Stories about transport

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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Tête-a-tête with Beenish Afreen: A rebel reclaiming her public space, one bike at a time

In this technology-saturated modern biosphere, women motorcycling are still not a welcome sight. In a conservative society like Pakistan, it is unfortunate that people are more vocal and contemptuous about women riding bikes than they are about the harassment they face in their commutes generally. In a traditionalist patriarchal society where domination is believed to be a masculine realm, the general perception still is that women riding bikes and claiming public spaces or independence are against the orthodox status quo. The ill-norms, taboos and misogynistic expectations ballooned in society are holding women back from empowering themselves. Not many women dare to ...

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Will Careem and Uber be able to survive in Pakistan?

The government of Pakistan, both federal and provincial, remains in a deep slumber. It does not counter any illegal business activity but only takes action when the project strengthens its roots in society and provides an alternative to public woes in a certain segment.  It is the government’s responsibility to provide adequate, reliable and secure modes of transport to the public to commute from one place to another. Unfortunately, the government has completely failed to do any such thing and hence, most of the country’s transport is in total control of the private sector. The tram service, which was operating in ...

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Some wounds only death can heal

I remember it very vividly; I had driven down in my 99 Honda Civic which was a hand-me-down from my dad. The weather was surprisingly brisk considering fall had shot shades of winter in its early days. I walked up to my uncle’s door and found it unlocked, as always, and announced my entrance to the house. Silence was scattered around the house. All I could hear was the dishwasher running in the kitchen. I followed my usual trail up to the top level and towards my grandfather’s room. After three knocks and a slight nudge at the door, I ...

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Is Uber in Pakistan risky or convenient?

Usually, rickshaws, as well as the older black and yellow taxis are available at every other street corner in Pakistan, and are effective in getting consumers from point A to point B, though the quality of service is far from ideal. The challenge in riding a rickshaw, especially for taller individuals, is reaching the destination with as few bruises and head injuries as possible, considering how adventurously the drivers of these open vehicles drive. Taxis, on the other hand, are a test for anyone with a fondness for personal hygiene. Sometimes the seats of these vehicles, which lack in air-conditioning, carry ...

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Today, I make peace with the media

I wrote a blog for this section a few weeks ago, in which I called the independent media, “Inane, unethical, disgusting and disastrous” It was, and still is, a terrible oversight on my part, an unkind act if you will. I do apologise. I was being a schmuck and it took me a while to decide if I should clear the air. I am acerbic and I can be thoughtless and cruel at times. Even though this description – disgusting and so on – holds true in some cases, it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. Media in Pakistan is under attack from all sides. ...

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Pakistan just doesn’t feel like home

“I have and always will live in Canada.” Well, that was the plan until two years ago when all my plans, my vision for life – everything changed suddenly and rapidly. Quite unexpectedly, I had to make new plans, which included living in Pakistan. My eyes still closed I enjoyed the crisp, cool weather and tried to decipher whether the heating was on or not. As I pulled the pillow over my face to block the sunlight, I decided that the heating had to be on. After all, November in Toronto was never cool; it was freezing. This thought led me to the far less ...

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Stop complaining ladies, men get harassed on buses too!

‘Mardon ko toh koi tameez hi nahi hoti ke bus mien kis tarah safar karna hai!’  (Men have no manners at all regarding how to travel on a public bus) This was a phrase that I came across last week when I was waiting at a bus stop. The words came from a middle aged woman, standing a few feet away from me, conversing with her colleague. On hearing this, a rush of anger took over me, but before I could say anything to her, my bus arrived and I had to board. Dear women, I understand that you get treated badly in our ...

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Meet the families of the kids who died in the Gujrat van tragedy

“Olaad ka ghum bardaasht nae hota” (It is impossible to bear the pain of losing your children) I have heard my father say this quite often. However, since I don’t have any children of my own, I never understood the intensity of emotions behind this statement until I visited the families of the children who lost their lives in the Gujrat tragedy. A fire that broke out in a private school van took the lives of at least 14 innocent children and a teacher. My class had been instructed to visit these families by the director of our institute. On our way ...

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The Gujrat bus tragedy: Who is responsible?

Every second day, we hear of gas cylinder explosions in buses, wagons and rickshaws, causing injuries to their passengers. In more severe cases, innocent victims are sometimes burnt to death. As a reactionary measure, the electronic media gives it running coverage throughout the day. The government, after announcing compensation for the victims’ families, takes a back seat and considers its job done. Deliberations are made for a few days on potential solutions and then, just as soon forgotten, till the next tragedy occurs. In today’s world, it is difficult to imagine any other country except ours, where this mishap takes ...

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