Stories about Tharparkar

Why is Pakistan’s affluent class so ashamed of getting extra food packed at a restaurant?

“You are embarrassing me!” Said the husband, upset over the fact that his wife asked the restaurant staff to pack the left overs which included one kabab, three-fourths of a naan and a bit of chicken karhai. “But it will be wasted,” She smiled and even carried the large mineral water bottle that was almost untouched with resolve. It was a delightful dinner my family and I were invited to and this conversation between our host couple was all too familiar. There is the “what will people think” attitude associated with carrying home leftovers and in doing so we forget that edible, clean ...

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Drought or not, children are dying in Tharparkar, Qaim Ali Shah

Death is a regular visitor at the doors of Tharparkar’s mothers. Within the first 10 days of 2016, 17 children died in just the Mithi area of district Tharparkar in Sindh. Nothing new. Between December 2013 and early March 2014, at least 124 lives were lost in Tharparkar, 67 of them at the Civil Hospital Mithi alone. These are just some registered deaths in the most (relatively) developed area of the 20,000 sq km desert comprising the district. And once again, Sindh’s Chief Minister (CM) says these deaths are being exaggerated. This feels like Déjà vu. Part of the statement of ...

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Is a discussion on climate change even relevant to a third world country like Pakistan?

Over the last century, the average temperature of the earth increased by 0.6 degrees and experts estimated that it will increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees centigrade by the end of the current century. What does it mean? How does that have any effect on a person’s daily life? For a third world country that is struggling with power outages and recurring political crises, is this even a relevant discussion? The answer is yes. It is relevant. It is important. And it impacts all of us. The geographical location of Pakistan places it in a heat surplus zone, which makes it extremely susceptible to the impact of climate change. The occurrence of ...

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Why sacrificing animals on Eidul Azha is a good ritual

Is everyone noticing the drastic reduction in the number of houses from which the familiar bleating sounds of goats and the authoritarian moo of cows can be heard this year? If television reports are to be believed, there are more animals available in the market for sacrifice than there are buyers. The reasons are many, and some of them are valid. Exorbitant asking prices of sellers are one. The portion you get in a cow is as expensive now as a goat used to be. Not every region of Pakistan is culturally attuned to beef, which remains the more economical ...

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What if Bilawal Bhutto actually joins PML-N?

The reports of Mark Twain’s death were greatly exaggerated. So were the reports of Imran Khan’s marriage. But as they say, there’s no smoke without at least some fire. Are the reports of the prodigal Bhutto son – yet to return fully – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari joining PML-N true? PML-F would be outrageous enough. But PML-N would be even more outrageous. Or would it? Not really. Reality remains that the present day PPP and PML-N may be different in terms of inherent ideology, but what they do to Pakistan remains essentially the same. One may be on the right and the other on the left, but ...

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When one starts questioning the rituals of Eidul Azha

Eidul Azha in a rural set-up has jarring differences when compared to how we celebrate this Eid in cities. I live and celebrate my Eid in Karachi, but if I celebrate it in my ancestral village in Khairpur, Sindh, this is what would be different. The animals would be much less expensive, much more readily available, and the sense of community in sharing the meat would be the focus. Less affluent neighbours and relatives will casually come to the house where an animal is sacrificed and ask candidly for a share of the meat. The ones giving it out will not look ...

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An open letter to murderers of minorities

Dear ruthless, relentless and barbaric attackers of the minorities in my country, I‘d like to start by asking you about what happened day before yesterday? With what conscience did you think that it was acceptable to brutally gun down a Sikh teenager and open fire at two other Sikh businessmen in Peshawar? Were you just having a bad day at the Hashtnagri Bazaar, as sources confirm that there was no enmity between them and you? Was the heat too much to bear that Jagmohan Singh, the teenager you shot, had to take the brunt of your barbarism? You critically injured Parimjit and Manmit Singh ...

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What makes Pakistan a great country

Flip through our TV channels, skim through our newspapers and scan through a dozen latest international reports on indicators of some sort and they will all give you only a few reasons to be happy about our country. In fact, if you do this long enough, you’ll probably start noticing initial symptoms of prolonged depression. Are there any problems of the world that this nation has been spared off? Floods, drought, earthquakes, terrorism, corruption, infant mortality, diseases, illiteracy, sectarian conflicts, ethnic disputes, border disputes, domestic violence, water scarcity, electricity shortages, gang wars and what not. It’s tragic and scary. But there is a flip ...

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Saying “Children die every year in Thar” doesn’t make it acceptable, Sharjeel Memon!

The Information Minister of Sindh, Sharjeel Inam Memon, has been advocating a conspiracy of false hype regarding the Tharparkar draught and claiming that the media is wrong. He even expressed his views on Waseem Badami’s show 11th Hour on ARY News: This is a classic case of the ‘feudal mindset’ – how dare the voice of the poor reach the media? A feudal never likes that. This negligence is not really an inefficiency to perform; rather it’s a policy. A feudal likes it when people come to him with issues and if all their problems were resolved, how would he make them feel indebted ...

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An open letter to the Sindh Chief Minister: Tharparkar needs you, Sir

Dear Sir, I wonder how you sleep at night, because I am, honestly, having a tough time sleeping peacefully these days. I have visited Tharparkar a few times. And every time I came back, it took me a long time to get the images of Tharparkar out of my system. You and your government, Sir, have visited one too many times. These people have voted for you and trusted you. I wonder how you get those images out of your system. I will not be unfair. So I have to say that visits to interior Sindh have told me enough to say ...

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