Stories about Polio

With a wafer-thin yet bipolar plot, Load Wedding cannot decide what it wants to be

With films like the Na Maloom Afraad series and Actor In Law under his belt, Nabeel Qureshi has not only entertained audiences but has also pulled off three of his ventures thus far. It won’t be wrong to say that Qureshi is a filmmaker for the masses, with Na Maloom Afraad being a genuine entertainer, whereas its sequel – loaded with toilet humour – also received appreciation, though not as much as the original. So what happens when a director known for mass entertainers tries something new and moves towards a different genre, with a film that centres on a ...

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Like mother, like daughter: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari should be the future of PPP, not Bilawal

In many ways, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been a progressive political force for this country. The development and implementation of a democratic constitution by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (albeit flawed); the party’s staunch opposition against dictatorship; the fact that PPP gave Pakistan and the Muslim world its first female prime minister – all these factors have portrayed PPP in a forward-thinking, amicable light. Hence, it comes as a shock that a party that was led by a woman for more than 20 years is finding it difficult to provide her daughter a nomination ticket for the General Assembly. Recently, it was ...

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Great performances and a powerful message, yet ‘Saawan’ will fail terribly at the box office

It is next to impossible to produce an experimental film in Pakistan, mainly because the distributors do not support the venture unless it comprises of a star-studded cast. Director Farhan Alam and Kalakar Films deserve appreciation for breaking barriers with their new film, Saawan. The film is written by Mashood Qadri and features Syed Karam Hussain, Imran Aslam, Najiba Faiz and Saleem Mairaj in pivotal roles. The film revolves around Saawan (Syed Karam Hussain), a physically challenged young boy who suffers from polio and lives in a valley in Balochistan. His father is frustrated, depressed and hopeless because of his son’s disability and does not treat ...

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Remembering Pakistan’s silent killer on World Pneumonia Day

In recent times, Pakistan has, unfortunately, earned a notorious reputation where health care is concerned. Be it polio or hepatitis C, we continue to make headlines for being the country with the highest number of cases, around the world or in the region. It is not surprising then that Pakistan has the third highest death rate for pneumonia in the world, particularly in the paediatric population. Pneumonia is an acute infection that affects the lungs. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even fungi. It presents with cough, difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, and wheezing with or without fever. According to World Health ...

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Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao

As part of a remembrance to Robin Williams, I arranged a showing of Good Will Hunting and invited some school friends over. After the movie ended, one of them remarked on the critical role the protagonist’s teacher, Prof Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medal winner, and mentor  Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) had in his development. “We didn’t have anyone as dedicated as them. Not even close.” I had to disagree and thought back to an incident back in March 1991. The phone rang and my mother picked it up. “Hello, is this the home of Sibtain Naqvi?” a lady asked. My mother ...

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Ebola 101: Follow Nigeria, Pakistan

As Pakistan battles numerous infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid, tuberculosis and polio, the western media is taken over by the Ebola scare. With the recent media frenzy surrounding three suspected Ebola patients in Pakistan, the hysteria is now equally palpable at home. The question being asked is: Will Ebola hit Pakistan? Ebola is a severe viral infection with an average mortality rate of about 70%. The incubation period – the time between infection by the virus and onset of symptoms – is between two and 21 days. This means that it can take up to three weeks before the ...

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Can the Pakistani education system stop catering to political agendas please?

The issue of school curriculum has been under discussion in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for some time now. The 18th Amendment devolved the education sector to the provinces but that has yet to bear fruit, since the leaders who have decided to take up the responsibility of planning a ‘better’ future for the youth of K-P still need to achieve some constructive results. Playing its ‘due’ role, the coalition government in the province wants to change what is being taught to children at schools. The changes desired are within the lines of ‘religious’ and ‘national’ teachings, according to the members. They want chapters on national heroes like Bacha Khan ...

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What good is the Shaheen1A Missile?

“Pakistan successfully test-fires Hatf-IV ballistic missile” This was the headline that greeted me a few days ago as I logged into my Facebook account. Instinctively, I clicked on it and began reading. The story discussed the launch of a new ballistic missile called the ‘Shaheen1A Missile’ which has the capacity to carry nuclear warheads to a distance of 900 kilometres (km). After skimming through the main news, and skipping the parts of what the naval chief had to say about this, I moved towards the comments section. As expected, patriots, nationalists, and whatever other jingoistic euphemism we use to explain such kind of people, ...

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Polio vaccine: Is it really as safe as it is claimed to be?

Reporting on polio vaccination has secured a regular slot in major media outlets. The reporting is mostly always supportive of the vaccination campaign commonly called “polio eradication”. But is the Oral Polio Vaccine( OPV), or Sabin vaccine (named after Albert Sabin), which is administered to millions of children in the developing world, really safe? Does it have no harmful effect on human health a claimed by some doctor in a recent story? The short answer is: no, it’s not completely safe. Not only can it cause permanent disability in some children, it actually has caused epidemics of paralysis in at least two countries ...

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If Ebola hits Pakistan

The Ebola outbreak has claimed almost 5000 lives since March. A vast majority of lives have been lost in West Africa, with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea facing the worst hit. Even though WHO has declared Nigeria Ebola free, there is as yet no vaccine or even a specific treatment for the virus, which has a dismal survival rate of 37%. This infection produces a range of mild to deadly reactions in people, from complete resistance to moderate to severe illness, followed by recovery and then to excessive bleeding, organ failure and death. Like HIV, Ebola is not airborne. Touching the blood and body fluids of ...

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