First, it was Youtube. Now, if the government of Sindh has its way, it could well be goodbye to Skype, Whatsapp, Viber and Tango for the people of this province in southeastern Pakistan. At least for the next three months.
Back in Swat Valley in Pakistan where she comes from, Malala Yousafzai who had been tipped to win the Nobel peace prize this year, has not only left behind more girls in school now than there were a year ago but also large numbers of people who are now distanced – and even hostile – to her.
Had the provincial governments of Pakistan heeded their apex court, the country’s four provinces - Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - would have had local governments in place by now. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had in July this year directed that local government elections be held by Sep. 15.
Twenty-eight-year-old Omar Zaib, a taxi driver in Lahore, capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province, confessed in court last month to drowning his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter because he wanted a son. A few days later, the media reported that two newborn girls had been found abandoned at a railway station.
It took fifty-something Sameer*, father of two, 25 years of marriage and deceit to eventually break free and come out of the closet three years back.
“I miss my mother and cry every night,” eight-year-old Afaq Ali tells IPS. He is a Class 5 student at the University Public School in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the administrative centre for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to its west.
“I consider myself lucky after finding my son,” says Muhammad Jabeen, a juice vendor in Bannu, one of the 25 districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northern Pakistan. The Taliban had taken his son, Mateen Shah, away from a madrassa to join their ranks.
Africa and Pakistan are now battling outbreaks of polio, threatening the extraordinary progress the world has made in fighting the almost-extinct disease. In the Horn of Africa, there are now 121 reported polio cases. Last year, there were 223 worldwide.
Siddharth Chatterjee has served as the chief diplomat, head of strategic partnerships and international relations at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest humanitarian network, since June 2011.
Twenty-year-old Adnan Khan was among eight persons convicted for an attempt on the life of former president Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The conviction appeared uncertain, just as his whereabouts were before the order by a military court.
Forty-year-old Sajja Bibi from Sukkur, 470 km from Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, has been camping on the pavement across from the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation for over two years now.
After a string of setbacks in India in recent years, the genetically modified seed industry is now targeting Pakistan as its next frontier, say activists.
Gulam Rasul, chief meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, was sure early this month that the second leg of the annual monsoon due in the latter half of the month was going to be bad. “Normally it peaks towards late August,” Rasul told IPS.
What happens after 2014? That is the question people on Afghanistan’s streets are asking as the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops draws near.
Zahid Husain, 25, is a salesman in the Pakistan city Lahore. He sits idly on the pavement of a clothes shop and plays a game on his cell phone, oblivious to the changes in the city all around him.
A new Taliban fashion directive to men has created surprise and drawn opposition. Orders to men to wear the loose traditional dress rather than trousers have been challenged on the grounds that men in the northwest of Pakistan do not wear trousers in the first place.