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Kuldip Nayar

The other Punjab

A Punjabi is known for living beyond his means. He may beg, borrow or steal, but he wants his reputation, however exaggerated, to stay. When it comes to the government in the two Punjabs, east and west, they are profligate. They spend less on substance and more on sustenance of prestige. That both the societies are losing their culture – and their mother tongue, Punjabi – does not bother them because they sincerely believe that what comes from elsewhere, especially phoren, is worth

Dengue in Pakistan

The government is unable to control the rising threat of dengue fever as around 2500 infected people were brought to hospitals across Pakistan by Tuesday.
All the hospitals in Karachi have been put on alert, with careful screening of all incoming patients. The number of dengue patients in Punjab has reached 890. 18 teams are working in Lahore to control this epidemic. The role of the government comes into sharp focus in this situation. It must play its due role in eliminating

It’s never too late

The world is now familiar with the tragic story beginning in July 2010, relentless monsoon downpours caused severe flooding in the history of Pakistan, a country already crippled with crises. The freak deluge displaced millions, washed away entire villages, broke the spines of bridges and devastated crops. The images of the recent floods in Pakistan, described by UN as the worst disaster in human history, have been harrowing.
Whereas estimated loss of life and property are

No mistakes or no nukes

Recent news has revealed that US lost the communication with some fifty missiles for about 45 minutes, which made it very difficult to launch these missiles or to send the military to determine the cause of incident.
The incident was significant enough that President Barack Obama was briefed on it this week. A defense official said a power failure disrupted communication between a control center and the missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
A few days ago, the

State Bank report

The State Bank of Pakistan annual report for the last fiscal year (2009-2010) highlights the inflation at 14.5 percent against the target of 9.5 percent set by the government. The report has blamed this on government’s failure to broaden the tax base and budget deficit.
The SBP has rightly criticized the government’s mismanagement and failure to reform the tax system and control inflation of food items. On a second note, the SBP should also put its own house in order. Why did it

Good governance?

The PML(N) leader Nawaz Sharif has been preaching good governance to the prime minister. He has been asking him to take independent decisions in the interest of the country.
I would like to ask him why he is not advising the same to his younger brother who is Chief Minster of Punjab. The previous government left a surplus amount of Rs 85 billion in the Punjab government accounts. At present, the government of Punjab have borrowed Rs 200 billion form banks. This loan is not for

First female SCBA President

I would like to congratulate Asma Jahangir for her historic victory in the election president, Supreme Court Bar Association. Every thoughtful Pakistani knows that Asma Jahangir is a renowned lawyer, human rights activist and supporter of genders equality.
She now has the honour of becoming the first female president of the SCBA. She was supported by senior liberal lawyers for this crucial election. The victory of Asma Jahangir is likely to inspire female lawyers and may open the

Another decor

Another medal for the present government: Pakistan has slipped up to 34th position, from 42nd a year ago, in the Transparency International’s list of the most corrupt nations. The Amnesty International has also hit us hard on our record for human rights violations in Balochistan and illegal disappearances.
The government says the reports do not represent the current situation. True, if they had, Pakistan would have topped the list. From Hillary Clinton to Angelina Jolie, everyone


Ejaz Haider

Sock it to ’em

Noted lawyer and human rights activist, Asma Jehangir, has won the Supreme Court Bar Association election with a narrow margin of 38 votes, becoming, in the process, the first-ever woman president of SCBA. Congratulations! In the larger scheme of things, however, this win is more than just a celebration of any feminist victory against entrenched patriarchy. It has to be seen in the backdrop of hardnosed politics.
The Pakistan Peoples Party government’s fight against its

She came, she saw…

Asma Jahangir’s victory in a fight down to the wire has many implications. That the lawyers voted into office the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is yet another proof that not only the masses but also the educated people of Pakistan reject extremist and reactionary ideas. She won not only in Lahore and Karachi but also in Peshawar and Quetta which is yet another proof that enlightenment and moderation among the legal community are a near universal


A rubbish way to handle garbage

Who can possibly resist an opportunity to exchange rags for riches? Or garbage for gold? Apparently, the Punjab government can, since it has proved to be immune to such temptations. How else can you explain the inaction of various city governments as well as the Urban Development Unit of the Planning and Development Department in the face of offers by private sector entrepreneurs to not only remove waste from their landfill sites but also to pay them for it.
The opportunity has


Nazir Naji

An inalienable right?

If the trend of using the violation of human rights as a basis of litigation continues, it won’t be long before blackmailers, kidnappers and thugs will be asking for their basic rights to be guaranteed in court. The right of being a turncoat, or as we call them in Urdu vernacular: a lota, is also one of these so-called basic rights. Some people have brought the case to court which argues that their party leaders have stripped them of their basic rights by asking them to adhere to

Downing Hemlock

Arundhati Roy, that gadfly of the Indian establishment, is in trouble again. Not bad enough was the fact that she was sympathetic to (and some say assisting) the Naxalite rebels in India’s red corridor that she had to top it off with a controversial statement about the latest round of anti-government protests in Kashmir. Saying that Kashmir is not an integral part of India was bound to ruffle feathers. And she knew it. But it was, as she maintained, what everyone in Kashmir says

Double whammy

Reports by Transparency International (TI) and Amnesty International (AI) should make the government and concerned agencies do some serious thinking. The Transparency International, widely recognised as a responsible whistle-blower, notes that Pakistan has slid down the ladder leading to the bottomless corruption pit from 42nd rung in 2009 to 34th this year. Information Minister Kaira has dismissed the report maintaining that the methodology adopted by TI in compiling the report is

New responsibilities

This is in response to the news reports that the US has agreed to increase military aid to Pakistan by an amount of US$ 2 bln per year. This increase in aid is apart from the Kerry-Lugar aid the country is already receiving.
As US is friend to no one except to its own interests, it would be becoming to be ready and willing to perform enhanced responsibilities in the war on terror. Pakistan should be willing to accept a broader role in the Afghan war outcome and military

Taliban seeking shelter

In a surprising development, the local Taliban council has said that militants will move into Afghanistan if the army launches an operation in North Waziristan.
A pamphlet purportedly distributed by the Mujahideen Shura of North Waziristan in Miramshah bazaar on Sunday said that the Taliban would ask Afghan President Hamid Karzai to provide shelter to their men if the army launched an operation in North Waziristan.
This has not been known whether the Karzai government

Traffic woes

The public transport system in the provincial metropolis is in shambles. There are no buses for school children, the line and lane is not followed, no taxi system is present, the drivers are illiterate or they show a sheer disregard of traffic rules.
Not to speak of the roads, the traffic police is also not helpful though they are present on crossing or square. The rush hours of early morning and afternoon when the office timing is off are the most dreadful scenes. No regard for

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