Stories about policies

Ineffective management floods Pakistan… again

The recent floods that have wreaked havoc in various parts of the country should come as no surprise due to the increasing frequency of unpredictable weather patterns and Pakistan’s inability to deal with them. We remain fixated on issues of national security and domestic politics, and climate change and the resulting water crisis remain Pakistan’s most threatening issue. The floods of previous years and the drought in Thar (a few months ago) testify to the growing unpredictability of the weather and ineffective management of the government. Despite efforts to develop the service sector, we remain predominantly an agrarian economy; therefore, the effect of climate change ...

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Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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U-19 World Cup: Is inconsistency part of Pakistani culture?

There are times when certain characteristics become symbolic of a particular country. That is, these characteristics are exhibited by the general masses as well as their leaders and institutions; hence it makes them part of a particular culture. For Pakistanis, I believe, that one characteristic is their utter lack of consistency. Albeit our politics, our economy, our policy-making or our sports, consistency has largely been absent for a greater period of time. In sports, our teams are widely known for being painfully inconsistent and this has become our reputation in the global arena. In the recently concluded Under-19 (U-19) World Cup, our young ...

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Remembering Jalib, remembering his fight against dictatorship

There was a man who audaciously used to say, “Mai nahi Manta” (I refuse to accept) He was neither a bourgeois nor a feudal and surely, he was not patronised by any ‘third force’ (Teesri Quwwat) that has a hand in every incident that takes place in Pakistan. He was an ideologue, charismatic and an eloquent poet. Moreover, he was best known for his revolutionary zeal. He struggled for the restoration of democracy and human rights. His enthralling poetry elucidated the notorious rule of dictators. However, his poesy still befits today’s political setting. That man was none other than the great Habib Ahmed Jalib. Dastoor was ...

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Pakistan needs a leader like Margaret Thatcher

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and would achieve nothing.” Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Hilda Thatcher embodied these words. To some she was an icon of assertiveness and conviction, to others, she was just a bossy old lady. Perhaps no other prime minister in the history of Britain has been loved and reviled at the same time as she has been, but that is who Margaret Thatcher was. To judge her on her political and economic beliefs solely would be to overlook her love for her country and her superhuman steadfastness ...

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President Obama for another 4 years: Let the rhetoric continue!

On November 6, Barack Obama made it into the history books one more time. He has been re-elected as president of the United States for a second term despite high unemployment numbers, at a time when the majority of Americans are very uncertain about their futures. The last time re-election in the face of such dismal unemployment rates was accomplished in 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt took the presidency for the second time. America is increasingly becoming multicultural and ethnically diverse. In 2008, Hispanics, African-Americans and other minorities turned the tide for democrats in most states, showing overwhelming support for the first ...

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Refund policy: The end of university looting

Largely unreported, Pakistani students earned a well-deserved victory in the Islamabad High Court last week. The High Court ruled the current policy adopted by several public and private universities to demand non-refundable deposits at the time of offering admission ‘illegal’. This is a problem that many students are familiar with. When the admission season starts, they apply to a range of institutions and even start hearing back from a lot of them. However, they are still in waiting for their first choice to respond. In the meantime, unsure whether they will get into their most preferred university or not, they start making deposits ...

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Why the Pakistan Army makes state policies

It is difficult to assess whether the Pakistan Army is naïve or strategically calculated to step in the Supreme Court on the Memogate scandal. Obvious, however, is the fact that the critical step has brought the Army out in public, where previously only politicians and bureaucrats were mocked and sorted out. The Pandora’s box has popped open and an influx of articles criticising the unlimited power of the armed forces on defense, foreign and domestic political policies of Pakistan have been unleashed. While political pundits have declared the notion that the army makes the foreign, defense and domestic political policies of Pakistan as a ‘fact’– ...

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The financial reality of a democratic Egypt

The School of Oriental and African Studies London, recently published a paper by Dr Adam Hanieh, (Hanieh is originally from Palestine, currently teaching at SOAS), in which he shed some very needed light on the Arab Spring and particularly on the real socio-economic situation of Egypt. Dr Hanieh points out that there were some concrete realities, relating to the socio-economic policies of Mubarak’s regime, which forced the bulk of Egyptians on to the streets to demonstrate their anger and frustration. For example, the inflation rate was greater than 10 per cent, and it had risen to more than 20% for food products. According ...

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Pakistan Railways and class

If financial statements were Pakistan Railways’ (PR) only problem, a recent Rs11.5 billion bailout package would have been an encouraging omen for its future. The Railways’ predicament, however, like that of the entire Pakistani state, concerns [lack of] ideas and self-interested policies. By definition, it is public transport; in practice, it serves first its bureaucracy and then the passengers. Originally rail networks were built in India to link up inland economic centres to port cities for efficient transportation of raw materials for onward shipment to Britain. Profitability, then, was central to its business model and transportation of goods. A factsheet available ...

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