Monthly Archives: June 2006

What of education for the poor?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

AT A time when the poverty line and the number of people living below it in Pakistan are being hotly debated, there is another issue that needs to be addressed. That is the opportunity a poor person has to improve his economic and social status. Is it inevitable that a person at the bottom of the heap should be destined to remain there for many generations to come?

Unfortunately, that is how it is in this country, even though theoretically there is nothing to bar a person from striving for self-improvement and make progress. But the fact is that our society is so stratified economically that social and economic mobility is well nigh impossible for a person from the low income group. Even the power structure operates against the poor. In Europe we often hear stories of the sons and daughters of working class parents rising to become prime ministers of their country. Could one ever dream of that here?
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Why make people homeless?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

IT IS ironical that it required a massive show of strength in the form of a large demonstration in Karachi on June 2 to get the city government to stop the demolition of katchi abadis it had been carrying on in a very determined way.

The protest rally organised by the Pakhtoon Action Committee two weeks ago blocked the main arteries of Karachi and caused such a traffic jam that the administration was forced to rethink its policies — at least for the present.
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Story of treachery, betrayals and …

Reviewed By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE Taliban are back in the news. After their rout by the Americans in the wake of 9/11, it was widely believed that they would eventually be totally crushed. But that has not happened, the vehemence of the war on terror notwithstanding. Many find this intriguing. To understand the phenomenon of the resurgence of the Taliban one must read Kathy Gannon’s book, I is for Infidel. Hardly a heavy academic book, it can be deceptively light reading like the numerous travel accounts of journalists who visit troubled lands and then write about them.
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Training of media persons

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE government’s move to establish a large number of universities in a country where only half the population is literate has been widely debated. But President Pervez Musharraf’s suggestion for a media university should not be dismissed without a second thought because this venture, if it were to materialise, will be a different one of its kind.

Pakistan has no meritorious institution for training media personnel. This need not be a highbrow university to make an impact. Even an institute which awards a post-graduate diploma — but a really prestigious one — should serve our purpose well.
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Ex-general’s piece of advice

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

AN EX-ARMY colleague has some advice for Pervez Musharraf. General (retired) Jehangir Karamat, who is returning home from Washington after completing his two year term as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, does not appear to be one of those men in khaki who love dabbling in politics while in office.

It was another matter that he did not mind adopting publicly a critical stance as the army chief of staff in 1998 against the government. But rather than behave peevishly as our uniformed men are wont to, General Karamat chose to bow out with dignity when Mr Nawaz Sharif expressed his displeasure. Since then, he has taken up assignments with American thinktanks and for the Pakistan government.
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