Stories about Pakistan’

How to implement university reforms in Pakistan – Part II

This two part series explores ways to improve the Pakistani research and university landscape in light of Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry questioning why Pakistani universities have been unable to help in the fight against coronavirus. Read Part I here. ~ University and research sector reform What kind of university and research model Pakistan should follow? The reformation of higher education in the west during the 19th century is largely credited to German polymath Wilhelm von Humboldt. The Humboldtian model of higher education and research is still followed by most developed nations. It is present in the DACH countries (German speaking nations) – Germany, Austria ...

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Should Pakistan be investing in carbon capture? – Part 1

This article is the first in a two part series which looks at Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and talks about the efficacy of using it to reduce our carbon footprint. ~ Before the coronavirus turned our lives upside down, climate change was one of the most pressing issues that the world and our country was facing. Despite commitments made by world leaders to mitigate carbon emissions, greenhouse gas levels continued to rise. Ironically, due to the onset of the coronavirus, we have seen air pollution levels fall drastically due to the shut down of industries all over the world. Regardless, ...

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Is America’s outlook towards Pakistan changing?

Predictably, President Donald Trump’s 36 hour visit to India generated a lot of hype not only in the country but also in the United States (US). Despite the trade deal remaining elusive, both parties seem to have gained from the optics of the visit. In his election year, President Trump will benefit from the pomp and show that his campaign will showcase to the domestic audience as proof of his international publicity and stature. The visit will also help him gain the support of the four million strong Indian-American community. Similarly, although some might say that Narendra Modi fiddled around ...

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Was Pakistan always destined to become an Islamic republic? – Part 2

This article is the second in a two part series which looks at pre-partition and post partition events that led up to Pakistan being declared an Islamic republic. Read part one here. ~ In the 1945 elections, although Thanvi had died, the Muslim League had the support of one of his protégés, another Deobandi scholar named Shabbir Ahmad Usmani. The ulema offered their help to the Muslim League and sent 24 scholars, including Hasrat Mohani,across Uttar Pradesh (UP) for campaigning. Mohani later became a member of the UP assembly. Usmani’s JUI lent their support to the League officially and Nawab Ismail Khan recognised the leadership ...

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How locusts and water scarcity are destroying Sindh’s crops

In the village of Lass, located in Tharparkar, Muhammad Essa Lund and his family reach their agricultural land at dawn. They bring their kitchenware along with them, which they use to drive locusts out of their fields. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and represents the tragic tale of almost everyone who owns a piece of agricultural land in this region. Due to the locust invasion, the only primary school in the area has been closed down, labourers have been unable to travel to nearby cities for work, patients have had to postpone their visits to the local dispensaries, and shepherds have been unable to ...

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Mohammad Khalid Akhtar’s witty, pithy advice for the New Year

Mohammad Khalid Akhtar (1920-2002) was one of the greatest, albeit marginalised and neglected, Urdu satirists of the 20th century. Despite hailing from Bahawalpur, he broke the monopoly of the so-called ‘Urdu-wallahs’ over literature and wrote some memorable novels, short-stories and sketches to join the immortal writers of Urdu literature. Hence, the short and sharp extract on the New Year presented below, taken from his longer, satirical Scientific Primer: For Slightly Older Adults, which forms part of his 1968 Adamjee Prize-winning essay collection ‘Khoya Hua Ufaq’ (The Lost Horizon), is not only the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of yet another ...

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How successful are Imran Khan’s attempts at becoming an international statesperson?

“My son, look for a kingdom greater than Macedonia, for it is too small for thee.” Alexander the Great’s father, Prince Philip, said this to him when as a young boy he reined in the famous horse, Bucephalus, while everyone else who had tried to do so had failed. Now, while Imran Khan certainly is no great conqueror of lands, nor does he aspire to be, it is evident that Pakistan is too small a stage for him to play on. Even if he wants to dedicate himself wholeheartedly towards fixing Pakistan’s manifold problems and shuns all foreign commitments, it ...

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Is our solidarity with Kashmir conditional?

As I drove around Islamabad to reach my office on Defence Day, I saw a myriad of posters around the capital. They all communicated the same message: Pakistan is the bastion of Kashmiri interest; hence, Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. The hashtag ‘KashmirBanegaPakistan’ and retweets from Kashmiris who supported this message flooded my Twitter feed. Some of my friends even posted about their interactions with a few Kashmiris, after which they had concluded that all 14 million Kashmiris wanted to be a part of Pakistan. While the logic did not quite make sense, I could not help but wonder about this ...

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Kashmir will be to India what Palestine is to Israel

India’s revocation of Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) relative ‘autonomy’ embodies everything that its new Israeli ally wishes it could do to Palestine, such as eliminating its separate political status and giving non-residents of this disputed territory the right to buy property there as part of its long-term plan to wage demographic warfare against the locals. Yet few around the world seem to care, even though the global activist community would be in an uproar if the self-professed Jewish state even talked about doing what the Hindu extremist-led one just did in real life. Ending of Article 35-A in Indian Occupied Kashmir seems to ...

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The dream that could never be – part 1: She thought God had come for her

O’ sweet mother, don’t send me away, I am but so young; it is late in the day. Dogs on the street shall pick me apart, They’ll chew on my bones and tear out my heart. Then he shall come to claim pieces of me, My soul in tatters, my dreams and debris. But his smile is what I fear the most, His touch, his stench, his breath I loathe. Just let me stay in your warm embrace, Silent as death, I’ll quietly stay. In your lap I’ll sleep a dreamless sleep, No dogs, no wolves shall come to steal. In your sweet grasp, I shall gladly stay, Till it’s time to ...

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