Monthly Archives: July 2012

Campus crisis in Sindh

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHAT are the qualities — in terms of scholarship and character — that one should seek in the head of a university if it is to be run competently and produce excellence in education?

Inarguably he must, above all, inspire his students so that he can lead them with his moral strength and knowledge. Considering the fact that many of our universities are in a state of crisis today, it is time we looked at the leadership factor to determine what has gone wrong. Continue reading Campus crisis in Sindh

Sense of deja vu

By Zubeida Mustafa

IS history repeating itself? It appears to be. Look carefully at the accord between Islamabad and Washington reached earlier this month that broke the seven-month impasse between them. Observers and critics have speculated about what led to the breakthrough.

The US said sorry for the Salala incident. Pakistan softened its stance on the price demanded for reopening Nato supply routes to Afghanistan. Drone attacks have been quietly ignored. But what is strange is that in the flurry of articles on this issue there has been no mention of the event that in all likelihood jolted Washington into action. It was the announcement in May that Russian president Vladimir Putin will be visiting Islamabad in September. He will be the first Russian head of state to do so. Continue reading Sense of deja vu

Zubeida Mustafa: Fighting for the Women and Children of Pakistan

In the 33-year history of the Global Media Awards program, the Population Institute has recognized dozens of professional journalists for their coverage of family planning and reproductive health care issues. Many of them have gone on to have highly successful careers, based in part upon their continued coverage of population-related issues. One of those journalists is Zubeida Mustafa, a Pakistani journalist who retired after more than 30 years of work in 2008 as the Assistant Editor at DAWN, one of Pakistan’s most respected publications and the country’s largest English-language newspaper. She won Global Media Awards for her individual reporting in 1986 and in 2004.
Continue reading Zubeida Mustafa: Fighting for the Women and Children of Pakistan

Tightening the noose

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHILE the unending political circus in Islamabad engages the nation’s attention, there are significant developments in other fields that have escaped the media’s notice.

Take the case of the changes in the UK’s student visa rules for Pakistanis which put the spotlight on our collapsing education system and the yearning of a large number of our youth to escape from their country by hook or by crook.

Against the backdrop of the growing number of applicants in Pakistan for British student visas, the UK’s Border Agency (that now handles visa applications) held a “secret pilot study” across a few countries, including Pakistan. According to press reports this estimated that 40 per cent of Pakistani applicants were “ineligible for studies in the UK”. The yardstick used was their spoken English skills. Under the new rules, Pakistani applicants intending to study in the UK are required to appear for a mandatory face-to-face interview so that consular officials can assess their spoken English. Previously admission to British universities and visa applications were paper-based. Every year approximately 10,000 people were allowed to enter Britain on student visas from Pakistan. Continue reading Tightening the noose

Catalysts for change

By Zubeida Mustafa

HAVE our writers and artists met the challenges posed by the 21st century? Have they played the role expected of them to promote human rights in our society?

These were the questions posed to the participants of the Sindh Writers/Artists Convention organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last week.

As was not at all surprising, the answers were as divergent and conflicting as could be expected from the diverse set of speakers assembled for the occasion. There was, however, consensus on the right of every citizen to be educated and to indulge in creative cultural activities and derive pleasure from them. It was deemed obligatory on the state to uphold this right. Continue reading Catalysts for change