Since the day I have been made able to observe the world and understand things, I have seen my country suffering from poverty. When we see majorities of big cities living a luxurious life with all the facilities available, we also come across areas where there is neither food to eat nor any shelter to live under. This was the poverty I was talking about while initiating this piece of writing.
Taking one example that is right there in the same country in which we live, Thar! One of our 4 deserts where there is no food, no water, no shelter, no life yet still people are living there in conditions which can’t even be described. We go through social media newsfeeds seeing this topic being discussed, we hear news on television describing the painful situation of the people but still, most of us chose to ignore those because we have each and every thing available and our life goes on perfect. While we often think that the government must take care of that and it should be doing.
So now let’s talk about how government is working on this issue.
It was two or three weeks ago, while scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this picture:
Which was captioned as: “Here’s to those who say that the government isn’t working for underprivileged areas”
And I was completely outraged seeing this. I don’t know whether the person who posted this was being sarcastic ( it did not seem like that ) or was actually in favor of the government for taking such a great measure to ensure a healthy life for those striving for just “life” in Thar. Like what, they don’t have anything to eat, they drink the dirty water available while sometimes they don’t, and the children pass their day in naked in heat and the roaring sun whereas they have nothing cover themselves in cold at night. That’s a desert people, a desert! A place where if we go for fun, we must have special items with us and we need to take some different precautions and safety measures. And those pour souls are living over there day and night. I wonder how difficult its being for them to sustain life whereas there is nothing to support them with this purpose but hope. Hopes which I believe would never be fulfilled. !
As we have studied in Pakistan studies, we are lucky to have a country full of natural resources. A country rich in minerals, a country having unending water bodies and a country having land best suited for agriculture. But wait, do we get to see the results? Yes of course! When we see our government and their generations and generations living their lives and celebrating their events. Because our poverty has never been treated. Instead we care about how those women could upload selfies and how those men could get recent sports updates. We are working on how those children could be exposed to new ways of learning when we know that they lack the basics of such facilities. People, I’m talking about the same children of which hundreds and thousands die each day because of food and water shortage and because of extreme temperatures and lack of medication facilities. Seriously, we need to get a mind, think and protest on this, rather than yelling on the materialistic issues we are shouting on. And to my esteemed government, just get out of your peaceful life, come and witness those who gave you this peace, share the benefits coming from our resources and then see, how the number of your opposition gets reduced.
Written By: ARHAM SHAREEF HASHMI (Team PS)
There are around 1.5 million registered and 1 million unregistered Afghan refugees currently living in Pakistan. These refugees have lived here for more than three decades, their number crossing 5 million in 2001 and 3 million of them having been repatriated are few of the considerable facts.
There are several reasons why and how afghan refugees have turned out to be a social, economic and security burden on Pakistan.
From introduction of Kalashnikov culture and sectarian violence to smuggling of drugs and opium, many refugees are a direct cause of social disturbance in our society.
According to government data, Afghan refugees have occupied hundreds of thousands of jobs. Many of the afghan businessmen do not pay taxes. Pakistani Government receives only $80 annually for each Afghan refugee and that amounts to nothing.
Most of the suicide attacks have been traced to Afghan refugee camps including the recent Lahore bomb blast. Refugees are also involved in smuggling of weapons across the border that has given rise to crime rate in many localities.
Pakistani Government has extended their stay until the end of 2017, after which they are supposed to be repatriated immediately, although this deadline trend has now become more of a formality. On the other hand, Human Rights Watch blames Pakistan for forced repatriation of refugees back to their country which is currently unstable and unfit for their return. It is the need of time that Pakistani and Afghan Governments, and international community along with UNHCR take serious and effective measures to find a practical and moderate solution to this case.
LET THEM STAY ONLY IF..
Turkey gets more than $1300 annually for each Syrian refugee. Pakistan must demand more funds and aid from international community to bear the needs of refugees. If granted a certain increase in aid, we could permit the refugees to stay for few more years until Afghanistan gets stabilized to a certain degree. Moreover, we need to enhance our security system to ensure there’s no refugee involved in terrorist or criminal activities.
REPATRIATE THEM IMMEDIATELY IF..
If our demand for extra aid goes unheard and Afghan Government keeps supporting India on various issues then we must repatriate the refugees by the end of this year, no matter what. Our country and its people have already suffered much due to these refugees. We have served them enough, now it is their time to go back.
The Government of Afghanistan must ensure a safe and healthy return of refugees back to their country. Provision of jobs, houses and security needs to be taken care by Afghan Government with the help of international community.
ROLE OF MEDIA:
Media must play a responsible role in creating awareness and highlighting the issues faced by both Afghan refugees and Pakistan. It should also help in creating a public opinion that can facilitate the governments to formulate a better future strategy.
written by: Faizan Shahzad (Team PS)
Almost all of us today are stressed out, anxious and unhappy because of so many reasons. Obviously, there are a lot of things and people in life responsible for the state we are in, isn’t it? But what if I tell you that we ourselves are to be blamed and no one else because of our ungrateful attitude and habits towards life?
