Stories about poverty

Children’s Day: They belong in schools, not factories

Some of us are liberals while others are conservatives; some of us are righteous Muslims while others are humanists. We have created labels and have given birth to unnecessary clashes, but what most of us have failed at doing is work. We are ready to speak but we are not ready to act upon our words. As John F Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. This quote perhaps sums up not only the importance of children, but also the need to turn them into such individuals that our future may be secured, because it ...

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APS attack: Love can move mountains, part rivers and change Pakistan

I used to hear about a condition often faced by writers called ‘writer’s block’, which entails the writer losing the ability to produce new work or experiencing a creative slowdown. Not that I can call myself a writer but I have certainly had some sort of a block for nearly six years, when it came to penning something down. It coincides almost precisely with the time I left my beloved Pakistan, and I couldn’t quite understand why. I used to wonder whether it was because I had left all the richness of my beautiful country and its people behind which was fuel ...

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The children of Mazin Academy need your help – Will you save them?

It was a distress call for the future of the children under his care. “I don’t know what to do to save the school. I think we should post a note on our Facebook page asking for financial help. It seems like I will have to close the school.” This was a call from my brother, a philanthropist by nature, who was always thinking of doing something more than his studies or career for the welfare of people around him. Thirteen-years older than me, I have always seen him helping people, be it relieving the sweeper from hefty interest loans, giving weekly tuitions ...

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Caught in Islamabad with sex toys and an abortion clinic – Uh Oh

Around 1,000 Pakistani women die every year because of abortion-related complications, and the procedure is often used as a primary family-planning method, rather than a last resort. This is because of a combination between low contraceptive prevalence, low sexual health awareness, unqualified or illegal medical practitioners and social taboos about topics related to sexuality. So when a story comes along that allows broader debate on quack abortionists, it is worrying that the approach taken to covering it is one of religious and moral outrage at the ‘unusual’ sexual elements of the story, rather than the life-preserving element. A recent story about an alleged fake abortion clinic in Islamabad was given ...

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The flaw in Punjab’s child marriage law

Justice Muhammad Imman Ali has served in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh as well as other high ranking positions as a law practitioner. He is famous for his work on child rights; he has drafted the much known comprehensive law Shishu Ain 2013 Children Act in Bangladesh, and has played a vital role in promulgation of the same. In December 2014, he received the International Juvenile Justice without Borders Award for his untiring efforts towards the protection of children’s rights and juvenile justice. A source of inspiration for me, Honourable Justice Imman Ali has articulated very clearly that the two problems – child marriages ...

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What Pakistani dramas can learn from Pyare Afzal

Pakistani dramas are famous for their practical take on people’s everyday life and its complexities rather than an empty glamorous portrayal. This is why they have gained massive popularity in our homeland as well as across the border. Pakistani dramas have succeeded in portraying family life in Pakistan quite aptly except recently, these dramas have been revolving around marriage and family politics. A helpless daughter-in-law, a heartless mother-in-law and an obedient son: With these three characters, a Pakistani drama can possess reasonable viewership. A number of additional characters can also be included to add more mirch masala, but these three are the main protagonists. A helpless daughter-in-law, ...

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Aansoo Kohli: A candle in the wilderness, a teardrop of inspiration

Exiting the Super Highway just outside Hyderabad city and taking the bypass to Mirpurkhas, dense mango orchards with rows upon rows of mature mango trees greet you. You drive past the Sindh Agricultural University Tando Jam, pleasantly surprised by its well-maintained, imposing buildings and its immaculate grounds. The dual-carriage highway from Hyderabad to Mirpur Khas has to be one of the best, smoothest roads anywhere in the country. Just before Mirpur Khas, we turn off the highway onto a single track, bumpy, side road to the town of Kunri. Fields of sugarcane, banana, mustard, onions and other veggies on either ...

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My bleeding heart for my bleeding Pakistan

Before I introduce myself, I would like to add a quote by one of my favourite human beings, Maya Angelou: “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” I am a visually impaired citizen of my beloved country, Pakistan, and this quote has a strong influence on me. I try to do good as much as possible and try to spread love and harmony by my actions. I have a ...

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Over 2000 people have been massacred in Nigeria, but do you care?

As world leaders gathered at the French capital to march in solidarity with France following a brutal attack on its citizens by terrorists, something far more atrocious and horrifying in scale and severity unfolded in north-east Nigeria. Boko Haram militants massacred over 2000 persons, mainly women, children and elderly people. While in France, the militants attacked to avenge the publication of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in Nigeria, Boko Haram militants have a different agenda: to implement Sharia law and turn the country into an Islamic state. For the latter, the motive is much stronger and hence, much more vicious. But this campaign is not ...

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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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