Monthly Archives: June 2012

‘Adopted’ school challenge

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN January 2005, I had commented in these columns, “The adopt-a-school programme (ASP) launched by the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) in 1997 is in danger of falling prey to maladministration, misuse, corruption and apathy of the city government.”

Today, the predator may have changed. Although the ASP is still alive, the threat to its existence comes from the Sindh education department. SEF which launched the project under its enterprising managing director, Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, persists in soldiering on. Continue reading ‘Adopted’ school challenge

Budget in an election year

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE budget betrays much about the priorities and style of a government. Since the money being spent is the taxpayers’ it is incumbent on their rulers to spend it responsibly and honestly.

A cursory look at the Sindh budget 2012-13 reveals much about our elected government’s political designs in an election year. It is not really strange if a government that has not shown much concern for the economic hardships of the masses should suddenly adopt policies that try to appease the electorate. However, when the allocations have an extraordinary pattern it is time to be skeptical and ask a few questions. Continue reading Budget in an election year

Profile: Zubeida Mustafa — A life less ordinary

By Rukhsana Mashhadi

We now know that it is a fallacy that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” for if this was a truism we would have studied “her story” as well as his, but if a woman wields a pen in her other hand then, through the power of her words, she can become a catalyst for change. Zubeida Mustafa, former Assistant Editor, Dawn and currently a widely-read columnist, nominated by the International Women’s Media Foundation for their Lifetime Achievement Award, is such a woman. The nomination describes Zubeida as a pioneer who paved the way for women in the media. Acknowledging that she did carve an opening by being incorporated at the policy-making level at Dawn, she emphasises that “if younger women hadn’t responded and seized the opportunity, the door that was opened would have shut. Without their presence where would my pioneering have gone!”
Continue reading Profile: Zubeida Mustafa — A life less ordinary

NON-FICTION: Keeping a record

Reviewed By Zubeida Mustafa

SALEEM Asmi has worn many hats. Beginning his professional life as a sub-editor in The Pakistan Times in 1959, he rose to be the editor of Dawn. Versatility is his virtue, which means his writings always have a freshness about them. Having known him professionally as a newsperson demonstrating his skills in the newsroom, and later as the editor of Dawn, one who was always willing to go an extra mile to test political waters, I was happy when I saw the collection of his writings from the early years, Saleem Asmi: Interviews, Articles, Reviews. The collection sheds as much light on the writer as the numerous personalities he interviews or writes about. We now see Asmi at his best, as an erudite critic of arts, culture and music.
Continue reading NON-FICTION: Keeping a record

Our population time bomb

By Zubeida Mustafa

PAKISTAN’S Population Census Organisation’s website has a population clock on the home page which gave the country’s population as 179,850,379 on Tuesday — an average increase of 9,700 every day.

According to the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), Islamabad, the country’s population was 133.3 million in 1998 when the last census was held. This comes to a whopping increase of 34.8 per cent in 13 years (2.6 per cent per annum) which surprisingly has gone unnoticed. In effect we have slipped down from the two per cent (NIPS) or 1.8 per cent (World Bank) figure we were given as the growth rate for 2010. Continue reading Our population time bomb

Making deals with the devil

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN his recently published memoirs, Jagtay Lamhay, Justice Haziqul Khairi, retired chief of the Federal Sharia Court, recalls his judgment upholding the transplantation law in Pakistan. The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance (2007) had been challenged by some surgeons on the ground that it violated the Sharia.

Justice Khairi writes that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) country chief in Pakistan, Dr Khalif Bille, described this as a “great” judgment. Soon thereafter the two Houses of parliament passed unanimously an act by the same name in 2010 to replace the ordinance. On that occasion the Assembly gave a standing ovation to Prof Adibul Hasan Rizvi, the director of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation and the person responsible for spearheading the 15-year campaign for legislation to regulate organ transplantation and check organ trade in Pakistan. The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA) was acknowledged by WHO as the best law on this subject in the world. Continue reading Making deals with the devil