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So what the heck is it? Are we just paranoid or are they really out to get us? They don’t let you sleep, work or even die in peace – is it a giant conspiracy, general incompetence or just plain dumb series of unfortunate events that dog Pakistan and her citizens every day? You decide. By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom




he electricity just came back on. Its 1:00 AM and I am wide awake.


It’s usually a major struggle catching up on my sleep during the night hours what with one hour on, one hour off power conservation strategy – the load shedding schedule is quite crazy – WAPDA/LESCO shuts off the electricity at mid-night, then 2:00 AM, and then 4:00 AM and after that it’s anybody’s guess, I am too exhausted by then and usually doze off right before the dawn prayers! In the morning, it’s a struggle getting to work on time – most weekends I just catch up on my lost sleep.


I have also become quite adept at killing mosquitoes with my bare hands not to mention the useless corporate soft skill that I am slowly acquiring on the job (without any special training – thank you very much)– killing flies literally with any weapon at hand which is usually my writing pad every Tuesday.


Today I killed only one – four got away. (The flies are occupational hazard – every Tuesday we have a meeting scheduled with our biggest vendor at his factory. Unfortunately, because they have decided to remove the air conditioning from their small conference room – the flies love the warm, humid air and decide to join us without fail every week).


The stress of dealing with the flies, the heat, the thirst and the vendor usually means I like to drop by at Readings every Tuesday evening just to unwind. It also means that I end up buying a huge pile of expensive books that I never find the time to read and finish.


Unfortunately, today the meeting ran late. I ended up at Readings at around 9:15 PM – no, it was just a passing visit. I only spent twenty minutes there. By the time, I got home around 10 PM laden with books, including one each for my nephew and niece, they had gone to sleep.


I didn’t even get a chance to watch any interesting show today – (Gossip Girl or Once Upon a time for example) …my brother channel surfed instead. We ended up looking at some disturbing news footage – what with Javed Chaudhry, Jasmine Khan and Mehr Bukhari doing their bit to add to the general drama…it was just another day in Pakistan.


Yes, I read a news article today by LA Times that President Zardari was snubbed by President Obama over the NATO supply route…(well, apparently Pakistan was not on the list of nations that were thanked for their cooperation with USA/NATO for their “war on terror”) and Cyril Almeida of Dawn News also had a point that Pakistan is her  own worst enemy. I also ended up looking for the origin of the quote, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you,” yes, apparently, it was Mulder who said that in one of the X-files episodes, or words to that effect.


So what the heck is it? Are we just paranoid or are they really out to get us? They don’t let you sleep or work or have fun or even die in peace – is it a giant conspiracy, general incompetence or just plain dumb series of unfortunate events that dog Pakistan and her citizens every day? You decide.


Me…I am going to read until I can fall asleep. As they say, ‘Tomorrow is another day’ – or rather work day!

Oh yes –  one more thing, thank God for UPS! 😀





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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.


  1. more reading?

    The Big Bad Wolf
    From the Newspaper | Cyril Almeida | 3 days ago

    LOOK away now if a certain kind of green and white and crescent and star flows through your veins.

    Right, for those with the stomach, let’s try and take on some myths.

    For a decade, we’ve been told that the US is the Big Bad Wolf. Don’t take your eyes off her, she’ll tear you to pieces and gobble up your young.

    The US wants to break Pakistan. The US wants to invade Pakistan. The US wants to steal Pakistan’s nukes. The US wants to undermine Muslim Pakistan.

    And through it all, Pakistan has been the ultimate almost-victim: vulnerable and weak but in the final analysis saved from the very worst machinations of the outside world by the self-appointed custodians of the national interest.

    Since 9/11, that’s essentially been the public narrative. The US has looked for ways to corner Pakistan and Pakistan has wriggled away each time before the death grip could be applied.

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  2. Eleven killed in Karachi following firing on political rally
    DawnNews | Agencies | 9 hours ago

    KARACHI: At least eleven people were killed and more than 30 people wounded as violence erupted in Karachi after unidentified armed assailants opened fire at a political rally in the provincial capital on Tuesday, DawnNews reported.

    The rally was organised by members and workers of Awami Tehrik Party, a small nationalist group, backed by the banned People’s Amn Committee and several other parties, in protest of the proposed Mohajir province and the recent operation in Lyari.

    The ‘Muhabat-e-Sindh’ (Love of Sindh) rally was also attended by a large number of women.

    After the procession started off from Lyari, unknown armed miscreants opened fire when it reached the areas of Nawa Lane, Pan Mandi and Juna Market.

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  3. NATO summit: Obama’s Pakistan gamble falls flat
    The White House fails to reach a deal on supply routes to Afghanistan. The summit does produce a formal agreement on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    By David S. Cloud and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    May 21, 2012, 11:10 p.m.
    CHICAGO — When the White House sent a last-minute invitation for Asif Ali Zardari to attend the two-day NATO summit, they were taking a highly public gamble. Would sharing the spotlight with President Obama and other global leaders induce the Pakistani president to allow vital supplies to reach alliance troops fighting in Afghanistan?

