Stories about UN

Sustainable development goals have to take centre stage for Pakistan at Davos

As world leaders prepare to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, it seems that the issue of building a sustainable future will take centre stage at the summit. This year’s theme for the WEF is “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world”, hence emphasising the urgency with which leaders across the globe need to address one of the most pressing issues the planet is currently facing. After the bush fires in Australia, volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, floods in Jakarta, mass burning of the Amazon rain-forest, famine in Zambia, water scarcity in Mexico and dangerous weather patterns in North America; leaders ...

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How effectively is Pakistan tackling the climate crisis?  

As Pakistan continues to grapple with the climate crisis, it is increasingly important that we as a nation turn our sights towards the future. As environmental lawyer Sara Hayat informed me, “Planting trees has huge benefits for the soil, air pollution, livelihoods of people. However, the tree tsunami must be supplemented by policy measures that curb global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the source. Carbon sinks are useless if no mitigation measures are being prioritised. Furthermore, Pakistan has the highest deforestation rate in the world per a Lahore High Court judgment. Don’t plant trees if you’re going to keep cutting them ...

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Capital punishment and the cracks in Pakistan’s judicial system

Up until very recently, Pakistan had the world’s largest population on death row. China has since taken over this dubious honour, but Pakistan remains second in line with the United States trailing closely behind. Right now, in Pakistan, a whopping 6000 people are awaiting execution. The question then becomes: Who are we hanging? And why? If a recent article in The Economist is anything to go by, the answer is that Pakistan is hanging far too many innocent people. Of course, this injustice and incompetence are not exclusive to our country. For example, in the United States, where I currently live, the ...

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How effective is PTI’s climate change policy?

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan began his historic speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week with climate change, calling it one of the “most urgent problems the world must address”. Climate change was of course on the agenda of this year’s global leaders gathering in New York. But to be fair Khan has noted the importance of climate change in several of his earlier speeches to the nation as well. 1st let me talk about climate change; I have seen a lot of leaders talk about this. But I don’t see world leaders really realizing the urgency ...

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New York 2019: A watershed in Pakistan’s diplomatic history

On January 14, 1977, the Pakistan team entered the Sydney cricket ground as underdogs. Before the start of the series’ most pundits had expected Australia to steamroll the Pakistanis. After a face-saving draw in the first test and a shattering defeat in the second, Pakistan hoped to draw the series level in Sydney. Before that fateful game Imran Khan had toiled for years, even remodeled his bowling action, but that moment of glory had evaded him. At Sydney however, as the entire nation sat glued to their TV and radio sets, Khan bowled marathon spells of scintillating fast bowling. Spells ...

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Will you march for climate change?

I first met Greta Thurnberg, the 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is now inspiring young people all over the world to protest against the climate crisis, back in December 2018 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. Hair tied in two pigtails, she looked much younger than her age, was extremely shy and spoke haltingly in English on several forums at the conference held in Poland. Thurnberg speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Poland Sure, the media was following her around even then, but no one imagined she would become such a huge ...

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Maleeha Lodhi: Spilling tea with the architect of Pakistan’s diplomatic coup at the UN

On a bright Sunday morning, right after Pakistan managed to raise the Kashmir issue at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting – despite India throwing everything and the kitchen sink to stop it – we sat down for a conversation with UN Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi at her official residence on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. We unpacked how Pakistan managed to orchestrate the UNSC meeting after five decades, what’s next for Pakistan at the UN, and what a typical day in her life looks like during these extraordinary times. “The fact that the UNSC meeting took place showed that ...

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Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: A father’s lament of the barbarity we call human beings

“My dear Marwan, I look at your profile, In the glow of this three-quarter moon, my boy, Your eyelashes like calligraphy, Closed in guileless sleep. I said to you, ‘Hold my hand. Nothing bad will happen’.” These are a few verses from the context of Sea Prayer, the fourth book by Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini is a well-known author of three books, including the international bestseller The Kite Runner, and is the Goodwill Ambassador to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Sea Prayer is a 40-page book, or rather, a free verse poem beautifully complemented by Dan Williams’ illustrations. It can best be described as a ...

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Priyanka Chopra literally had one job to do – promote peace – and she failed

Bollywood celebrities are loved by Pakistanis and treated as their own, which is why it was particularly disheartening to see many of them quickly join the nationalist bandwagon in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and encourage military attacks against Pakistan. In no way was this more disappointing than it was in the case of Priyanka Chopra. Chopra is now a global celebrity, having won the Miss World competition, worked as a Bollywood and Hollywood actress as well as her brief stint as a musician. Being an international celebrity gives one the power to influence and inspire people all across the ...

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Why must Pakistan wait for international pressure to mount to tackle extremism?

The state has finally come out of a long slumber and has launched an operation to eliminate the religious extremist groups who are allegedly using Pakistan’s soil to create disturbances in India, Iran and Afghanistan. In the wake of the rift between Pakistan and India, this can be termed as a positive development since Pakistan is now keeping its word and investigating these non-state actors. According to Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, 44 people affiliated with extremist organisations, including Masood Azhar’s son and close relatives, have been arrested. The matter is under investigation and further action will be ...

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