Stories about Shahbaz Sharif

‘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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Delhi Colony blast: The true face of Pakistani media

I heard the bomb blast that was reported more than 30 minutes ago. I live close to Delhi Colony. I’m not sure how many innocent citizens have lost their lives or how many are injured. They say four people are dead. We still don’t know if there will be others. There are people from my apartments who are still missing. My neighbor has gone looking for her mother. My driver just stepped out of Delhi Colony and was grinning like a fool because he caught a lucky break, another five minutes, he’d be on these very news channels. This blog, however, ...

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Karachi is blasphemous, Lahore is not

If blasphemy is defined as ‘irreverent behaviour towards anything sacred’, Karachi is blasphemous; a city where something as sacred as human life is irreverently and disdainfully extinguished. As January limped to a close, three health workers administering anti-polio drops to children were shot dead. Bullet-ridden bodies of three young men were discovered and a police officer was gunned down in a suspected targeted attack. And yet, it is in Karachi, much more so than in Lahore, that a bastion of sharafat (respectability) is present; it is here that strangers smile at you, people say thank you for services rendered or stand aside and allow you to pass. In this ...

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Metro bus service in Rawalpindi and Islamabad: A blessing or a curse?

The Punjab cabinet approved the extension of the metro bus service to the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad in its recent meeting. When the PML-N won the elections back in May 2013, I had hoped that this was one election promise that they wouldn’t fulfil since the intended goal can be achieved via several alternative solutions. However, I guess since they couldn’t deliver on their electoral promise of ending power outages in six months, he has decided to give the twin cities a metro bus service. Politics aside, it makes little sense to have a mega project like the metro bus in Rawalpindi-Islamabad. According to ...

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Pervez Musharraf: Defending a patriot from cowards and liars

Many people like to ask me questions about why I support former president Pervez Musharraf. As part of the questions, they like to pepper in the misinformation that the Pakistani media has presented to the public for consumption. During one such discussion on Facebook, I was asked the following: The question cum comment “According to you, Khalid Muhammad, what were the positives and negatives of Musharraf’s tenure? People consider him to be the reason for drones, missing people (Aafia Siddiqui), Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid, all that happened to Pakistan after 9/11 (and) the current shortfall of electricity and gas. Suicide bombing took ...

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In Lahore: Does child labour and torture go hand in hand?

Iram’s cruel torture and consequent death is not the first case of a child domestic worker being tormented in Pakistan. Approximately, 45 cases of violence against child domestic workers were reported by the media since Shazia Masih’s tragic and cruel murder in January 2010 in Lahore. Iram is the 22nd child domestic worker tortured to death and majority of these cases have been reported in Punjab — and keep in mind, these are only the reported cases.  If anyone has any doubts, please search for Shazia Masih (Lahore), Jameel (Multan), Yasmin (Okara), Shehzad (Gujranwala), Zafar (Karachi) and Tehmina (Islamabad) to name a few. All of these cases show that ...

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Dear leaders, if you can’t protect drone victims, let the K-P government do it

Dear Mr Rana Sanaullah, Shahbaz Sharif and Pervez Rasheed,  I write this piece in response to your criticism over the NATO supply blockade by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government. Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members would give complicated arguments regarding dignity, terrorism and radicalisation against your views, my focus is relatively simple. Just take a look at the picture of Nabila Rehman showing a drawing she crafted over fear of drone strikes. Nine-year-old Nabila Rehman shows her drawing on drone strikes at the start of a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters Gentlemen, I do not know if drones kill terrorists. I ...

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When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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Pakistan: Where Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a hero and Malala, a villain

He bravely stood up against a confusing blasphemy law that was often misused to target minorities, yet after his assassination, we indulged in the irrelevant details of Salmaan Taseer’s private life, while showering his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, with rose petals. Perhaps learning of Salmaan Taseer’s ‘westernised’ lifestyle helped us vilify him as a puppet of the west, and relieved us of any guilt. Yes, we are Pakistan – a nation with confused priorities. We are a nation where Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is hailed as a hero who singlehandedly brought nuclear capability to the country, yet we barely acknowledge the murky details of ...

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Metro Bus Service: A loud, proud day for Lahore?

Every day for four weeks, I have slept to the sound of traffic in Lahore. And I wake up to it, every single day. The blaring of horns of which there are variations you could possibly never imagine or encounter, emanating from vehicles, motorbikes, rickshaws and modes of transportation unimaginable too, form a stream of noises which become firmly rooted in your subconscious, many say.  So far, not for me.  I wince, sometimes even curse when I am alone and long for these weeks to be over so I can wake up in my serene neighbourhood, back in Chicago. And for ...

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