Stories about profit

Why is Sheikh Rashid in charge of Pakistan Railways?

Ever since Sheikh Rashid has been given charge of the Ministry of Railways, he has been busy making a hue and cry about the railways department being ruined by the corruption during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s tenure. In every single press conference, Rashid levels allegations of mass corruption on members of the PML-N, particularly former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique. However, on Wednesday, December 27th an audit report by AF Ferguson was presented in the Supreme Court (SC) by Rafique’s lawyers, which stated that no corruption or irregularities were found in the railways department during the five-year tenure of ...

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When clothing brands profit from your grief

In this capitalist world, everything is for sale. Every season, every holiday, every occasion can be commercialised. Christmas Day sales, Black Friday, Thanksgiving sales, Diwali discounts, Eid collections; you name anything and there will always be a person making money off of it. In Pakistan, Eid and Ramazan are probably the most celebrated occasions, no surprises there since this country is the Islamic Republic after all. As soon as the month of Ramazan closes in, prices of food elevate to another level. From your fruit vendor to your butcher, everyone demands more money. And then there are of course those gazillion iftar ...

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Escape Plan 2: Hades – the only escape you should be planning is one out of the theatre

When Escape Plan came out in 2013 nobody really expected it to be good. And it wasn’t. But it did enough with its premise to create a relatively fun prison break movie. And with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone starring opposite of each other, the film succeeded at being what it was; a dumb but enjoyable B movie that doubled as the long-awaited big-screen team-up of two of the biggest movie stars of the 80’s and 90’s. It was about cashing in on the nostalgia that these stars brought. And the studio duly cashed-in. But nothing about the film could have pointed ...

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Only in Pakistan can your child get an ‘A’ without learning anything

Over the past few years, the policy on education has taken centre stage in Pakistan. There is now debate over reforming the curriculum of madrassas, as they have failed millions of students who have, and continue to receive, their education in these religious seminaries. However, it is not just the madrassas that need reform, but also the ‘elite’ private school system. I have been teaching part-time in Karachi’s private sector for almost a decade, and it is blatantly clear that the current system has failed miserably. Be it private universities or schools, few understand or are interested in the purpose of education itself. The ...

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What will happen to the stock market if the PM resigns?

In 2007, I underwent a six-hour-long marathon panel interview at the London office of one of the (then) largest hedge funds in Europe called XYZ Capital*. A senior partner – perhaps a PhD holder – drew the entire map of the Middle East, East Asia and Europe, and tested my knowledge about the current affairs of each country turn by turn. After a gruelling session, the partner remarked, “An investor may have the best of quantitative minds but markets don’t make sense if the political factors don’t make sense.” I engraved it then but have only felt it now. Surviving through the minor speed breakers ...

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Capitalism: A deal with the devil

It has been the greatest success story in the history of mankind. It has fuelled unprecedented economic, social and cultural growth, alleviated millions of people around the world from poverty and economic hardship, and ushered in a new era of technological innovation. However, while none of the political bigwigs and the so-called pariahs of the system care to admit, capitalism has created just about every problem in our world and the majority of its seven billion plus people face daily. It can be argued that terrorism global financial crises, famines, droughts and environmental changes are all the byproducts of the relentless need ...

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Digital piracy: Sharing is not stealing

Today, we are witness to an increasing number of crackdowns on piracy, with the police raiding street vendors, storerooms and middlemen involved in piracy of media goods including music CDs, VCDs, DVDs, books, software CDs, etcetera, with tougher laws, heavier penalties and fines, and with increasing court cases filed by media producers against pirates. However, piracy is an overwhelming force, with millions of criminals working hand in hand with consumers – us, the people who patronise the theft in films, music, comics, books, and other media goods. Sharing is not stealing: At least, it shouldn’t be How about digital piracy though? ...

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The customer is always right…but is he happy?

During uncertain times, the customer becomes the lifeblood of any business. But today the brand team is struggling with which existing and prospective customers to target with their current offers via multiple channels of interaction. Many established corporations are aligning their resources towards BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, for growth opportunities and are aiming to hone in on the rise in disposable income within these economies – notably China, whose new five-year plan aims at a growth strategy fuelled by domestic consumption instead of the trillion-dollar generating strategy of exports maximisation. What they are finding is the difficulty to ...

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Floods and the business of responsibility

These days Pakistan is going through the worst flooding in its history. Even before the floods, most people living in rural areas that have been affected were living in abject poverty. It is the responsibility of companies to participate in and finance projects that address the long term needs and social welfare of the flood victims. Occasional distribution of cheques and commodities is good but much more has to be done – and on a regular basis. The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not new in Pakistan. Companies across the country participate in and arrange welfare activities to ...

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Is Islamic banking really Islamic?

The journey began with trying to establish Shariah compliant prudent banking opportunities. The concept was to provide Halal banking and safety from Riba (interest). The aim was to avoid foreign banks and their banking system in Muslims countries. The vision was to establish an Islamic Economic System. After the initial stage, people started having questions in their minds: Is Islamic banking really is Islamic? The matter is drawn from two aspects. First, what is the difference in the methodology the common man can see when he deals with an Islamic bank in comparison to a conventional commercial bank? And second, whether ...

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