Stories about poverty

Pakistan needs a revolution

‘Allama doctor Tahirul Qadri Canadian’ For many, the word ‘Canadian’ might seem unpleasant here, but I am sure no one will object to the word ‘Allama’. That is how Pakistanis are; they only see what they like. However, who am I to conceal that fact? Everyone knows that Qadri has a dual nationality. Therefore, the word Canadian does not sting as much. Two years ago, 50% of Pakistanis – nay, 80% of Pakistanis – were not familiar with the term ‘Revolution Baba’. But suddenly, on the bright and sunny morning of January 14, 2013, Qadri became famous; not only in Pakistan but ...

Read Full Post

‘Metronomics’ in Lahore: We may be heading for an ‘F’

What brings economic progress to a country? Social scientists have argued for good institutions, trade-suited geographical placement, favourable climatic conditions, cultural homogeneity among a country’s peoples, and – lo and behold – even their superior genetic makeup. Yet, no sociologist has suggested relegating the laws of economics to history’s waste bin. Endowments of nature (such as those listed above) are important indeed, but their apt utilisation (good economics) is much more important. Fiscally speaking, any new project a public official decides to pursue needs a thorough pre-evaluation by experts. Economists have tools to compare a given project’s usefulness to other potential ones. ...

Read Full Post

Sleeping with the enemy

Today, on June 10, 2014, Pakistan has officially become the biggest joke in the world. This is the second attack to have taken place, one at and one near the largest airports in the country. It came after an emotional morning in which the world was informed that bodies of seven people, remnants of the first attack, who were stuck inside the cold storage area, were retrieved. This, of course, only happened when the media boxed the eardrums of every politician it could reach. Before that… well before that we were asleep. We did wake up though. For a few ...

Read Full Post

Let’s tell our children the truth for once

Let’s not keep sitting on a throne like flawless Gods and Goddesses in front of our children inside the iron fort of self-appraisal and narcissism. Let’s not be deluded by thinking that we all have heaven under our feet no matter what. Let’s not get carried away by the grandiosity associated with the parent role, as a role done doesn’t mean a role well done. So let’s muster up some courage and speak the truth for once at last. Let’s tell our kids that mothers not only bring new lives to earth, they also suffocate many before they can even ...

Read Full Post

Agriculture is our golden goose; don’t kill her, my dear Industrialists

The projection of economic growth as something evil, that benefits only the rich, is wrong. Even so, equally erroneous is taking the GDP number for a sacrosanct symbol of sure-fire prosperity for all. Praise is due to the government’s economic team for various improvements in the macro-economy: five per cent growth in first quarter (Q1), about 10 per cent appreciation in the rupee within three months, and excellent performance of the stock market – all reflect recovery. Yet, how these gains are shared with the neediest of the needy remains to be seen – and only this should be taken as being an encompassing yardstick of success. Historically, Pakistan’s ...

Read Full Post

Noor of Bihar

“Babu jee, India is so enormous. Mumbai, Agra, Delhi and Bihar are unfathomable in size. Either you take one step or accomplish a hundred, it will take 10 years to traverse from one end of the country to another,” she assured me in her mellifluous Bihari tone. As the fan overhead continued its eternal hymn, Nani (maternal grandmother) shouted in distaste, “Huh, you have seen India, my foot! Woman of no worth,” she shouted out, as mother and I looked at each other, exchanging mental notes on how to manage Nani’s incorrigible distrust of domestic helpers. Nani suffered from a cancerous tumour ...

Read Full Post

Shhh… my kids are sleeping… I killed them both

As I write this, my little boy sits next to me with a mango juice box in one hand and the iPad in another. I glance at him and think of how wonderful childhood is. Cartoons of five monkeys jumping on a bed drive you into a fit of laughter. Hugs and kisses are aplenty. He sleeps on a warm, comfortable bed every night. When he’s sick, his mother wastes no time in giving him the medication he needs. When his father comes home from work, he hugs his little boy and kisses his booboos. He’s a lucky, lucky kid. He’s lucky ...

Read Full Post

Mars: The perfect place for vacation?

On December 25, an aircraft was developed by Sheikh Hamza Jilani, famously known as the ‘Populator’. It was widely spoken about throughout the world. The news had greatly disturbed and pestered my parents, who were quite obviously averse to the idea of living on another planet. The government would decide the people who would be flown to a place, completely unknown to every one of us. My brother seemed rather disturbed by that fact. “That means one of us could be sent, alienated from our home but right next to aliens?!?” I, likewise, despised the idea from the core of my heart. On a regular ...

Read Full Post

You can’t care about animal rights on an empty stomach

Rehmu was on his last tour of the day, carrying bricks from one point to another on his donkey cart. He needed to do at least five such tours a day in order to earn enough for a sufficient meal for him and his family. But today he could only do four and he knew that it would not be enough for his family. He was thinking that either he or his wife would have to pretend not to be hungry that night. He had known since that morning that he would not have enough work today. His mind had ...

Read Full Post

I wish I didn’t feel like such a foreigner

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t born in such a big house Didn’t watch so many Disney cartoons, Or read so much Enid Blyton, when I was young… Didn’t go to the poshest all-girls private school in town, Or eat at the best foreign restaurants Hadn’t ever been on a plane, Ever outside the country Didn’t know the words to every English song on the radio Didn’t have a big air-conditioned car Didn’t live in Defence Didn’t always get what I wanted. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t feel like such a foreigner In my own country Among my own people That I wouldn’t be polite, Embarrassed, awkward That Punjabi or Urdu would flow from my mouth As effortlessly as ...

Read Full Post