Last week, for at least six days, hundreds of flood-affected villagers from around the outskirts of Pangrio, a sleepy town in the Sindh province, blocked the main artery – the Thar Coal Road – connecting Badin to neighbouring district of Tharparkar – not allowing any traffic to pass.
The heavy and incessant monsoon downpours across Pakistan in the last two months have triggered floods wreaking havoc across the country, submerging entire villages and vast tracts of land and entrapping people. Anything coming in the way of the relentless water is being destroyed, including roads, bridges, and standing crops.
“It was like a heavy burden had been lifted, and I could breathe easier,” said Irum Khan, a polio worker, recalling the cloudy, gloomy, winter morning of January 28, 2022, when her supervisor announced Pakistan had not reported a single case of a child afflicted with polio since January 27, 2021, when the last time a polio case was reported from the province of Balochistan.
Two years after Michelle, 15, was kidnapped, sold, forced to convert to Islam and married to a stranger, relatives still ostracise her.
Mukhtiar’s heart sank when he saw the grisly incident of lynching of a man in the industrial city of Sialkot, in Punjab province.
Balance is the absolute key, says Alia Chughtai, a journalist who started a catering service with filmmaker Akhlaque Mahesar, by the name of Aur Chaawal (And Rice), two years ago.
Twenty-three-year-old Sarah Tajammal felt a sense of “impending doom” as she fought high fever, nausea, bouts of vomiting and extreme fatigue after being diagnosed with dengue two weeks back.
The mauling, groping and tossing of a young woman by a crowd of between 300 and 400 men in a park in the eastern city of Lahore, in the Punjab province, may have caused a wave of country-wide disgust, but speaks volumes of how unsafe public spaces are for Pakistani women.
“If I fall into the hands of the Taliban, not only me but my family will be killed,” said AB, 23*, who worked as a broadcast journalist for the past seven years and is a well-known face on the television screen.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making sure that all foreign dignitaries visiting the country get their hands dirty. With a shovel and a watering can, they are invited to plant a tree for one of the largest reforestation initiatives in the world — the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme or TBTTP.
October 13 began like any other day at the Lal house as Raja Lal and his wife Rita Raja left for work at 7:30 am.
"I made the usual breakfast of anda paratha (egg and flat bread) and told my eldest to lock the door from inside," Raja, who works as an ayah in a school, told IPS. Their 13-year old daughter, the youngest of their four children, did not go to school that day as her school shoes no longer fit and her parents hadn’t bought her a new pair yet.
Little did they know that that day was the beginning of a nightmare for the Lal household. Their daughter would then allegedly be "abducted, forcefully converted and married in just one day”, Lal, a Christian, told IPS.
A former Pakistani child bride, who was wrongly accused of killing her husband at 13 and subsequently spent almost two decades in prison, is making history by being the first victim of a miscarriage of justice to seek compensation from the state, say legal human rights experts.
Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, the coordinator for Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, has sleepless nights thinking about what needs to be done for his country to eradicate polio.
"He struck his head, his side, his stomach and went on hitting him. When Hunain said he could not breathe, the teacher slammed him against the wall, saying, 'Being dramatic are we?’" This is the eye witness account from a classmate of 17-year-old Pakistani student, Hunain Bilal, who was allegedly beaten to death by his teacher after he failed to memorise his lessons.
Gulab Shah, 45, is having sleepless nights. He and his family are worried about their imminent migration from their village in Jhaloo to a major city in Pakistan, thanks to the continued ingress of sea water inland.
"If I'm assured that my home and my village has been de-mined, I'd be the first to return with my family," says 54-year old Mohammad Mumtaz Khan.
Sliced noses, broken ribs, fractured fingers, slashed arms, bruised and bloodied faces with teeth missing and eyes swollen... Sana Jawed, 30, has been witnessing these brutalities for over a decade.
In a last-ditch effort, Germany and China are trying to influence the United States not to walk away from the Paris climate change accord it signed along with 194 nations.
Aimal Khan, 27, an airman in Pakistan's Air Force, warns the country will end up in the throes of mayhem if the state does not do something about the abuse of the blasphemy laws. "People will use it to settle personal scores," he said.
Over 950 people have perished in just five days. The morgues, already filled to capacity, are piling up with bodies, and in over-crowded hospitals the threat of further deaths hangs in the air.
Khalil Ahmed's life story sounds like it could have come straight out of the plot of a Bollywood flick, but it didn’t. And that makes it all the more inspiring.