Monthly Archives: March 2005

Do consumers have rights in Pakistan?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

The World Consumer Rights’ Day was observed internationally on March 15. As a token observance, the Helpline Trust made a single-handed bid to remind the government and the people of Pakistan about the importance of consumer rights.

The day has been observed the world over since 1983 with the idea of making consumers — which in effect means everyone who buys goods or services — aware of their rights so that they can demand protection for them.
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2 Comments | Posted in Economy, Social Issues |

Importance of protest

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

March 19, was the second anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Although several rallies and demonstrations were held in Europe protesting against the war and calling for the withdrawal of American troops from the war ravaged country, the voices were relatively muted.

In Pakistan it was hardly remembered that it was on this day two year ago when terror rained down on Baghdad. Apart from a handful of demonstrators, who described themselves as the citizens of Pakistan and observed a token show of protest before the Karachi Press Club by holding placards with anti-American slogans inscribed on them, the day went largely unnoticed.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Social Issues |

The flip side of information

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

IT was some time in the early nineties when the high commissioner for New Zealand in Islamabad said, while launching a book his mission had funded, that the coming decade would be the age of information.

Those were days when information technology had barely picked up in this country, cell phones were a rarity and a status symbol of the elite, only the CNN had started its round the clock worldwide channel and not many knew about the wonders of the Internet. But the high commissioner’s words were prophetic.

Today, it takes no time at all for news and information to travel from one end of the globe to the other. E-mails, satellite television, modern phone services equipped with cameras and the worldwide web have made the world a global village. Communication has enabled people to cross boundaries with ease and has broken down cultural and language barriers. This has brought people closer and promoted greater interaction between them than has ever happened before in human history.

Technology has also changed the shape of the media. It is now more interactive. Viewers can ring in to ask questions on talk shows and the Internet allows people to send in their feedback instantaneously, without much of a hassle. Anyone can, making a small payment, set up a website which can be accessed by anyone. These are positive developments because they have stimulated human interest in information.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Information |

Doctors in the dock

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

The woes of the health sector in Pakistan are unending. It is strange that given the large number of people affected by the government’s health policy – the people, the medical practitioners, the pharmaceutical manufacturers, the health institutions, the local bodies, the civic agencies responsible for primary and community health – the various issues of concern which crop up from time to time are not taken seriously.

We are constantly being told that a new national health policy will be announced soon. But, (although Sindh has announced a provincial health policy) that beguiling document does not see the light of day. And the masses continue to suffer.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Health |

And now another one

By Zubeida Mustafa The story doing the rounds these days is a shocking one about a girl and three or four boys, one of them her brother, studying in a school or a college of Karachi. It has kept the … Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Children and Youth, Education, Social Issues |

Women’s struggle makes headway

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

March 8 is international women’s day. Over the years it has acquired a ritualistic symbolism – seminars, rallies, plays and other events to draw public attention to the deplorable status of women in Pakistan.

The cynics believe nothing comes out of all the rumpus that is created. They point to the dismal state of a majority of women in the country and ask, what have all the international women’s day celebrations done to better their lot?
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Leave a comment | Posted in Politics, Women |