"In the gloom of bombs and military operations and displacement and dehumanization, Malala was talking of schools and of children. And what a message that was to send across!"


Polio epidemic 


It appears two more polio cases have now been reported, one in Sindh and the other in Balochistan. This takes the total to 72 this year, with 53 cases from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Sindh, six from Balochistan and five from the Punjab.

The report said a 17-month-old girl had become the fourth polio victim in Karachi this year. The remaining four victims in the province included two from Hyderabad and one each from Jamshoro and Larkana districts. Sindh had recorded only one case last year, officials said. Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 per cent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days.

The Emergency Operation Centre official said they had planned to conduct aggressive campaigns from next month to June 2020, aiming to eradicate polio from the environment.

Pakistan is one of the three countries where this disease still exists. The other two are Afghanistan and Nigeria. One hopes that it will be eradicated in the country soon.

Ejaz Ali,


Malala’s Nobel


Once, we all had eyes set on the Nobel committee but it was given to an organization working against the use of chemical weapons. A friend, finding something to cheer in that day of disappointment, wrote me a text message: “May be this is a good sign that to be given NPP to someone other than Malala, you have to be a big organization with thousands of people involved and next year they will have to give it to her.” I replied, “hopefully.” And next year, there it was! With that, there was the first victory of a ray of light against a protracted reign of darkness.

Malala then was a symbol, an image but also a force and a will which did greater than anyone ever did to galvanize global attention towards the periphery. She also was an alternative to the dominant narrative of either complicity or lack of agency. She was the image of resistance to a ruthless onslaught of darkness. She contrasted all the narratives of War on Terror with a human face. And she was a story in mindless rumbling and churning out of statistics. And what a beautiful story she was.

In the gloom of bombs and military operations and displacement and dehumanization, she was talking of schools and of children. And what a message that was to send across and what a fierce way of a gentle pursuit that was. Of course I was biased. After all, she was talking of the same geography that I was part of. The landscapes of her story were the legends which give a sense of home to me. In her, NPP was not only the triumph of perseverance and resistance over darkness and cruelty, it also was the language of universal justice speaking for my home and speaking for her home. In her, Nobel prize was the vindication to every drop of blood spelt against the barbarians who had destroyed our home.

I celebrated then. I celebrate it every year; Malala’s story of being little in years but giant in spirit. It was the day when her smile and her pen mocked to death the sadism and guns of barbarians.

Kamil Jamal,


Sunday Bazaar


While the public is facing the high cost of living due to inflation and rupee devaluation, a single judge commission imposed a ban on a Sunday Bazaar that was set up on Korangi Creek Road within the Malir River bed.

The area, which was found to be under threat of floods, showed no signs of water during the recent rains and was perfectly safe for holding a bazaar that was not housed in permanent structures but on shamianas and folding tables.

A large number of people from DHA and nearby localities did their weekly shopping there, while the bazar offered a source of income to hundreds of vendors and others. In the light of spiralling prices, the chief minister should consider revival of this bazaar.

Taimur Khan,


Brutal teacher


It is heart-wrenching that a student in Lahore was murdered by his teacher. The teacher brutally beat the boy for not bringing a book to class. He ended up by bashing the student’s head against a wall which proved to be fatal.

If this is how our youth are to be treated in educational institutions, then I am afraid it is the country that will suffer.

The Punjab government should ensure that this psychopath posing as a teacher pays for his unpardonable crime and the institution that hired him is also put in the dock. One also fervently prays that such unspeakable acts are never repeated.

Zaheer Shah,


Pension cut


A renowned bank has exercised a 50 per cent cut on the pension of its retrenched employees from March this year in violation of the Supreme Court decision. The apex court in 2018 fixed a monthly pension of Rs8,000 with a five percent increase for all those employees who got retrenchment letters from UBL in the year 1997 under a “Mandatory Separation Scheme.”

The decision by the bank management has hit more than 3,800 pensioners of the bank all over the country. The employees’ association, a mouthpiece of dismissed workers, vowed to challenge the decision in the top court and initiate a countrywide protest against the management. They also appealed the government to intervene and save the poor UBL pensioners from financial genocide.

Maryam S Khan,