Stories about roads

The anvil of the East

In the cold hard stare of those shanty towns, You hear the busy bikes bustling around, You hear the hearty children humming to the sounds, You see the posh Prado that does not belong, You see the glock pointed, “Sir, go along”. You might even hear screams, Hair pulling, a lover’s affair, Shoes flying, such a disgrace, beware! You see the sewage water going down the drain, You see brown earth, roads nowhere in sight. You see the cows mooing with anorexic bodies, You see the baby wiggling its nose to escape the flies, You see the boys laughing in their four-inch paradise, You see the rest dying, day and night. You see ...

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Budget 2017-2018: Is Pakistan really on the upward trajectory?

With much fanfare and hoopla, Ishaq Dar and company announced the annual budget for the nation this past Friday. It was budget as usual, delivered with haughty claims of turnarounds and opportunities within reach. Even before the budget had been announced, the Ministry of Finance had been subliminally pushing figures into the media to soften any surprises. While Pakistan missed its growth target of 5.7% from last year, it still achieved a growth of around 5.3%. This puts the country in the company of companies that are over $300 billion dollars in size.  The year over year (YoY) growth, while lower than the target, is still the ...

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Dear Bilawal (Zardari), please read a newspaper so you know what Sindh is going through

Dear Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, It has been reported that you are behind the move to remove some ministers in the Sindh cabinet and appoint new ones. Of course, this is nothing new, all over the world ministers are sacked and replaced if they do not perform satisfactorily. Usually what happens is that new and competent people are chosen to run the government. With all due respect, I, for one, feel that nothing will change by sacking some ministers and replacing them with others. The people of Sindh will continue to suffer due to the absolute lack of governance in the ...

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India’s unhealthy obsession with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

A mammoth $46 billion project, stretching over 3000 kilometres from Gwadar to Xinjiang, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has the potential to make Pakistan’s economy grow by leaps and bounds. The project that consists of construction and up gradation of roads, oil and gas pipelines, railway tracks and an international airport in Gwadar, promises to make Pakistan an economic power in the world, and Gwadar a trade and economic hub of the region. But the CPEC does not promise wonders for just Pakistan; China stands to gain just as much, if not more, from this initiative. China will gain easier ...

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Pakistani drivers: A nation or a mob?

It is said that the way people drive in a country tells a lot about how disciplined and orderly its citizens are. Well, I realised this on two occasions; first, when I came back to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates and second, when I returned from Sri Lanka. On both occasions, the contrast in driving patterns was painfully evident. The impatience and desperation of Pakistani drivers and their low maturity level made me feel worried about the future of this nation. I saw people taking the wrong side of the road just to save around Rs10 worth of petrol ...

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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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Get out of the way, you pedestrians!

Although driving anywhere in the world is an amalgamation of knowledge and respect of traffic rules and a good command over ones reflexes. In Pakistan it is a different ball game altogether. Not only do you have to possess nerves of steel but also reflexes that can be pushed beyond normal human abilities.  Since there is complete disregard for traffic regulations as well as no sanctity for human life and property. Our attitude on the roads, and almost everywhere else, is utterly deplorable. Every time I get behind the wheel I face 4×4’s with tinted glasses, guards sporting handlebar moustaches and toting guns (with muzzles pointing at ...

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Meera ji, take a chill pill, please

The list of things wrong with Pakistan, today: corruption, terrorism, a crumbling state structure, the energy crisis, sectarian violence, poverty, lack of infrastructural development, brain drain, increasing foreign debt, illiteracy, unemployment, mehngai (inflation), paani ki qami (water scarcity), roads pe traffic aur Meera ji ki English (traffic on the roads and Meera ji’s English)…Wait, what?! In her own words, Meera began her career in the entertainment industry in 1995. In just 18 years, she has somehow managed to become an integral part of the Pakistani entertainment industry. Every other person on the street will know who she is. Hers’ is the kind of fame ...

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When will Pakistan say ‘Yes, it is my fault’?

I remember during high-school when my friends and I got bad grades, we blamed the school administration. When the roads in Islamabad were polluted with squashed ‘Frost’ juice boxes, we blamed the government. When I was late for classes and meetings, I would blame my driver for driving slowly or my maid for not waking me up on time or the rain for making the roads slippery – you get the picture? After we graduated from high-school and my friends received bad grades, they blamed the Cambridge administration for a biased system. In my 18 years in Pakistan, I have NEVER ...

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Protocol phobia in Punjab

During present week the Punjab government remains occupied to provide red carpet reception and protocol to visiting Turkish guests and Lahorites had to face unprecedented traffic congestion, lack of civic facilities and travel hindrance. Although Istanbul Mayor Dr. Kadir Topbas was a distinguished guest in the city, the inconvenience faced by city folks because of the elaborate protocol accorded to him was above tolerance level. Topbas was offered a VVIP protocol with signal-free movement, high security apparatus and lavish banquets. The protocol was against the stipulation of the blue book, a document which decides the level of protocol to be ...

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