Stories about population growth

Apart from planting trees, what is Pakistan doing to fight climate change?

This week, the House of Commons in the UK became the first parliament to declare an ‘environment and climate change emergency’. The symbolic move, recognising the urgency to tackle the climate crisis, was largely the result of a mass movement organised by the new group, Extinction Rebellion. This group, led mostly by young people, says that time is running out in order to limit global warming to 1.5C and thus demands that solutions be implemented. Supporting them is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old school girl from Sweden who started the #SchoolStrike4Climate, inspired a global movement and has now been nominated ...

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Fudging the population: The missing 90 million Indian Muslims

There is one thing about Indian Muslims that just can’t be denied – most of them are poor. They don’t earn enough to be able to go on vacations to other countries. Most of them wish to go for Hajj to Saudi Arabia, and this they are able to do only when they are very old; having struggled to save over many years for the journey. Of course, there are rich and literate Indian Muslims whom one occasionally meets (mostly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia), and when you talk to them, they are adamant that the population of Indian Muslims is ...

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One would think India is a progressive nation, until it makes “celibate” peacocks its national animal

It stands to reason that a nation situated in one of the least well-endowed regions in the world would have an affiliation for peacocks. Instead, a Rajasthan High Court judge must have been rather afflicted by his peacock – he claims that peacocks are lifelong celibates. The answer shocked interviewers because the question was, “Judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma, why are you a virgin?” Steve Carrel will reportedly play Judge Chandra in the movie version of this story titled, The 40-year-old Judge. Mr Chandra told the reporters, “The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). It never has sex with the peahen. The peahen gets pregnant after swallowing the tears ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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The myth of Musharraf’s ‘economic boom’ needs to die

A recent article ‘Have you forgotten all that Musharraf did for you, Pakistan?’ by Mr Rafay bin Ali regurgitates a popular myth – dictatorship is better for Pakistan’s economy. The author uses cross-regime comparisons based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size to argue that Pervez Musharraf was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan’s economy. Like all myths, this fable is also sustained by a crafty combination of truth and fiction. But it crumbles once we separate the flimsy truth from the falsehood that it conceals. To do this, we must analyse the methodological flaws in the framework used by the ...

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Doctors, where art thou?

Pakistan has a count of ‘athara crore awaam’ (thank you, dear politicians, for continuously repeating this in the television talk shows) while the doctor/patient ratio was a mere 1:1,800 in 2010 – that means a single doctor catered to the medical woes of 1,800 people, and the situation has not seen much improvement ever since. The constitution of Pakistan clearly describes that the state has a responsibility, “To provide basic necessities of life, such as, food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief, for all citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race.” But where does the problem lie? It lies in the fact that ...

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Hunger in South Asia, and other man-made fiascos

We will build a bomb, even if we have to start eating grass to do it. When ZAB used these inspirational words to encourage the people of Pakistan to make sacrifices for the security of the nation, he probably didn’t know that the day would come when eating grass is an upgrade for many. The world’s population went past 7 billion last week, and the growth rate doesn’t show signs of stagnating any time soon. Amid this, the problem of world hunger continues to get more pronounced. According to the World Food Program (WFP), one in seven people around the ...

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The people we are made of

I have an obsession with numbers. They epitomise knowledge in many ways and surveys give us a plethora of numbers and figures to handle and realize the reality of various beliefs and problems in our society. Although social science research remains limited in the country, the surveys conducted by the government do present us with some figures to assess. However, these are almost always never expounded upon and besides the obvious press release that states the executive summary of the reports, the entire news media and blogosphere never addresses them. In that very spirit, I thought that I should highlight ...

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