Yearly Archives: 2011

Has PTI done its homework?

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE message that emerged loud and clear from the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf’s massive rally in Karachi on Sunday was that people want a change.

Responding to this palpable public sentiment, Imran Khan made promises that appear to contradict one another. We will not go out with a begging bowl, he said. The country will be a welfare state, he added. Yet his prized acquisition, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was adamant that the nuclear programme would be protected at any cost. Continue reading

28 Comments | Posted in Economy, Politics, Social Issues |

Looking ahead: Making headway

By Zubeida Mustafa

As the curtain falls on the year 2011, one wonders what promise 2012 holds in store for the women of Pakistan. The fact is that most of the tangible progress that has come in empowering women has been in the shape of laws that have been adopted. The induction of a large number of female legislators in the Assemblies and the presence of an active National Commission on the Status of Women have helped them coordinate their efforts to bring about change. But in a country where governance structures are weak and the implementation of laws is weaker still, legislation may not be enough to transform the situation on the ground. Continue reading

2 Comments | Posted in Human Rights, Justice, Social Issues, Women |

Chains not needed

By Zubeida Mustafa

A RECENT report about 50 young boys being kept shackled in a madressah has triggered a lot of wild speculation. The police said the place was being used as a detoxification centre for addicts. But a common belief is that the boys were being trained as suicide bombers. Continue reading

10 Comments | Posted in Children and Youth, Islamisation, Terrorism and Violence |

Wages of the rulers’ sins

By Zubeida Mustafa

Howard Zinn, the American historian and activist, once said that when you look at history from the “point of view of people at the bottom rather than the people at the top, everything looks different” . The criteria you use to judge policies are also different.Hence to be meaningful history must be written as the people’s history.

What happened in East Pakistan in 1971 when Bangladesh was born in blood and tears has been recounted by bureaucrats, military generals, historians, economists and scholars prolifically—but mostly from their own subjective point of view. Not much has been said about the people whose story remains largely untold. Much has been written about the exploitation of the eastern wing by the centres of power in the west. What befell the people has remained buried in silence, at least in Pakistan.
Continue reading

4 Comments | Posted in Politics, Social Issues, War and Peace |

Reminder of their rights

By Zubeida Mustafa

DECEMBER 10 was human rights day. That was the day 63 years ago when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was hailed as the international magna carta.

Much to their chagrin, people soon discovered that governments pay lip service to good causes as long as their freedom of action is not restricted severely. In many cases they have managed to get round obligations by not actually implementing on the ground what they have promised on paper. Continue reading

4 Comments | Posted in Children and Youth, Constitution, Culture and the Arts, Education, Human Rights |

Broadening the mind – as a life-long process

Tasneem Siddiqui, retired director of SKAA, (left) speaks at a critical discourse session. SEF's MD, Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, is presiding. Photo by Sadaf Zuberi

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE concept of education and knowledge has changed over the years. It is not just communication technology with the accompanying information explosion that has triggered this change. Also responsible is the phenomenon of specialisation that encourages people to know more and more about less and less. Hence the trend towards continuing and life long education. But this education is generally highly focused. This can pose a challenge in an age when the range of knowledge is becoming wider and to be effective one needs to adopt a holistic approach. It pays if you are a jack of all trade and also a master of one. Continue reading

2 Comments | Posted in Development and Poverty, Education, Social Issues |

Children do matter

By Zubeida Mustafa

IT is now widely believed that the root of the evils of militancy and extremism in our society lies in the faulty education system of the country. Textbooks preach hatred and religious prejudice against non-Muslims. Continue reading

24 Comments | Posted in Books, Children and Youth, Education |

Is the army truly on board?

By Zubeida Mustafa

OF late, the on-again-off-again India-Pakistan relationship has entered one of its constructive phases. This comes as a happy development at a time when Pakistan’s partnership with the US is in the doldrums and Afghanistan continues to pose a dilemma. Continue reading

9 Comments | Posted in Defence and Disarmament, Foreign Policy of Pakistan, War and Peace |

When women became professionals

By Zubeida Mustafa

‘A woman in a man’s world!’ That is how working women, my contemporaries in the 1960s, were described. We chose to give up the comfort zone of our homes to crash into a preserve dominated by professionals. Since these professionals happened to be men (except in the fields of teaching and medicine where the female presence was pretty visible) it required us to break the gender barrier as well. Yet we regarded ourselves foremost as professionals.

(Front Row) Hasan Abidi, Chappra , M.A. Qayyum, M.A. Shakoor, Ahmed Ali Khan, Mohsin Ali, Habib Khan Ghouri; (2nd row, left to right) Fazal Imam, Ghayurul Islam, Zubeida Mustafa, M.A. Majid, Saleem Asmi, M.B. Naqvi; (3rd row, left tor ight) Hazoor Ahmad Shah, M.J. Zahedi, M.H. Askari, Salahuddin, Iqbal Jafri - Karachi Press Club, 1994 (photo provided by the writer)

We were also seen as bulls in a china shop Continue reading

8 Comments | Posted in Media, Women |

How to make a child read

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN his informative book, A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel does not touch on any aspect of children’s reading. It is a glaring omission as it is unlikely that children’s reading has no history.

Three developments described by Manguel, however, have implications for children and reading Continue reading

10 Comments | Posted in Books, Children and Youth, Education |