Stories about UN

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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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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COP24: Time is running out and this may be our last attempt to save our planet

The UN Climate Change Conference 2018, or COP24 as it widely known, started with a bang and ended with a whimper two weeks later in Katowice, Poland. The bang came at the high level opening ceremony on December 2nd where celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sir David Attenborough warned negotiators that “time is running out” for the world to take action to control global warming. Unfortunately, their warnings were not taken seriously as the Paris Rulebook that was finalised at Katowice on December 15th actually ended up watering down the Paris Agreement, especially in terms of finance, loss and ...

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