarmed when the doctor came out scolding the elderly woman in the group who was wailing, claiming the doctor did not do enough to save the child. The doctor told the waiting family, “The poor girl would have died in labour. She was ...

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Landlords in Punjab: “Off with the boy’s arms!”

It’s a small village in Punjab. Two men begin fighting over a few thousand rupees and what seems to be an electricity wire. One of the men has a 10-year-old son who does the unthinkable – he goes to take a bath in the enemy’s tube well. The landlord/owner cannot stand this injustice. He beats the boy and pours hot water on him. The little boy runs and hides in the fields but the landlord seeks him out again. This time, he ties him up with a rope and cuts his arms off with a thresher. Did I just narrate ...

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Stop globetrotting and look towards your IDPs this Eid, Mr Prime Minister

Last year, they were celebrating Eid in the comfort of their respective homes, surrounded by friends and family. This year, they will have to make do with whatever they can in their camps. Last year, they had new clothes to wear and new toys to play with. This year, the children will find themselves lingering around camps, not really sure of what to do. Many might not even be aware that it is Eid. Such is the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan. Imran Khan announced that he will spend his Eid day with the IDPs. Although this is a great ...

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