Zahrah Nasir

  • TIt is almost bizarre how quickly over Rs 12 billion worth of work has worn out so completely and begun falling to pieces. This being Pakistan, however, few bother to pay attention to the dangerous and blatant shortcomings of corrupt contractors repeatedly getting away with seriously sub-standard ...

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  • TTimes are tough and getting tougher. Reasons to smile, let alone laugh out loud, are rarer by the day. Let’s face it- there are times when things are so astonishingly out of ‘true’ that if you don’t laugh, you’ll only make yourself ill with rage. Seeing the funny side ...

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  • TThe atmosphere, thick and heavy with foreboding, vibrates to the well oiled thrumming of the generators of the rich who, as the decade long civil war simmers, hide away in palatial mansions. From these archetypes of crass taste, they will emerge every day to splurge on designer labels and imported ...

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  • TBeing female in this part of the world – or in any other part of the world for that matter – has never been easy but, for many years, educated Pakistani women had, in many ways, an easier time of it than their sisters in, for example, some African nations where women, especially those ...

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  • TThe world outside the window is pristine blue-white and silent as the snow, it began falling in earnest in the morning, drifts slowly and thickly down: All main roads in the Galiat, obviously link-roads too, are well and truly closed and guests are, I am told, stranded in the large hotel up the ...

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  • TThere is something, something toxic, in the very air we breathe these days and I am not referring to atmospheric pollution although, in a way, it could be classified as such.The nation is despondent, increasingly so: Smiles are rarer than ever before and an all pervasive tenseness, an outright fear ...

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  • TWhat on earth is the government playing at now? Load shedding, across the Punjab at least, has doubled over recent days and, in the middle of winter with its short day light hours, life is increasingly miserable for the majority with, for most, the issue of low gas pressure or no gas at all, adding ...

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  • TAs the country goes increasingly rapidly to the rabid dogs who appear set on tearing us apart at the always fragile seams, it also appears – in equal measure – that there is very little actual humanity left in the humans who are labeled, proudly or otherwise, ...

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  • TPeople often ask how on earth do I manage to cope with the ‘stress’ of being snowbound, or otherwise isolated in my mountain home, during the winter months so, for the curious, this is the answer:Winter at 6,000 ft in the Lower Himalayas is, in many respects, a battle of wills – ...

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  • TThe winding down of the foreign ‘occupation’ of Afghanistan is in its ‘death throes’ and it is clearly obvious that there have been very little, if any, actual improvements in the life of ‘ordinary’ Afghans and equally obvious that the country is teetering on the ...

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  • TWhen, and if, one pays full attention to the news and to the daily going’s on of life around, it comes as an insulting ‘slap in the face’ to witness the begging bowl attitude in action.This, though, is hardly surprising given the example of successive governments, plus, a sad ...

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  • TThe large, oblong, solid wood table, is littered with the detritus of various breakfasts strung out over the past few hours as people have dropped in and out of a friend’s comfortable room where conversational chaos competes with the gas fire for heat. No one, it appears, agrees on anything ...

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  • TAs President Hamid Karzai continues to play ‘Ducks and Drakes’ with the Americans over our northern border, continually putting off making a decision as to whether or not these foreign forces of occupation and exploitation should stay on, in a ‘reduced roll’ it is claimed, ...

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  • TDecember in the mountains is usually a month of shivering beneath cloudy, grey skies bearing the promise of snow with the natural world already having gone in to hibernation until spring: When spring decides to arrive as the seasons are increasingly topsy-turvy and never more so than right now.The ...

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  • TThey are everywhere and nowhere: Going about their filthy business mostly unseen, completely disregarded and expect little – perhaps a cuff on the ear – from the extremely few people who do, for one reason or another, happen to notice their existence. And, sadly, to the vast majority of ...

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  • TThe mountains are beautiful at this time of year: Horse chestnut leaves tinted orange, yellow, crimson, drifting, slowly until caught and danced by a whisper of chill, even in the brilliant sunshine, breeze. The bucolic scene enhanced by bunches of harvested grass laid out to dry on house roofs or ...

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  • TIt is impossible to understand why the sick, ‘greed mindset’ of not simply the money-minded idiots of Murree Cantonment Board and destructive Union Councils throughout the area but also of the incumbent Prime Minister and his legions of ‘relatives’ and ...

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  • TMany people may have watched movies – some of them absolutely terrifying – of people surviving in the wake of some kind of global holocaust and, the way the world is heading. The inevitability of such scenarios get more real by the day. There is a growing movement of what are termed ...

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  • TA world without women is, from whichever angle you chose to look at it, a complete impossibility as – and this is not a ‘Women’s Liberation’ rant – if one is brave enough to examine life through the lens of a microscope, it is apparent that it is women who do all the ...

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  • TSlavery is a thing of the dim and distant past’ people like to say and then, maybe, just ‘maybe’ they follow it up with ‘ But there are the haris of course’ as if this class of landless peasants are a sub-human species hardly worth a mention, let alone even a modicum ...

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  • TA snuffle and rustle in the dense, forest undergrowth send the children, 6 of them on their way to Primary School on a lightly populated mountainside in Rawat, Bhurban, screaming and running for the small school building as fast as their short legs and heavy book bags will allow: They know, all too ...

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  • TWith Eid-ul-Adha just a couple of days away, those who can afford it are dutifully meeting their religious obligations by doing the rounds of the animal bazaars that, as always, spring up all over the place at this time of year. While, those who cannot afford the luxury for, sadly, this is what it ...

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  • TThe advent of PTCL’s EVO stick revolutionized internet communication which, in this high-tech age, has become not only a life line for many but also a means of being able to work from home rather than expending unnecessary money, time and adding to environmental pollution by travelling to an ...

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  • TFood, or so it appears, is just about everyone’s favourite subject and extolling the virtues of preferred eating places seem to come up in almost every conversation, be these supposed to be business or otherwise orientated which, in a country where way over 58% of the population of 190 ...

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  • TBundled in to a room to be viciously stoned to bloody pulp is a horrifically shocking end to anyone’s life - and the fact that this happened, just a few days ago, to two on duty policemen as they followed up a lead, does not, in anyway and no matter anyone’s personal opinion of the ...

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  • TThe situation is grave in remote Alai valley where subsistence farmers, struggling to make ends meet at the best of times, are currently faced with an extremely bleak future indeed as, thanks to the arrival of a mysterious disease, their buffaloes are dying.Alai, it lies north and east of Battagram ...

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  • TThe depraved depths of societal sickness can be measured by many yardsticks - blatant selfishness and greed being signature hallmarks of an illness, which, ruthlessly encouraged by those profiteering from mindless consumerism, threatens to be terminal for the world as we know it and nowhere does ...

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  • TVerbalising grandiose ego trips is all par for the political course in this rapidly imploding country of ours. And as everyone is aware, the announcement of inspired ‘visions’ is best taken with the proverbial pinch of salt or, as in this case, greeted with gales of laughter such ...

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  • TThe clouds are in the habit of coming down to earth at this time of the year in the Murree Hills. Sometimes they swirl and writhe through dark forests dripping moisture; sometimes they simply appear to be static mounds of enveloping cotton wool hugging valleys and hollows, and through which ...

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  • TEid morning and, as happens every year, a seemingly never-ending procession of children arrive at the garden gate for their Eidi: Zooming in from all over this scattered mountain community, they demand and yes, actively and loudly demand, Eidi and, when handed the traditional miti and sweets I ...

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