Monthly Archives: September 2005

Sensitizing big business

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

LAST week it appeared that the focus in Pakistan was on the population issue. First, the prime minister inaugurated the “population summit” in Islamabad where he highlighted the link between the demographic growth rate and the economy.

Two days later came the “corporate summit” in Karachi organized by the Human Resource Development Network (HRDN), a non-profit organization that, to use its own words, brings together key stakeholders in the development process for forging partnerships. The Karachi moot was designed to draw in the corporate sector into the population welfare net.

The idea is appealing, considering the fact that in the capitalist world of today which glorifies the market, the private sector is seen to be the dominant engine of growth, as once pointed out by the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan. Corporations control the national resources and it is time big business assumed its social responsibility as well.
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Crime with social implications

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

ON SEPT 5, a six-year old girl in Badin was abducted as she was walking down to a neighbourhood store, raped, tortured and murdered. Her grieving father, Abdul Haq, came down to Karachi when he learnt that a demonstration was being held outside the Press Club last Friday.

More than grief was the acute sense of injustice that had weighed him down since his daughter’s brutal murder. The rapist had been caught but was bringing pressure on the police to release him in lieu of some monetary compensation. The aggrieved family was demanding justice. There the matter stands.
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A world of haves and have-nots

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

ON THE eve of the millennium summit in New York, the UNDP released its annual Human Development Report 2005 which should help governments determine their progress or lack of it towards the eight development goals they had committed themselves in 2000 to achieve by 2015.

The UNDP’s own assessment is that the projections based on present trends carry a clear warning: “The gap between trend projections and MDG targets represents a huge loss of human life and human potential.”
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Why spiralling oil prices?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

LAST week the international oil price, which has been rising for some years now, touched a high of $70 a barrel. Seven years ago it was $10. What it will be next week one cannot say for Hurricane Katrina has forced the closure of five big refineries and halted nearly a quarter of the United States’ oil production located in the Gulf of Mexico region.

With oil experts saying that the price will rise further, the prophets of doom are now active predicting an “economic shock” that is a global recession as has happened before when oil prices shot up. In Pakistan, the petrol price was pushed up to an unprecedented Rs52.61 per litre and one wonders how this will affect the economy and the future projections of economic growth made by the policymakers.

Two key questions to be asked are: what is the cause of this oil price rise? And how has the world economy continued to grow in spite of this spiralling rise in oil price? The obvious answer to the first question lies in the economic law of supply and demand. With China and India enjoying an economic boom, their demand for oil has been growing — China’s oil consumption in 2004 increased by 15 per cent. America, which is the world’s biggest oil consumer — 20 million barrels a day today with the projection for 2015 being 25 million barrels — has also fuelled this demand in a big way.
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When silence is immoral

By Zubaida Mustafa Have you heard of Cindy Sheehan? She is an American woman whose son Casey was killed in the war in Iraq in April 2004. You may well ask what is so extraordinary about Sheehan when more than … Continue reading

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