Stories about Qatar

The ugly truth about Pakistan’s hospitals

There was a sudden bombardment of messages in the Whatsapp group chat consisting of my batch from medical college, with more than 200 messages flooding it in over half an hour. They must be discussing some new developments in Covid-19 vaccines or treatment protocols, I assumed. But that was not the case for the sudden upsurge in messages. It all began when one of our batch mates in Canada told us that she, along with other members of the civil society, is volunteering to prepare face masks from home for a local hospital. This started a discussion among my batch mates, working ...

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The scenario for Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal

The tentative deal signed on February 29, 2020 between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban after almost two decades of war hinges on a successful execution of four main points. Firstly, America has to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, with 5,600 troops to leave the country within 135 days. Secondly, the Taliban and the Afghan government (which was not a party to the deal) must open direct talks, which will be preceded by the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners currently held by the Afghan government and the release of 1,000 prisoners in Taliban captivity. Thirdly, the Taliban ...

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Lessons in tenacity: Why Pakistan should learn from Turkey

When faced with the seemingly unyielding support of its ostensible NATO ‘partners’ for Kurdish secessionists in the Syrian-Turkish border regions, Turkey faced a veritable conundrum. Turkey’s  successful October 9-24, 2019 Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria against entrenched, US military-protected Kurdish fighters came after setting red lines regarding its national security, acknowledging that lack of respect afforded to those red lines by traditional partners necessitated threatening core foundational assets of its ties with them, recognising its advantages and constraints and hedging its bets with new foreign allies. In numerous ways, Turkey’s negotiation of the ordeal vis a vis the Kurds and ...

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Why the alleged spat with WWE epitomises Mohammad bin Salman as a leader

In recent news, the famous American World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is apparently in a spat with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It was initially reported that the latter had not paid the former their dues for two special events held in Saudi Arabia this year and reportedly owes WWE Chairman Vince McMahon between $300 and 500 million. Additionally, WWE wrestlers missed a show scheduled immediately after the last Saudi event after Salman ‘retaliated’ to McMahon threatening to cut off the Crown Jewel live television feed by ordering that the departee wrestlers are taken off their flight out of the ...

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The repercussions of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest

One could argue that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest has always been on the cards. He has been very vocal against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime, has said he was not afraid of being arrested, and he also never filed a petition for protective bail against his arrest. But before discussing Abbasi’s current predicament, it is important to understand the charges levied against him. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Karachi office, while investigating the case against Abbasi in 2017, observed that there were irregularities in the awarding of the LNG contracts. It was said that the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited ...

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Making Pakistan proud: In conversation with interdisciplinary designer Wajiha Pervez

Pakistan has an abundance of talent, and young Pakistanis continue to make their homeland proud internationally. One such Pakistani is Wajiha Pervez, a Pakistani artist, interdisciplinary designer, materials enthusiast and traveler. Qatar Foundation (QF), a conglomerate of academic institutions including campuses of many international universities, houses the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts (VCUQ). The university hosts a high-profile event, Tasmeem Doha, which hosts renowned artists and speakers from all over the world. Up until now, the board of the event only consisted of either key faculty members from the parent campus in Richmond or top local faculty. However, this year, ...

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How the US pushed Pakistan into the arms of China and Russia

The US has always had a curious but quietly spoken relationship with Pakistan. At one point, Pakistan was the third largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving over $3.5 billion from the US in 2011 alone. While this aid has been steadily decreasing since the aforementioned peak in 2011, US-Pakistan relations took a sharp turn for the worse at the beginning of this year when US President Donald Trump decided to herald in the new year by launching a Twitter tirade against Pakistan. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 ...

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Is Saudi Arabia “taking over” Pakistan?

Earlier this year, when the election campaign in Pakistan was running at fever pitch, I found myself listening to an old classic by The Who. The song was Won’t Get Fooled Again and the line that got me pondering was “meet the old boss, same as the new boss”. I shuddered when I heard this line while watching parties push their candidates. It was literal horse-trading as politicians scrambled to capture the number of seats required to secure the government for themselves. We are barely a few months into the new government and people are already questioning and debating the current government’s decisions. For example, take the ...

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The curse of the green passport: 4 places to visit this Eid break without any visa woes

English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He could not have been more accurate, as only the bearer of a green passport can truly understand this. However, though it is obviously very difficult to get a visa on a green passport, it is not entirely impossible. If you move away from the Americas and the European destinations to allow for an easier visa, there are several countries that wholeheartedly welcome you despite the colour of your passport. Given the (not so) long Eid holidays coming up, I shall highlight a ...

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Waging a war against the Taliban and then calling for peace talks – the US doesn’t know what it wants

A Pakistani foreign official (FO) recently disclosed that the US administration was secretly pushing Pakistan to bring the Haqqani network to the dialogue table. This revelation was shocking as the Donald Trump administration, following the footsteps of its predecessors, has constantly asked Islamabad to crack down against the anti-US and Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network allegedly operating out of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The FO official also revealed how there were no specific demands made by the Trump administration other than facilitating Washington on the reconciliation process with the Haqqanis. Such developments are coming at a critical juncture, with Afghanistan losing ground ...

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