Stories about relief

Our cricket players did nothing wrong…

From outright fatwas of ‘hang them’ to milder sentences of life-time bans to the conspiracies – everyone seems to have been taken by surprise with corruption in cricket. However, does the occasion really call for such disgust? Is it really that shocking for us to learn of the down-payments on no-ball guarantees? I, for one, am not surprised at all. In fact, I thought people would have treated it like a regular episode and moved on. The contrary response rather amazes me. Young players involved in the scandal and I think they simply did what we told them to do. In ...

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Flood zones: A breeding ground for terrorism

In Pakistan, no matter how bad the situation is, no matter how hopeless the facts, things can always get worse. So while the recent incidents of terrorism in Lahore and Quetta added much pain to an already heartbreaking situation, they were not really surprising. With the Armed Forces and most of the administrative machinery busy catering to the millions rendered homeless and penniless, the terrorists have had ample chance to regroup and recharge. Even though some of the flood hit areas in the tribal belt were home to the TTP and other mainstream terrorist groups including the Haqqani Group, terrorists ...

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A media man in a relief camp

They say guilt is absent when an act is justified. Today I felt guilty because I could not justify sipping branded bottled water as our car moved some kilometers beyond Khan Garh. People from this fertile land were without any kind of drinking water as we were asked to halt by army personnel on the roadside. Thanks to cable TV, these apparently uneducated folk have a good idea of what the electronic media can do these days. They tell me to talk about them. All they want me to do is talk about them. They want me to tell the world that they lost everything. They want us to know that ...

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Packaging hope in the flood crisis

Reminiscent of the spirit of volunteerism witnessed in the wake of the 2005 earthquake, scores of youngsters are gathering at Imperial Lawn at Shahrah-i-Faisal since the past two weeks to pitch in their part to help the 20 million affected by the floods that have wreaked havoc across the country. The spirit at the ground where packing of relief goods was taking place was infectious. One was automatically drawn into the swarm of people who were moving about in circles collecting supplies from the stalls lined around the ground and depositing them at the packaging table. To use the words of ...

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Bursting the ex-patriate bubble

Over the past week having endured the endless hate rants against President Zardari followed by an even more nauseatingly futile rant on the plight of the country’s poor and marginalised by the Pakistani diaspora, I was inspired if not irked into embarking on a bit of a rant myself. At the outset let me clarify, that this is not piece in defence of the President nor a piece attacking those amongst us who constitute the intellectual cream of the nation and are now residing in greener pastures abroad; sipping their Starbucks, flaunting their Gucci’s and uploading pictures of all their ...

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How to feel when you have lost everything

It’s hard to resume normal life after coming back from the flood zone. Vivid images of victims haunt me as the human toll begins to stack. Lately, I’ve been asked to explain what the situation in Khairpur is like and what individuals can do to help. First, allow me to explain a few Sindhi terms which have forcefully made their way into vernacular and will feature prominently in any discourse about floods in upper Sindh. Boodh: Sindhi term for the floods. Ironically, some people, Masi Aqeela leading them, still believe that at the end of the day floods are a ...

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Notes from the flood zone

This flood is worse than the 2005 earthquake because it is going to cause prolonged misery. First of all, all this water is a cesspool in the making. People have no clean drinking water. Do you know what they are doing? Drinking flood water. This is causing gastrointestinal problems. Stagnant water and mosquitoes will ultimately result in malaria. I am not medically qualified, so I can’t paint an accurate picture of the problems, but this is the gist of it all. Apart from that, it’s monsoon season, and we all know all kinds of bugs and insects come out during the ...

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What shoe-throwing won’t achieve

Tired due to the prolonged special transmission on flood relief, I was trying to unwind in my office when a senior colleague came dancing to my chamber. “What is the good news?” I asked him thinking of some big accomplishment in relief efforts. “Someone has thrown a shoe at Zardari!” he exclaimed in joy. I was simply shocked. Here was a career journalist, otherwise supposed to be neutral, and tasked with overall responsibility of the office, absolutely radiant with joy, over an incident of national humiliation if not petty worth. I immediately switched my television on to learn more. The media was ...

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