Najma Sadeque

  • There was a time just 50 years ago when it scarcely rained in Karachi, Pakistan’s industrial and commercial hub and seaport; just a shower every few years if residents were lucky. From the late 70s, however, rains are more frequent as are floods in the sprawling 1,400 square mile city of 21 ...

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  • The government is about to facilitate the handing over of our seed heritage to the foreign corporate world. In many agricultural countries, millions of farmers and peasants have been up in arms against their governments for allowing or considering seed-thieving by foreign investors. It was only ...

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  • In 1995 when a decisive UN Women’s Conference took place in Beijing, most women didn’t notice another major and worrying event that took place earlier the very same year – the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), an organization not created by the UN but dreamt up and ...

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  • Throughout history, superpowers that outstayed their welcome eventually turned unscrupulous trying to hang on. The most recent one in the last century directly shaped and manipulated global institutions forcing most countries into submission. The instruments used were the World Bank/IMF, the World ...

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  • Attention, Mr Imran Khan! There’s a fly in your soup. More like two. Trusting in your integrity, we took you for your word about ending corruption and bringing justice to even the poorest of the poor. But you really think that’s possible without land reforms? It now transpires those ...

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  • A new, hopefully honest, government will find its hands full. Apart from dealing with feudalism, monopolies and cartels, unwarranted privatization, corruption, kickbacks, commissions, ‘bhatha’, they’ll also face widespread grinding poverty.Even if solutions are found, ...

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  • Corruption does not merely involve kickbacks, bribes, commissions, embezzlement, unsanctioned perks and privileges, fictitious overheads and expenditures, skimming, misappropriation and outright theft. It also involves the corruption of products and production methods, falsely claimed as superior, ...

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  • Now that PTI and PAT have harnessed the imagination of the urban majority, hopefully they’ll start thinking of the largest and most difficult to access segment of the population — the peasantry.But liberating the peasant is more easily said than done, no matter how good the intentions ...

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  • Recently, a troubled viewer made a live call to a TV channel where a learned and popular mufti preaches a gentle and practical Islam in its true spirit. The caller was well-qualified, yet he failed to find a job despite years of trying. Obviously an honest and upright man, he pleaded: “I ...

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  • The police system set up in 1861 for colonial India was “designed to be a public-frightening organization, not a public-friendly agency… for keeping the natives on a tight leash,” wrote Dr. Shoaib Suddle, “Service to the people was not an objective.”It’s ...

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  • Since the late 80s, successive governments have been consistently violating citizens’ human and constitutional rights under the cover of the World Bank and IMF. In 1987, the IMF slapped us on the wrists with a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) put into effect in1990. It was approved ...

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  • How does one tame a wild horse? Some animals by nature are easily subordinated, and some just cannot be. Somewhere in the world, there is a breed of horse that roams wild. It is such a free spirit to its core, that it refuses to eat in captivity, starving itself to death unless released. So man has ...

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  • Some believe revolution fails when there’s no immediate change of government. But revolution can be a process, progressing in stages, the pressure taking months or years. In developed America, the system became seriously corrupted, increasingly ‘corporatized’ and militarized, ...

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  • Honeybees travelling cross-country by container truck instead of flying on their own steam? Yes, indeed. Long before shipping containers began to be used as protestor-deterring roadblocks or temporary field offices or housing, they were transporting billions of bees in their hives, each holding ...

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  • It wasn’t always about gas. Besides, the manufactured ideology justifying an Israeli homeland by displacing the original inhabitants of thousands of years, remains. It just gets increasingly strident, maniacal and intolerant of debate and dissent.The gas issue started in 1999, when the ...

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  • The last time there was a revolution here, it was a misnomer. It was not even indigenous. It was an American transplant called ‘green’ because it concerned agriculture — even though it replaced healthy manure with chemical fertilizer that once constituted arsenals for mass killing ...

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  • Last week, after 70 years of financial subterfuge and economic exploitation which the South finally realized wasn’t going to change, a treaty was signed to create an alternative to the World Bank and IMF— the BRICS development bank, the acronym taken from the five countries that came ...

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  • Just several decades ago, restaurants, hotels and roadside eateries were banned from selling food during Ramadan until Iftar time. Prior to that, for decades, upper-crust hotels and restaurants were allowed to serve meals discreetly, and there were no elaborate spreads in deference to the month. So ...

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  • Some years ago, someone enjoying the status of holy cow, had a vision, which can be anything one wants to make of it. In ancient times, only prophets and seers had visions towards guiding people onto the right path. Later, visions came to schizophrenics, autocrats and corporations. The recent ...

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  • While politicians are at loggerheads to retain power, foreign opportunists happily mop up our resources depriving millions of their livelihoods. When the winners emerge – whichever political party or coalition it may be – one can only hope they will have acquired the sensitivities, and ...

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  • It was to be about small farmers and organic agriculture, and building communities, and peace. So, at the conference held by Dr Shahid Zia’s Lok Sanjh Foundation, one of the few pioneering NGOs focusing on organic farming and smallholders, one expected to hear more from them, their ...

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  • Once upon a time, until about a century ago in the west, and about 50 years ago in Pakistan, there was only one kind of farming. There was no traditional farming or modern farming, no monoculture or polyculture, no chemical agriculture or organic agriculture, no natural agriculture or ...

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  • As long as killers know they can get away with murder, they will commit it. That’s stating the obvious, but the obvious is often disregarded by officialdom.Reportage in the international media suggests that honour killing and blood-money payoffs are Muslim practices, but if it’s any ...

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  • Biology has so much to do with work and social life. Previously, when most of the world was a farm, days were spread out longer. People worked at an acceptable pace taking breaks whenever needed – after all, no amount of additional work makes crops grow faster. In the newly industrialized ...

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  • When you smell the insecticide in the air, it is already getting into your lungs. When you eat the foods that has the insecticides on it, it is getting into your stomach and destroying your cells. The same goes for food plants that absorb the insecticides through their root system.” — ...

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  • In 1971, Mohan Chakravarty, an Indian-American, and his employer, General Electric, applied for the patenting of a genetically-engineered “oil-eating” bacterium. He took genes from three kinds of bacteria and transplanted them into a fourth to do whatever he wanted it to do. The Patent ...

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  • Earlier this month, a People’s Tribunal on Land Rights was held in Hyderabad, presided over by Justice (retd) Wajiuddin Ahmed, and heavily attended by peasants and activists. Continued failure of governments to restore land to the landless, and trickery in token farmland distribution, was ...

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  • There’s a certain state in an otherwise corporate-controlled industrialized country, where a public corporation especially designed to distribute profits to all its citizens annually, does just that. That too without managers lining their own pockets and running it into the red, as commonly ...

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  • Pity countries can’t choose their neighbours. Most prefer those they have something in common with to get along. But all are stuck with geography. One such unlucky nation was Mexico. First it had a major chunk of its lands stolen by the US (one-third of present US territory was annexed from ...

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  • Once upon a time there was colonization. The earliest colonizers were all European feudals and kings (so we know where some of our habits come from). They came marauding our resource-rich countries because their own land area was much smaller, their agriculture less productive, and nothing grew ...

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