There are so many things we are so many things we take for granted and so many blessings that we neglect that it seems our life is full of problems. Now, I am not saying that problems don’t exist. Of course they do and none us has a perfect life but our attitude of focusing our lens only on things that are not sufficient or not how we want them to be, and then magnifying them makes things worse. It seems that we keep looking for reasons (yes, even when we don’t have them, we look for them) everyday that make us more and more ungrateful and our list of unsatisfactory things keeps on increasing.
Who doesn’t have a messed up life? All of us do, right? There are so many things: There is your college that is so stressful and tiring that it makes you want to drop out of it. You don’t get grades up to your expectations no matter how hard you try. You are not as smart, as pretty or as cool as your peers. You don’t have the latest gadgets while all of your friends do. You are not as rich as your best friend and that is so embarrassing. You do get pocket money every week or every day but it’s not enough. Your parents are so strict and your siblings annoy you so much. You literally lag behind in everything and everything that you compare with others is wrong with you. But the important question here is, who are you comparing yourself to? We always compare ourselves to people who are better than us (or at least they appear to be) in every way and as a result we end up having feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and ungratefulness. Ultimately, we start hating our lives and wishing for better things while ignoring all that we already have.
Take a moment to think about the children who cannot go to school every day, people who don’t have a family and friends to love them and care for them, people who cannot even dream about having all the luxuries we have: a home, a family, food to eat and other facilities. Think about the people who cannot see, hear or walk and people who are ill and don’t have the blessing of health and people who are handicapped. Think about people who spend their days and nights on streets draped in two scraps of cloth. There are people whose lives would be complete and fulfilled if they had even any one of the things that you own but take for granted. We spend so much of our time complaining about little things that we don’t pay attention to this. It seems that the more ungrateful we become, the more reasons life gives us to be ungrateful for. We keep wishing for more and for better but we forget that there is always someone in the world who would be better than us, unless of course, you become the world’s number one person in everything which is not possible, and there is nothing you can do about it.
So why not focus on things that you can do? Why not try to change your approach towards life? Honestly, it makes things so much easier and it’s not that hard either. Practice gratefulness. Start counting your blessings! As I said, life gives us more reasons to be ungrateful for, the more unappreciative we become, but the good news is, the reverse happens when we adopt exactly the opposite attitude. Our blessings multiply with an incredible pace when we start to appreciate things. It is an almost magical process and you’ll be amazed to see how things start changing once you sincerely start appreciating them. Acknowledge all the little things that you have and only focus on them; all problems will automatically start fixing slowly or at least not seem as big as they do now. Whenever you start to feel ungrateful about something just think of someone who doesn’t have it or what you would do if you didn’t have it. Don’t forget to thank Allah whenever you can for the uncountable and unlimited blessings he bestows upon you every second.
Not only will this kind of attitude benefit you, but it will also make you more compassionate and you would start helping others. Let us now resolve to be more appreciative towards life because the secret to happiness and satisfaction is as simple as that. Don’t wait for tomorrow or better days, but start now because the things that you are taking for granted now will be gone the next moment. You never know.
Inside the circle of gratitude, blessings multiply.
Thinking whether this is just another clichéd article about the absurdity and ridiculousness of the “logic” behind Pakistani ads? Well, it’s a tad bit more than that. It’s about how we’re portraying the role of our women in our country, ultimately paving way for bigotry and intolerance against them. After all, you know what they say. Change really does begin at grass root level. And for change, perhaps, the first step would be to reflect upon the mass indoctrination of female stereotypes through these advertisements.
One of such ad’s, has been Bonus’s impressive tendency and unwavering record of presenting the ever old, typical rift between a saas and her bahu. Not only do such portrayals reinforce stereotypes and propagate clashes between families, they also reduce women to petty fights when they illustrate their most glorious achievement as winning over their in-laws with the cheapest and most effective detergent. The only mantra these women are seen chanting is “Wah kya baat he bonus ki!” After all, all that matters is mastering the skill of ultra clean, pristine laundry. (This one however, has extra, spice due to bhabhi-nand arguments making the rounds too!)
Tapal Daneda’s advertisement is another example of how an ambitious, young woman is married off right after she discovers that she has topped at her university. Her gladly accepting to serve the guests with chai and stowing away any career prospects is a prime example of female indoctrination. While the role of women as homemakers is of extreme importance and respect, it is important to let women pursue their careers, if they wish to do so. But, hey, lo and behold! If you can make flawless chai and win all hearts, then that’s the greatest triumph. After all “muqammal chai, muqammal ghar.”
