Stories about technology

How reliable are the mental health clinics in Pakistan?

It was half a decade ago when I started my own mental health consultancy that offered courses and other educational services related to my field. At that time, opening a psychotherapy or mental health clinic in Pakistan was not particularly common. Offering psychotherapy was not lucrative enough for beginner level professionals and only benefitted those at a senior level. Fast forward five years, and I see a significant increase in mental health services, and many of these services are also being offered over the internet in the form of Skype consultations, chats and emails. There are a variety of mental health clinics, ...

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For creative spirits like Fayaz, Pakistan is where innovation crashes before it takes off

“Has it ever been done before?” “What do you think of yourself? Some genius that planet Earth has never seen? You’re too self-obsessed, dude!” “Had it been so simple, somebody would have done it already!” If you list the most destructive lines to kill innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, I am quite confident the aforementioned sentences would make it to the top 10. Regardless of time and place, people who come up with ideas that challenge the status quo in any field are initially ridiculed, and then face collective disapproval and extreme discouragement. It boils down to the stage when the one who ...

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What does your cell phone cover say about you?

Back when cell phones were not ‘smart’, they actually had bodies, personalities and opinions. Similar to how Instagram now perpetuates the notion that the ideal human body must be perfect – slim and smart – phones too seem to have embodied these ideologies. For humans, looking their best is nowadays far more important than how they think, act or what they accomplish. Similarly for phones, all that matters is whether they are smart and good-looking. Consequently, most phones nowadays are smart and they all look the same, like models on a Paris runway. That being said, I’m not here to body ...

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive illusion of free will

Charlie Brooker’s anthology series, Black Mirror is known for exploring the dark side of technology with an appetite for the bleak and satirical. Each episode serves as a cautionary tale on how technology of today could be the end of us tomorrow, but what makes the show so intriguing are the increasingly creative and compelling stories that each episode is crafted upon. This time around, instead of a new season – which usually releases towards the end of the year – Netflix has released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. This is an interactive movie that staying true to the creative nature of the show allows you, ...

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“Nothing changes here! Pakistan was, is, and will always be the same”

In 2015, I left to pursue my Fulbright scholarship aspiring to conquer the world and change the landscape of research in Pakistan. I have always found the general pessimism that prevails in our country to be severely problematic. For instance, how we as a country lack unity amongst ourselves and can never rise above gender differences, religious discrimination amongst the people and the innate negativity against the government. Two years of Fulbright gave me a whole new perspective on life. I discovered a world where things such as age, race, colour, gender and other such superficial constructs were irrelevant and ...

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Why do we only have one advanced forensic lab in the entire country?

Mudassar Ali, a 21-year-old young man, was caught by the Kasur Police in February 2017 and was subsequently murdered by them in an ‘encounter’, as the police believed he had raped and murdered four-year-old Iman Fatima. In an interesting development, DNA tests conducted a year later on Imran Ali – the man who raped and murdered seven-year-old Zainab – evidenced he not only killed Zainab, but that Iman was also one of the many victims of his brutality.  Sadly, if the Kasur Police had made timely use of forensic science while investigating Iman’s case, not only Mudassar but other victims of ...

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As technology advances, so does healthcare in Pakistan – convenient and free, all in the palm of your hand

What do you do when your toddler slips and hits their head? Or when someone chokes at the dinner table? Or when you have a severe headache?  Even when we hope that we don’t have to deal with such situations, the reality remains they are quite plausible. Hence it’s important to know what to do if such a situation arises. Be it an emergency or a seemingly small health concern, it’s always good to consult a physician. Sadly, consulting a doctor isn’t a simple task in a state like Pakistan. With limited medical resources and the rising cost of healthcare, many ...

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For PM Imran Khan: A guide on how to fix the unfixable

There is a new sense of optimism in Pakistan. Many in the country are looking to the government of Imran Khan to reform the way the country works and put it back on the track of development and prosperity. The new government has signalled a willingness to think outside the box. This means trying to do what has not been done before. It means going against vested interests, the ‘rent seekers’ who have used their influence to accumulate power and enormous wealth. And finally, it also means going against established international ‘norms’ of behaviour as defined by the ‘Washington Consensus’. First ...

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Political parties are promising jobs in their manifestos but snub education – how does that work?

Pakistan has one of the largest youth population in the world. Forty-six million of these will be voting for the first time in about two weeks; a number that is by no means small. To put it into perspective, if these voters were a country, they would be the 30th largest country in the world in terms of population. They will most likely vote for the party that has promised them jobs, and no one can fault that logic because jobs get you money and as we all know, money makes the world go around. But there is a slight ...

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Who can possibly hurt me if I have already conquered the pain by hurting myself?

Droplets of blood appeared on his arm. Trembling, he deepened the cut, elongating it along the markings he had drawn earlier. This time, more blood trickled out. Clamping his teeth firmly around the washcloth, he spread the cut along the length of his bony arm. “How about that now, father? It is blood gushing out, isn’t it? Your weak skinny boy has some blood in him after all!” He mumbled furiously to himself, picturing his father’s bewildered face. He would love to wipe that smug smile off his face. He had conquered the only fear he had, the biggest fear anyone ...

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