Monthly Archives: May 2019

Twitter diplomacy

By Zubeida Mustafa

The battle of tweets we have been witnessing of late, reminds us that we have certainly come a long way from the style in which diplomacy was conducted since 1648. That was the year when the Peace of Westphalia launched the modern secular sovereign state system. It introduced new guidelines for states in their dealings with one another. They demanded “accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty” from an ideal diplomat, as defined by Harold Nicolson, the British diplomat famous for his books and diaries.

Donald Trump’s twitter page in Washington, DC using a Game of Thrones-styled montage. In April 2019 the US President tweeted “Game Over” declaring himself fully vindicated in the investigation into Russian election meddling and alleged collusion in the 2016 presidential elections.

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Development with dignity

By Zubeida Mustafa

Asad Ali teaches an arts and crafts class in Khairo Dero. (Courtesy of Zubeida Mustafa)

Asad Ali, a young man in his 20s, has a passion for teaching. He is a high school graduate and has no teacher’s training degree, but he has compassion and inborn pedagogic skills that endear him to his students. His father wanted him to join the army, but Ali preferred his classroom to the battlefield. If Pakistan had more teachers with his commitment, the country would be a different place altogether.

Ali would be a failure in the postmodern education system the Pakistan government is making futile attempts to create for a people still stuck in the medieval ages. Had Ali managed to adjust to the prescribed system, his students in Khairo Dero—the village in Sindh where he lives and works—would be unable to relate to him as they do now.

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Health inequity

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE recently launched report of the National Human Rights Commission’s Karachi chapter on health as a human right is indeed timely. The report seeks constitutional changes to make the citizens’ right to health justiciable.

Of great significance is the report’s redefinition of the term ‘healthcare’ which has conventionally been interpreted very narrowly in Pakistan as providing treatment for the illnesses that afflict people in the country. Preventive medicine and the social factors leading to diseases (termed as social determinants of health) are generally ignored by those managing the health sector. The fact is that healthcare in Pakistan is dominated by the pharma-driven allopathic medicine.

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Arts or science?

By Zubeida Mustafa

ADD ‘or commerce?’ to the question in the title. With the examination season in full swing, to be followed by college admissions a few months later, this is naturally the question being asked by many young people aspiring to higher education.

Gone are the days when the choice was more or less evenly spread across all disciplines, with arts having a slight edge over the others. Individual aptitude, the job market and the capacity available in colleges determined the ultimate picture that emerged.

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Educating

by whom, for whom and, most of all, for what?

: By Rifaat Hamid Ghani

Our ‘education’ — going to school, coming out of home, learning to be with ‘others’, making and losing friends — might well be the most significant as well as broadest range of social interaction for an individual in his lifetime. It prepares and defines the person for non-familial contact and the process of continuous learning that accompanies life. In that sense education is essentially non-finite.

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