Stories about poor

Let them eat cake

Files outside broken doors, Head counts reach to thousands, Hands spread, Arms outstretched, For food, Money, (Weaponry exchanges hands) And still, Waiting for more.   Greedy, no, Impoverished, Eyes eat up more, Than goes in the mouth. At the end of the day, Let them eat cake.   But at the turn, The dreams peek through, Stolen glances. The daring hope, (The bird still perched) We’re silent amidst the noise of our revolt. (Revolution) At the end of the day, Our blood is still green. Read more by Maryam ...

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Pakistan’s real problems

A lot of cities of Pakistan are home to more people than the total population of some countries. Anyone who comes to this country for the first time is bound to be shocked by the enormous number of people on the streets. The closer you get to this flood of people in Pakistan, the more you cognizant you become of the harsh realities of their everyday lives. Even though Pakistan is always on the news nowadays, – albeit for the wrong reasons – in the rhetoric of war on terror, religious extremism, drones and military operations, the plethora of problems that are faced by Pakistanis ...

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If I could wish a wish I would wish for Eid all year long!

With the last few days of Ramazan followed by Eid festivities, it is not unjustified to say that a period of celebration is fast approaching us Pakistanis. Thank God! The highlight of these celebrations is nonetheless the buzz that one gets to experience right before Eid. The moment you step foot into the tiny lanes of Gizri market, or the famous Ashiana, you can sense the excitement when a swarm of aunties are seen, making the lives of their ‘bechara darzis‘ (poor tailors) miserable. Designer catalogues in hand, ladies of all shapes and sizes, stand deciding their ‘trendy sa Eid ka jora’ (Eid clothes) to match their ...

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Ramazan packages: Disguised acts of benevolence to win votes

With the holy month of Ramazan upon us, the federal and Punjab governments have announced subsidy packages for the poor public to facilitate price cuts on edible items as a goodwill gesture. The Punjab government has earmarked Rs4 billion to provide subsidies on kitchen items to the poor during the holy month. In a similar initiative, the federal government has reserved Rs 2.532 billion to extend subsidies on various food items and edible commodities. The prime objective of the packages is to ensure relief to the low-income segment of society. This is an election year and the PPP has thought about the ...

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I would rather be the 99%

When my husband and I moved to the US,  we knew that it wasn’t for good. Contrary to everybody’s assumptions, we knew that we were going to return to Pakistan, at some point in the meandering, distant future. But we never imagined that it would be now, so suddenly, so unexpectedly, and under such sad circumstances. As I sit here in the study of my in-laws’ house in Lahore this sunny April afternoon, looking out on a sumptuous garden decked with purple petunias, crimson lilies, snow-white roses and bright bougainvillea, listening to the chipper of birds and the low chatter of servants in ...

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Child labour in Pakistan: They have dreams like ours

Child labour refers to work done by children that harms them or exploits them either physically or mentally. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) defines a ‘child’ as anyone below the age of 18, and ‘child labour’ as any form of work performed by children below age 18. On the way to university, a few days ago, I observed many children working in the streets of Quetta. Most of them were boys, between the age of 10 to 14. They were carrying an assortment of goods like paper, plastic, wood and pieces of metal in bags in order to sell these. Looking ...

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A sneak peak into Eidolon: A post-apocalyptic scenario

A great nuclear war has destroyed everything, turning planet Earth into nothing but a radioactive wasteland. Long-lost history of the world hangs around in thin air like a myth. Mankind has begun to believe that the world was always this grey. There are no more countries, no culture and no such thing as religion. But wait, I’m not narrating the script of some Steven Spielberg movie. This is the plot of my dream project, my comic– Eidolon, which means ‘an idealised person/thing or a phantom’. It was in 2007 when I, driven by my inspiration for art, started working on a ...

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A day in the life of Nasreen kaamvaali

Get-togethers at our place had increasingly become as monotonous John Grisham’s novels – the same faces, the same stories. That was before a fecund family brought along its 12-year-old maid who doubled as a nanny. Nasreen had a clean face, shampooed hair and possibly her best dress on, but bent by the weight of a chubby baby, she seemed like a blot on the landscape. She couldn’t be part of light-hearted flirtation, political discussions or trade cooking recipes, so she just sat in the corner and smiled. For a pubescent girl stuck with a two-year-old who, when not eating or sleeping, could ...

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I am ashamed

I moved to Hyderabad  Deccan about a year ago, but somehow Hyderabad’s suffering doesn’t register with me. Its people still don’t seem to be my people, and their misery doesn’t seem to be my misery, or even misery at all. This is probably because I’m a Karachiite. Being a Karachiite means you’ve lived through bombings, target killings and the city going up in flames over and over again; it means there have been times when your father hasn’t come home for the night because it was safer to stay put wherever he was; it means there is a high probability that you ...

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Selling a kidney to end poverty

The government’s bold claims of eliminating poverty from the country are clearly derailed by the dismal state of the public health institutions. It seems that the government has found an innovative system to kill poverty by killing the poor themselves. Meanwhile, the increasing sky-rocketing inflation has also limited the common man’s access to basic health, as a large majority cannot even afford the transport expenses. In fact, this differential between the haves and have-nots is at an all-time high. It was clearly depicted recently when our president went to Dubai for his medical treatment which costs lakhs of rupees per day. I ...

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