Stories about rural Pakistan

Destroy what destroys you: While blood feuds flourish, justice takes a back seat in Pakistan

Suffering in a living hell due to the state’s failure to deliver justice, widows, orphans, bereft parents, brothers and sisters are the living victims of Pakistan’s blood feuds. Regrettably, blood that is shed to fulfil a primeval need for justice when it is late or denied does not inspire organised outrage. It is lethal vigilantism dressed in chivalric semantics that would leave the ghost in Hamlet decrying “murder most foul”. The unending bloodshed is perceived as murder rather than a murder condoning cultural practice worth challenging. Tragedies languish in solitude in the absence of a dedicated social movement. Prisons are filled with self-righteous murderers upholding ...

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And they will say, ‘Remember what happened to Naila’

She hailed from Qambar Shahdadkot, where the literacy rate is 44%, according to a report published in 2012. She came from an area where only 33% of the female population has completed higher education. Against all odds, she left her hometown and enrolled herself in the Sindhi Department at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, to continue her studies. Currently in her final year, Naila Rind was not just an average student; she was an award winning student in her Masters class. Naila had returned early from her hometown during her winter vacations in order to work on her final year thesis, which was due on ...

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To the teen moms of rural Punjab

 A teenager’s angst at not being able to conceive is not something many of us are familiar with. “Why should it surprise me, though?” I thought to myself, as I overheard the conversation between my mother and this teenager. We were in our village home where she had come to pay my mother a visit. Her pale skin, devoid of any youthful glow, was sticking tightly to her small bone structure, making her look malnourished. She must be around 16 or 17-years-old, but she’s been married for a couple of years. “I have been to the gynaecologist, and I’m not sure what kind of problem ...

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I wasn’t dumb or slow, I was dyslexic

I gave my first speech in front of more than 500 people when I was just nine-years-old. When I was 15-years-old, I represented Pakistan in Regional UNESCO Youth forum for scouts of Asia Pacific Region. In the same year, I was awarded President’s Gold Medal award by the President of Pakistan. However, I was never the best student academically, neither was I the worst. Teachers and fellow students considered me one of top 10 students in my class due to my active participation, but my result never reflected it. As a child, I had a lot of trouble with spellings and numbers. Some people around me thought I was too lazy to ...

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When will the suffering of the sugarcane farmers in Sindh end?

Pakistan is still primarily considered an agrarian economy. The on-going sugarcane pricing row between sugar mill owners and sugarcane growers in Sindh will only have damaging, if not destructive, consequences towards the rural economic backbone of Pakistan; especially in Sindh, in terms of agriculture. Personally, as an agriculturist and as a sugarcane crop grower, it is becoming increasingly exasperating and vexing to exhibit restrain when one has to deal with the indifferent and apathetic attitude of the Sindh government and the cartel of the sugar mill owners. To understand where it all began, one has to comprehend the political dynamics of Sindh, where a ...

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An entrepreneurial Pakistan is not a dream: Thatta Khedona shows you how it’s done

Imagine a village in Pakistan that has garnered international acclaim but still remains unknown to 99.9% of the Pakistani population. This village is called Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka (TGD), which I am sure many of you have never even heard of.  TGD is located 30 kilometres outside Okara and is situated on the Okara-Faisalabad road. Before 1992, this was like any other poor village in Punjab, lacking resources and infrastructure. However, a couple of events completely changed the fate of this desolate settlement. Amjad Ali, a local resident of TGD, whilst studying in Germany, invited his German teacher Dr Senta Siller to visit the ...

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More than bills and laws

There is still a lot that needs to be done in order to empower women of this country, which goes farther than organising events at five-star hotels to highlight women-related issues which are known to everyone, or the gushing praise showered on the passage of bills for the protection and empowerment of women’s rights without their enforcement. I am really tired of covering day-long events, arranged at these hotels, in which the representatives of this so-called democratic government and various NGOs share grocery-lists of work they have done to empower the women of this country. But as I step out of ...

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Bye bye Walkman?

Leading British newspapers have announced the death of cultural symbols born of technology, that signal values of an era obsolete as if saying goodbye to dear friends. Nostalgia plays a huge part in this, for both the British and American cultures often find themselves mourning for times bygone. The current obsession with the show Mad Men in every sphere including fashion has, for example, been described in this way. One such an announcement was made on the front pages of almost all the major publications recently, one variation read: “Walkman RIP, farewell to a cultural icon.” Sony, a Japanese company, has made the ...

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Sindh’s elite must change now

It has become clear that the state of Sindh’s health is desperate.  There is an acute shortage of vaccines, trained paramedical staff including lady health workers. Multi-national pharmaceutical companies are almost inconspicuous in their absence on any visible scale. They are not seen offering any organized flood relief effort. The medicines given for charity maybe in the form of small donations in an individual capacity. Due to lack of clean drinking water, the most vulnerable will be children and women. But as someone who has visited the rural areas pf Sindh (Kaccha, Bela and other rural areas) for the past 40 years ...

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Let humanity out of it’s cage

“Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor – all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked – who is good? Not that men are ignorant – what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.” W.E.B.Du Bois, Souls of the Black Folk The idea of ‘know thyself’ as the highest good offered by Socrates and immortalized by its inscription at the Delphic oracle has always been an easier said than done axiom of human existence. How do we know ourselves? How do we know others? ...

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