Monthly Archives: December 2005

Balochistan in turmoil again

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE war in Balochistan is once again making headlines. 2005 was a troubled year for the province with the insurgency simmering throughout the year interspersed with military action by the Frontier Constabulary from time to time. It is a pity that as the year draws to a close the army has stepped up its operations and there are reports of casualties that include women and children.

This time the provocation has ostensibly been a rocket attack on the president while he was visiting Kohlu on December 14. It was described as an assassination attempt, and thereafter, the government launched an operation in the Kohlu district. Officially it is said that the army is trying to root out the ‘miscreants’ and ‘saboteurs’ who are accused of creating trouble in different regions of Balochistan. These are the terms we are quite familiar with in Pakistan. It was bandied about a lot in 1970 during the civil strife in East Pakistan and the province was the target of army action. Again in 1974, when Balochistan was under attack, the rulers dug out these labels from their vocabulary. They are again doing the rounds.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Balochistan |

Islands of excellence

By Zubeida Mustafa In this age of cutthroat competition in the marketplace when excellence — at a price — appears to have become the exclusive preserve of the private sector, the impression has been created that everything in the public … Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Economy, Social Issues |

The death of science

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

IT IS a pity that science which is the antidote to irrational thinking and obscurantist behaviour is being slowly strangled to death in Pakistan, that is if we presume that it had a modestly glorious existence in the past in this country.

One cannot brush aside the giants this country has produced in the years bygone — the names of Nobel laureate Prof Abdus Salam and our genius of chemistry Prof Salimuzzaman Siddiqui come to mind immediately. As the grip of religion tightens on society, science is receding further and further in the backwaters.
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1 Comment | Posted in Education |

Scourge of bonded labour

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

MOST of us erroneously believe that slavery has never existed in Pakistan and bonded labour ended 13 years ago when the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1992 was adopted by the National Assembly. But the fact is that this law abolished bonded labour only on paper, and not in reality.

Had it been so, you would not have been reading in the press today about cases such as Munno Bheel’s, who was released from bonded labour by the HRCP in 1996 to have eight of his family members allegedly kidnapped two years later by the powerful landlord in Mirpurkhas in whose service Mr Bheel had been bonded before his release.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Labour |

Pakistan’s Changing Images of India: A Personal View

By Zubeida Mustafa

I was six years old when Pakistan was so turbulently born. Six obviously is a difficult age to try to comprehend major national and international events even when they create extreme upheavals in a child’s life. Still, I could sense the rising tensions around me. We already had just moved to Delhi when it was decided in June 1947 that India was to be partitioned. Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Foreign Policy of Pakistan, Social Issues |

Is it really health for all?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE Alma Ata message of ‘health for all’ has at long last reached the policy planners in Islamabad. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the government’s health strategy was focused on the prevention and control of diseases, provision of maternal and child health care and ensuring nationwide outreach of public health facilities. These are indeed laudable goals and have been demanded by health professionals for decades now.

At a time when there has been a palpable shift in the government’s policy from the public to the private sectors in the areas of health and education, social justice demands that the basic health and education needs of the people should be met because that is the fundamental human right of all.

In the health sector, this should pose less of a challenge if the government undertakes its responsibilities conscientiously and with integrity. But regrettably, this has not been done — the prime minister’s statement notwithstanding — and the failure to follow a vigorous preventive approach while withdrawing support to the curative side of medicine has inflicted enormous suffering on the people.
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REVIEWS: Circle of life

Reviewed by Zubeida Mustafa Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, Prof Abdus Salam, would always lament that this country does not have a science culture. Not many would dispute that. By its very nature science teaches people to reason logically and understand … Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Book Reviews, Health |

Circle of life

Reviewed By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, Prof Abdus Salam, would always lament that this country does not have a science culture. Not many would dispute that. By its very nature science teaches people to reason logically and understand various phenomena by thinking and questioning. Regrettably this is what we are not taught in our society and even some of the supposedly highly educated people at times are quite irrational.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Book Reviews |