Monthly Archives: July 2006

Our faulty data collection

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. — Mark Twain I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was prime minister than when anyone else was prime minister. That is a political statistic.

— Winston Churchill

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all. — Charles Babbage

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman, who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house. — Robert Heinlein
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Leave a comment | Posted in Economy |

What next in Balochistan?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

ISLAMABAD knows the art of messing up situations that could be used to its advantage. Take the case of Balochistan. Backward, under-developed and impoverished, Pakistan’s largest province has been reduced to that state by the sardars who have ruled it for ages without doing anything for the uplift of their people.

They themselves received hefty sums from the Pakistan government. All the federal government had to do was to pump in development funds and reach out to the people directly who would then have responded by standing on their own feet and marginalising the feudal leadership.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Balochistan |

Why we lack good governance

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE state of governance is the single most important factor that determines the quality of public services provided to the citizens of a country. Many independent bodies and aid agencies that have looked into Pakistan’s development problems have attributed the malaise in public services — be they education, health, housing, water supply, transport, or sanitation — to poor administration.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Politics |

Caring for the mentally ill

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE health sector has traditionally received Cinderella-like treatment from the policymakers in Pakistan. In this scheme of things, it is not surprising that mental health has been relegated to the lowest rung of the ladder, if for no other reason than that it is the most misunderstood branch of health science. It is also the most stigmatised.

Thanks to the efforts of the Pakistan Association for Mental Health and some committed psychiatrists, a measure of awareness has been created about mental illness in the country. But this is confined to the patients’, their families’ and the caregivers’ level. As a result, a large number of people suffering from a mental disorders who would previously visit pirs and mazars are now turning towards medical practitioners to seek treatment. But attitudes of the public have yet to change because no campaign on a massive scale has been undertaken to educate people about mental health and illness.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Health |