Stories about resources

Naya Pakistan, purana Balochistan

As expected, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) grabbed more seats than any other party in the legislative provincial assembly in the 2018 General Elections. Though they did not win an absolute majority, BAP has enough elected members to attract other parties and independent candidates to form a coalition government. In the entire history of the province, there has never been a political party that has enjoyed an absolute majority in the assembly, so switching party loyalties to form a coalition government is a common occurrence. Of the 50 members of the house, the BAP acquired 17 seats, with two of them going ...

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Pakistan and India should celebrate independence from the British – not from each other

Sometime back I ran into an elderly man at work. Since I live in an area of Canada that is densely populated with immigrants from Indian Punjab, I knew the gentleman was from India. After I was done helping him out, he looked at my name-tag and asked me what part of India I was from. I told him I was from Pakistan, not India. A wide smile appeared on his face, and he asked me what city of Pakistan I belonged to. After I mentioned that I was from Lahore, his smile grew even wider as he got teary-eyed. ...

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The end is nigh, when North Nazimabad is the new Clifton

Everyone laughed at me in school for living on the other side of the bridge. Well who is laughing now? Was centuries of affluence really worth ending up in a real life Finding Nemo type situation? No longer will people from the other side of the bridge have to drive an hour just to see the ocean. The ocean is finally coming to them. North Nazimabad is the new Clifton. People from Defence/Clifton would sit on buses every Sunday and drive to Nazimabad for some fun. The Super Karachi Express is only the start of a city-wide trend. For so long, I have ...

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Give Pakistan a chance

There are quite a few times in the day that I find myself in the comfort of my living room hearing people excoriate the way things are running in this country. The source of the criticism is either a guest whining on a talk show on TV or a companion grumbling about the prevalent paucity of gas and electricity in the country. I come across numerous people around me, analysing and commenting on the many problems of our country. Some would say, “It is the exigency for a solid leadership.” Others devise a fancy conspiracy theory about it all being an orchestrated play, scripted by the ...

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Don’t ignore your IDPs, Pakistan!

The military operation in Swat five-years-ago led to the displacement of approximately two million Pakistanis, who had to abandon their homes, commodities and lives overnight to a bleak and uncertain future. Facing obscurity, these two million refugees trekked to safer locales with infants and elderly in tow. According to United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statistics, released as of September 11, 2012, there were 160,063 families still resigned to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status, of which 12% (18,783 families) were still residing in camps and 88% (141,280 families) were residing in host communities two years back. Though the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted ...

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‘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. ...

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La Tomatina festival in Lahore: Can we afford to do this?

It seems as if the time has come for the Pakistani youth to be reminded of the simple yet appropriate pleasure offered by the water balloons. It just so happens that we’ve found a rather unorthodox substitute in the form of the tomato. But we can’t take all the credit for this, or any credit for that matter, as the idea has been copied from Spain’s annual tomato fight festival, ‘La Tomatina’.  For a country such as Spain, with its own traditions and culture and a far superior economic situation than ours, we might let such frivolities slide.  Millions of ...

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From Peshawar: A plea to the government

Dear Leaders of Pakistan, I hope you are well and are busy overseeing and planning solutions for the many problems faced by our nation. Since you will, undoubtedly, be caught up with reforms rather than amassing wealth, as you have just stepped into office, I thought I should tell you a little bit about your awaam. As a dutiful child is expected to inform his parents about the changes happening in his life, I want to tell you about how we are living now. We, your children, have finally installed a generator at home. Despite living in a posh area of the capital ...

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Why we cannot win against the Taliban

The Islamic fundamentalists are on a slow path to victory. Faced with unsurmountable odds after 2001, nobody would have thought that this group of a few men would be able to stage such a comeback. It’s a funny thing, because many Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders who are interviewed say that the fact that they are winning seems unreal to them. It sure is unreal – how can a small group with minimal access to advanced weaponry and technology, as compared to their enemies, be winning? The statistics are incredible; 80% of Somalia is under the control of al-Qaeda; 60% of ...

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An astronomical waste – literally

Pakistan’s government institutions and universities own valuable astronomical resources which are being wasted. There are telescopes – that could be put to good use by amateur astronomy societies like the KaAS (Karachi Astronomer’s Society) – which are currently doing nothing. One of these, a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, is stationed at Pakistan’s answer to NASA: Suparco (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission). According to market evaluation by Zain Ahmed, the vice-president of the KaAS, the current price of the 14th Schmidt-Cassegrain at Suparco as a complete package would be between $4,500-5,000. The telescope has not been used for 10 years. Officials at Suparco ...

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