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 “Has PTI done its homework?”
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 “Looking ahead: Making headway”
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 “Chains not needed”
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 “Wages of the rulers’ sins”
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 “Reminder of their rights”
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 “Broadening the mind – as a life-long process”
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 “Children do matter”
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 “Is the army truly on board?”
‘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.