Stories about progress

PML-Q may be an underdog in this game of politics but their contributions speak for themselves

The “king’s party” is back in mainstream politics after a hiatus of almost 10 years. They have done much to rid themselves of this tag since Pervez Musharraf’s downfall. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) performance in Pakistan’s largest and administratively difficult province, Punjab, has been exemplary during the Musharraf rule, after both supported each other for almost eight years. After losing strong candidates, PML-Q has seen many lows but remained steadfast and persevered to now make a coalition with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). With PTI’s support, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was elected as Punjab Assembly’s speaker – the province he once governed as ...

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Pakistan’s brain drain: 11 exceptional Pakistanis unrecognised by their own country, until they leave

Pakistan is a land of diverse culture and boundless talent. However, what we lack here in abundance is acceptance, while denouncement and hatred are quite easy to come by. We push away anything or anyone who is even slightly diverse when compared to the hordes of our mediocre mainstream, choosing monotony over innovation. As a consequence, those who are truly gifted are forced to leave the country and follow their dreams elsewhere. And why shouldn’t they? Those with bigger dreams need bigger horizons, and instead of broadening ours, we cast them out. Then we have the audacity to comment on how ...

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The desire for change: A new Pakistan does not mean a better Pakistan

I began writing this in the morning after the 2018 Pakistani General Elections. This was my third time voting in an election, and my first time voting in Pakistan. On Election Day, I was moved. The morning after, I felt uneasy. I woke up to the headlines heralding Imran Khan as the prime minister of Pakistan amidst strong allegations of rigging. Not feeling particularly loyal to any party, and knowing with a level of certainty that the candidates I had voted for would not win – and they did not – I wasn’t keen on staying up all night biting my ...

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Dear sexist men, your privileged gender is not an outcome of your “biological” qualities, but of social conditioning

Recently, I wrote an article based on two recent videos which went viral. The main idea behind the article was to showcase two outstanding individuals who challenged gender stereotypes instead of conforming to society’s prescribed gender roles, going on to live their individual dreams. For me, these individuals are heroes and, in fact, trailblazers as they have challenged socially constructed stereotypes. These stereotypes play a large role in determining what is expected of men and women from society. By spelling out these expectations and enforcing them through upbringing and cultural norms, men and women are often regimented into different roles and hence, destinies. These different roles also largely account ...

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Interfaith gestures: Moral placebos or progress?

On November 14, 2014, Muslims prayed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. South Africa’s US Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a sermon and declared that, “never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith,” and media observers heralded this breakthrough in interfaith relations, though not all cheered. The prayers were interrupted by a heckler screaming that America was “founded on Christian principles”. Reverend Franklin Graham described the event as “sad”. Dr Sebastian Gorka at Breitbart.com accused the Muslim Brotherhood of taking over the cathedral, inexplicably bringing in the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire; all this in the ...

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Iqbal: Relevant yesterday but not today

An airport, university, countless schools and roads – the list of places and institutions bearing the name of Allama Iqbal goes on and on. If Pakistan was a religion, Iqbal would be a prophet. Iqbal came to prominence in a time when the Muslim World was in apparent decline. Spain was long gone. The Mughal Empire was dead. For Muslims in his native British India, Iqbal’s poetry was a rallying call to rise; extremely relevant for his times on a socio-political level. 76 years after his death, however, his relevance needs to revisited. Iqbal was not a capitalist. He wasn’t a socialist. He criticised ...

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Mr Prime Minister, is your government really the emblem of economic progress?

Forget, for a moment, that your panic and desperation resulted in the nation giving unnecessary attention to Tahirul Qadri. Forget the fact that once again the law enforcers in Punjab, under the umbrella term of law and order, put behind bars thousands of workers of the political parties that were giving you a tough time. Forget, for now, about the fact that what would have been just another march or protest became even bigger because you dug a hole for your own government’s future by over-reacting. Let us even forget for a moment that this political mayhem has us wondering whether democracy will ...

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Will we ever see a nuke-free world?

Despite numerous calls and rhetoric to move towards global nuclear disarmament, no significant progress has been achieved to this day. Instead, all these efforts have met with a tragic end. The recent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report has shown a very dismal picture with regards to this. All nine nuclear states are currently in possession of 16,300 nuclear weapons, which includes 4000 operational ones. P5 countries, which include the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, are upgrading their nuclear arsenal and spending a hefty amount on the development of new weaponry systems. Though, we have seen a ...

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Why tech-based entrepreneurship is important

Technology based entrepreneurship has rapidly gained momentum in western societies with low costs to entry and high Return on Investment (ROIs) acting as the prime catalysts. The trend has piqued interest in Pakistan recently as well for similar reasons. Consequently, entrepreneurship courses and workshops are gaining interest among the country’s youth. As recently as a month ago, there was news in The Express Tribune about a book exchange project launched by two students of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. This was truly a commendable effort and such entrepreneurial spirit can only be facilitated through the innovative use ...

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Working mom dilemmas: A life in progress

There are too many things on my plate. That’s how it has been for as long as I can remember. Selected highlights of a typical day of mine make me feel sorry for myself. I am a working woman and this is my life. My day revolves around handling my maid’s mood swings and training her to make Thai food or gajar ka halwa, while I make Thai food and gajar ka halwa, and masoor ki daal that happily simmers on the other stove. Amidst this cooking and cleaning, I take out an hour to do aerobics a few times a week. This involves stretches and workouts ...

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