Monthly Archives: January 2012

The battle must go on

By Zubeida Mustafa

SUCH are the paradoxes in Pakistan’s politics, that at a time our politicians are locked in a grim power struggle in Islamabad, the same gentlemen joined hands to pass unanimously the women’s commission bill last Thursday.

Whether this show of unity on a matter concerning women should be interpreted as an act of chivalry or a demonstration of ‘woman power’, it will be widely welcomed. One must, however, admit that it was the clout of the women’s caucus and the determination of the speaker — also a woman — to get the treasury and opposition benches to forge a consensus that ultimately carried the day. The bill is expected to have a smooth sailing in the Senate. Continue reading

12 Comments | Posted in Constitution, Politics, Women |

Science at the grass roots

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN an article ‘Neutrinos and Angels’ he wrote for a national daily, Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy, one of Pakistan’s leading scientists, quotes the late Carl Sagan, America’s well-known astronomer, astrophysicist, and science communicator.

Sagan told Bible Belt Americans: “Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonise about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us — then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.” Continue reading

10 Comments | Posted in Children and Youth, Education, Social Issues |

Won’t we be counted?

ACCORDING to Pakistan’s Population Census Organisation’s website, enumeration of the population should have been completed on Sept 27, 2011. This has not been done.

Even the house-listing operation that precedes the head count has run into road blocks. One can therefore only make wild guesses about the size of our population. According to the government, the population of Pakistan today stands at 177.1 million. The growth rate, as claimed by the Pakistan Economic Survey 2010-11, stands at 2.05 per cent per annum.

This is cause for serious concern as last year’s Survey had quoted the population growth rate to be 1.51 per cent. Continue reading

1 Comment | Posted in Economy, Population, Women |

Pakistan ruined by language myth

By Zubeida Mustafa

Effective teaching of English is the preserve of an elite leaving the rest of the country to linguistic confusion and educational failure.

Last year I wrote a book highlighting the crisis in Pakistan’s education system caused by the way languages are used and taught. Its publication prompted one critic Continue reading

7 Comments | Posted in Education, Language, Social Issues |

Will the lion roar again?

By Zubeida Mustafa

SO Ardeshir Cowasjee has decided to call it a day. He was one of Dawn’s longest-serving columnists and certainly the most feared because nothing could stop him from speaking out against what he perceived to be wrong. And in this calamity-stricken country of ours there was always much to provoke AC.

For over two decades he irritated and angered many of the high and mighty mandarins in their ivory towers Continue reading

26 Comments | Posted in Development and Poverty, Media, Social Issues |