Stories about Thar

The health epidemic plaguing Thar

The Tharparkar desert in Sindh boasts an area of 22,000 square kilometres and is host to a population of over 1.6 million inhabitants, most of which reside in 2,880 villages which fall under seven talukas or tehsils, namely Mithi, Diplo, Chachro, Islamkot, Nangarparkar, Dahli and Kaloi.  The expanse is divided into 64 union councils. District Tharparkar was separated from district Mirpurkhas in the year 1990 and Mithi was designated as the region’s headquarters. Despite the demarcation, the infrastructure in Thar remains abysmal. Not only does Thar battle yearly droughts and famine, it also struggles with a high infant morality rate, with over 700 ...

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A searing jeremiad from Zehra Nigah to mark the Global Climate Strike

The Global Climate Strike from September 20 to 27 led to massive marches for climate justice around the world last Friday, including one in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the fiery and moving address of the 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York earlier this week took the global elite by storm. Yet, in countries like Pakistan, which could face massive droughts by 2025, possibly leading to water scarcity and water wars with our neighbour India, climate change is rarely seen as a pressing matter. It is worrying that in a country like Pakistan, which is massively dependent ...

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Young and wise: When Bilawal Bhutto Zardari outshined Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif

The long-awaited wish of Imran Khan to become the prime minister of Pakistan has finally come true, and I pray that he delivers what he has promised. Change is indeed needed and perhaps at a much faster rate than the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) anticipates. Given the state of Pakistan’s crippling economy, the new government may not even have time to enjoy the “honeymoon period” and would have to start their work from the very first day. All of us know that Imran has many problems which he will have to sort out in his own time, however in my opinion, ...

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PML-N’s new manifesto has more hits than misses, giving it an edge over PPP and PTI

It is the month of the General Elections, and all parties are busy in attempts to attract voters before the big day. Something that plays a major factor in whether voters are attracted to a political party or not is the election manifesto, as it gives the people an opportunity to become familiar with the vision and aims of political parties before they decide their vote. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has also unveiled its manifesto, and it seems quite a decent one, especially compared to the manifestos of the other leading political parties out there. PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif unveils the ...

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The women of Kohistan suffer in silence as they search for water that doesn’t exist

Hazoora, a 24-year-old native of Kohistan (an arid piece of land located near Thatta), complains that her hair is falling due to transporting heavy cans of water on her head since she was eight-years-old. She travels approximately one to eight kilometres every day to fetch her share of water, and her body aches from carrying six to seven buckets of water daily for domestic needs. Even her pregnancy did not put an end to her ordeal since water is not a commodity one can live without. This is not just Hazoora’s plight, but the plight of thousands of women living in this ...

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“There will be no Eid here. Eid makes no difference to me”

“Eid makes no difference to me. I only wait for rain.” He answered. Standing under a rare tree shade Ali Murad Sathio waited for his turn to get water from the pump. Yes, it was true. He did not care for Eid – or any event, for that matter. It had been a few years since he stopped caring. Still, whenever someone mentioned Eid, his thoughts travelled back to the fateful Eid days, three-years-ago. His beautiful mother had prepared him for Eid day. She had managed to cook one sweet dish which was as delicious as the nectar of the heavens. Or at least that was how ...

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Has Thar been so grossly neglected only because it is in Sindh and not in Punjab?

The death toll in Thar is escalating by the day and while the Sindh government awaits some form of divine intervention, children in Thar are starving to death. There have been a million editorials and op-eds about how the children of Thar are suffering. Political leaders have addressed this issue, yet the issue prevails. Is this because the people dying are uneducated nomads living in a supposedly unimportant land of a purportedly unimportant province? How do you think the scenario would have played out if Thar was situated in Punjab? Punjab, where the grass is green and people don’t die of thirst or famine. I am sure the ...

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Should #WeDisownSharmeen?

It was yet another proud moment for Pakistan when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy held up her second Oscar for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. To begin with, her being nominated for a second time was good enough, but winning a second Oscar came as a welcome surprise for me. Unfortunately, most people don’t share the same sentiments as I do. Many are celebrating her success, but most are bashing her for portraying Pakistan in a negative light… yet again. But why? Are we enraged over the fact Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy projected the stark reality or are we upset we ...

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Why won’t you let NAB do it’s job, Nawaz Sharif?

Dear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Until recently, you had nothing against NAB investigating and arresting those who did not belong to your party. But recently you lost your cool and came down hard upon this organisation for “harassing government officers” and you said that you would “clip its wings”. Apparently, you did not want any investigation of corruption in projects like the LNG, Metro Bus, Orange Train and LDA City. Why? You may be under the impression that being in government gives you the freedom to do whatever you want and violate all or most of the rules. You seem to believe that ...

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When I met Heeru

While I was standing at the functioning Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant in Mithi after getting a tour of the area, I was struck by the vastness of the Thar landscape. I wanted to get away from all the technical talk about water and go outside to immerse myself in that great expanse. It was a sunny Friday morning. I stepped outside to stretch my legs. The blazing sun was decked high in the azure sky. The dessert land was peppered with dusty green shrubs. I saw a couple of young Thari women, clinging to each other, like a flock of birds. ...

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