Yearly Archives: 2007

What ails education in Pakistan?

Reviewed By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

The major factor in the destruction of education in Pakistan has been the lack of commitment on the part of the government.

EDUCATION, one of the most neglected sectors in Pakistan, has received more attention from experts and laypeople than from policymakers. It has been investigated very often because the negative impact of this neglect is now being felt in every walk of life.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Book Reviews, Education |

Living with a big neighbour

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE Dawn News-The Indian Express-CNN-IBN opinion poll conducted in 30 major cities of India and Pakistan on the 60th anniversary of their independence has come under attack from cynics. How can 30,000 urbanites represent one billion plus and 160 million people, the majority of whom live in the countryside?

Without doubt, no pollster worth his salt would give this exercise serious credence. But if the poll is used as a pointer to show which way the wind is blowing it can be quite instructive.

It has exploded some myths perpetuated by the establishments on both sides of the borders. The perception of the other being an enemy country has been propagated every so often that India-Pakistan relations have come to be based on the false premise that their ties can only be of an adversarial nature. This has served the vested interests in both countries who have exploited this impression to create a crisis situation from time to time.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Foreign Policy of Pakistan |

Slippery base of foreign policy

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

WHEN Pakistan’s foreign policy came in the line of fire in the National Assembly last week, one wished that the level of the debate had been more informed and intelligent. But what can one expect from parliamentarians who are too busy with their own pursuits and have no time to even attend Assembly sessions regularly, let aside do their homework?
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Leave a comment | Posted in Foreign Policy of Pakistan |

A way out of the present crisis

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

PAKISTAN faces a serious constitutional crisis which has been compounded by the problems spawned by extremism and violence that threaten the country’s security, territorial integrity and social cohesion.

On the one hand, there is the question of who should govern the country. In the absence of a stable and generally accepted political system that provides a mechanism for a smooth transition to a new ruler periodically, a political vacuum looms large over the horizon.General Musharraf has exploited the situation cleverly to entrench himself in office even if this required him to distort the Constitution of 1973 beyond recognition and violate it blatantly. On the other hand are the jihadi and fanatic forces who feel they just have to give the final shove to see the country fall in their lap.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Politics |

The ordinance must be flawless

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

LAST week, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry directed the government to promulgate without delay the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance 2007. In the absence of a law to regulate organ transplantation, unscrupulous elements have reduced Pakistan to what is dubbed as a ‘gurda kundi’ where humans are auctioned for their organs.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Health, Organ Trade and Donation |

A grim outlook for labour

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

RECENTLY Piler, which has been conducting useful research on labour issues, released its latest report titled Denial and Discrimination: Labour Rights in Pakistan. Written by Zeenat Hisam, this report sheds light on the labour sector in the country and provides valuable information for those looking into the status of workers and how the labour movement is faring.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Economy, Labour |

Using religion as a tool of power

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

ONE positive result of the Lal Masjid operation is that it has brought into the open the ambiguities and contradictions in our social values and political attitudes. Hopefully, the tragic events of last week will shock people into confronting the truth.

The crisis began in January when the radicals of the Lal Masjid took matters into their own hands by getting the female students of Jamia Hafsa to occupy a government-owned children’s library. The action was in retaliation to the demolition of the illegally built mosques on encroached land in the capital city.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Islamisation, Politics |

APC and a sense of déjà vu

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

PAKISTAN’S political leaders, it appears, can show a semblance of unity only in the face of adversity. Nothing else concentrates their minds better than the fear of a military leader or a political opponent entrenching himself indefinitely in office. They are then prepared to sink their differences — but only to an extent — and join hands to overthrow him.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Politics |

Little stress on women’s health

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

MORE appalling than the state of the reproductive health of women in Pakistan is the ignorance shown by our policymakers and leaders of opinion about the silent suffering of women.

Dr Shershah Syed, the president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan, who is one of the most outspoken critics of the government’s health policy, recalled the other day his encounter with political leaders before the 2002 elections. The PMA had arranged a meeting with party representatives to brief them about women’s health. Thus the doctors hoped to enlist the cooperation of the prospective parliamentarians in health matters after the election.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Health, Women |

Identifying needs of education

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

AFTER politics and the economy, the subject that is being frequently discussed today in the media is education. One should welcome this positive development since public debates will enhance awareness about the needs and problems of this sector and thus generate pressure for reform.

The federal education minister, Lieutenant General (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, has been quite vocal on this score in a bid to establish the credibility of his policies. A few days ago he appeared in a PTV talk show. Earlier he gave a comprehensive interview to CRI’s newsletter.

As could have been expected, Mr Qazi had many good things to say about his achievements as the education minister. One would not dispute the merit of some of them though it is too early to say whether they will be sustained. One also wonders if these policy measures will not be misused.
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Leave a comment | Posted in Education |