Women succeeding in professional fields are completely missing from the landscape. The biggest worry of their lives have become impressing their in-laws with the perfectly cooked kheer on the first day in their susraal, (Laziza Kheer Mix to the rescue!) perfectly brewed chai, perfectly spotless laundry, oh, and preparing massive feasts that always leaves the guests impressed. Surprisingly so, they even look perfect doing so. Tall, lean, meticulous makeup and supermodel looks. Our obsession with women, especially domestically is absolutely absurd. Perhaps, for once a real-life representation of real-life women wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
What’s worse is that even the products being sold to women are advertised in a ridiculous way. Fairness is portrayed as the epitome of beauty and elegance. Usually, a girl as portrayed as the black sheep, the outcast, the misfit and her magical transformation results in the influx of rishtas, immediately making her the new “it girl.” In this case, this woman garners her husband’s attention by her porcelain, milky-white skin. The rest is just self-explanatory.
The best one however is Zubaida apa’s tagline. “Ab gora hoga Pakistan.” Not only showcasing the effects of colonialism but also our obsession with “gori rangat” that drives us to such idiocy. Use everyday, and voila! Supermodel looks! Maybe for once, a lesson on genetics could put a halt on such ads messing with the self-esteems of millions of women.
Let’s not forget the toilet cleaning ads in which women are reduced to all sorts of craziness to demonstrate the cleanliness of the toilet. This absurdity reached new heights when a female doctor scrapes the bottom surface of a toilet to prove how “sanitary” it is.
The last straw however, is the increasing rise of insurance ads emphasizing on how important it is to save for a son’s education while saving up for a daughter’s dowry and marriage expenses.
To cut it short, a women’s honor and pride can be summed in
- her cooking skills that have her saas and husband at her feet
- her ability to meticulously clean her family’s laundry (and economically!)
- perfect gol rotis and garhi chai!
- oh and squeaky clean toilets too!
Written by Sara Khan (team PS)
“There is no virtue as truly and godlike as justice”
If justice delayed is justice denied then injustice is capable of doing more harm than what it’ll meet the eye.Injustice itself is nothing less than a seed of evil that if neglected will spread roots in the society and erode it slowly.
“And let not hatred of any people seduce you that deal not justly.Deal justly that is necessary to your duty”
Injustice is not just the judge making a wrong decision. Denying someone what they deserve is also injustice to them. If you let someone got exploited and turn on blind eye to it, you are actually letting the wrong doers go free and allowing them to do what they want. If the evil is not ripped in bud, it’ll grow.
Every evil was once nothing than ignorance. We think that it’s just one time but once injustice even if it’s as small as letting the worker get less wage than he was promised, will set off a chain and slowly everywhere the landowners and employees will start exploiting the weak and poor.
Injustice how small it is has to be stopped. Past is filled with examples how elite class injustices were ignored and it let to downfall of whole kingdoms. Letting injustice prevail makes society’s soul hollow, vulnerable to destruction.
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
(William Shakespeare Henry VI)
Written by Aiman Sohail
Its been six weeks since I have shifted in my new apartment. I was so happy for this because I purchased it with my own money. I have earned that money and saved it just to get a separate and private apartment for myself.
The very first day when I was unpacking my stuff and arranging it on the big shelf which is just next to my bed, I thought that someone just ran outside the room. I clearly heard it’s footsteps and saw a shadow move from the corner of my eye. At first, I thought it was just my imagination as it was a new place for my mind and gradually it will all go away. One week passed and nothing else happened. I was now pretty sure that it was just my imagination and nothing else. On Thursday night, when I came home from the office, I placed my wallet, mobile phone and the car’s keys at the table and went to the washroom to get freshened up. Just after 15 minutes I came out and saw that my mobile phone wasn’t there. I remembered that I myself placed my phone there with all my things but now it wasn’t there. I went to my car just too see if I might have forgotten it in the car. I checked every other place but there was nothing. I was really tired and wanted to have some rest so I just came to my room, lye down on the bed and the very next moment I saw my mobile placed with my wallet and keys on the same table. Where it went? Where it came from? It is still a secret.
Well, the very same night I was sleeping when suddenly someone touched my back with it’s hand. That feel of touch was really soft but cold. I clearly felt the fingers like someone sleeping just next to me. When I looked back, there was no one. I knew that I wasn’t alone in this house. So I just closed my eyes, lying straight, pretending to sleep. The next moment I got a slap on the face. A really hard sleep that shook me from head to toe. It was also a really cold one. At first, I was so frightened that I wanted to shout out loud. But I knew it was of no use. So like a complete idiot, I stood up from me bed, began to see towards where that hand came from and said, “If you did anything more now, you even don’t what you will be facing then!”
Urdu Translation: “Ager tunay ab kuch kera na, phir dekhio mai kia kerta hu!”
And I clearly had in mind what I will be doing next. I will just pickup my phone and will be running outside my house. YEA! THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD DO.
What happened next?
The next part will be up soon.
NABEEL TARIQ (TEAM PS)
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