    But long before the summit ended Monday, the answer was clear: No deal.

    Zardari’s refusal to reopen the supply routes left a diplomatic blot on a summit that NATO sought to cast as the beginning of the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. The Chicago gathering did produce a formal agreement by the alliance to hand over lead responsibility for security to Afghan forces by mid-2013, and pull out nearly all U.S. and other NATO troops by the end of 2014 even if the Taliban-led insurgency remains undiminished.,0,2278946.story

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  4. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. — Mulder

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  5. Yes, flies are quite fast – they see you in slow motion no matter how fast you move so killing them takes quite a knack!

    More reading on the anatomy of flies’ eyes?

    House Fly Eyes

    House fly eyes are compound organs that are comprised of thousands of individual lenses. Compound eyes are capable of detecting both the polarization of light and color spectrums unseen by humans.

    House fly eyes can recognize even the slightest movements in a full, 360-degree spectrum. This allows the fly to see a far wider range, as well as detect and react to movement at a quicker pace than species with simple eyes. This is the reason that it is extremely difficult to swat a housefly. One tactic that may prove successful is to swat at the fly simultaneously with two objects: this confuses the receptors of the housefly.

    Houseflies are meticulous in their grooming, particularly around their eyes. These flies use their forelegs to remove any material that has come into contact with the eyes.

    Compound eyes

    Anatomy of the compound eye of an insect
    Arthropods such as this Calliphora vomitoria fly have compound eyes

    A compound eye may consist of thousands of individual photoreceptor units or ommatidia (ommatidium, singular). The image perceived is a combination of inputs from the numerous ommatidia (individual “eye units”), which are located on a convex surface, thus pointing in slightly different directions. Compared with simple eyes, compound eyes possess a very large view angle, and can detect fast movement and, in some cases, the polarisation of light.[22]

    The eye of the fly – just one of many inspiring biomodels for nanotechnology
    (Nanowerk Spotlight) Looking at Nature as a successful design lab with millions of years of research experience, it is quite surprising that scientists haven’t tried harder to copy some of Nature’s more successful and impressive design blueprint. The list of actual commercialized biodesign-inspired products is very short. The most famous is Velcro, the hook-loop fastener that was invented in 1945 by Swiss engineer, George de Mestral.

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  6. ‘Zardari’s US visit brought disgrace to Pak’
    Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 14:23

    Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Chicago to attend the two-day NATO summit has brought nothing but disgrace to the nation.

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  7. What the NATO Summit achieved
    2 hours ago

    The Pakistanis came, they didn’t quite conquer, and now they’re leaving. At the end of the day, the NATO Summit in Chicago produced no news, and yet there was much to report.

    With hundreds of media personnel camped at the massive media centre at McCormick Place, the venue of the summit, the subject of the day remained Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reporters tried to work out whether Pakistan would announce the re-opening of the supply routes, an issue that has been raised in nearly every press conference that took place during the summit.

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  8. US Senate panel cuts aid to Pakistan by more than half

    Washington: Sounding a fresh warning to Pakistan, a key Senate panel has voted to slash American assistance to Islamabad by more than half, approving only USD 1 billion in aid for fiscal 2013 and warned of further cuts unless it reopens NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

    The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which passes the budget for the State Department, yesterday approved only USD 1 billion in assistance to Pakistan, slashing nearly USD 900 million from the aid that the country had been due to receive this year and next.

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  9. Rs100 billion road infrastructure damaged due to Nato supply route
    By: Our Staff Reporter | May 23, 2012

    ISLAMABAD – National Highway Authority (NHA) on Tuesday informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the NATO supply route to Afghanistan via Pakistan has damaged the road infrastructure worth Rs 100 billion in the country during last 10 years.

    They further informed the PAC that Pakistan has not received anything in this regard from NATO containers during last 10 years but now the Ministry of Communications had proposed levying charges from NATO trucks and containers passing through Pakistan to Afghanistan in future.

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  10. US missiles ‘kill four in Pakistan’

    Published: 23/05/2012 at 04:48 PM
    Online news: Asia

    US missiles killed four militants in a Taliban stronghold of Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said, amid increasing strains with the West over a six-month blockade on NATO supplies into Afghanistan.

    A drone targeted a compound near Miranshah, the main town of the tribal district where Pakistan has resisted US pressure to launch a sweeping offensive against militants fighting US troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    “The drone fired two missiles on a house in the Tabai area near Miranshah,” one of the security officials told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, adding that four militants were killed.

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  11. US-Pakistan thaw swiftly becomes debacle
    AFP | 7 hours ago

    WASHINGTON: A summit meant to symbolize a thaw between the United States and Pakistan has only worsened the bad blood, with the troubled relationship casting a pall over Nato plans on Afghanistan.

    The Western alliance at the last minute invited President Asif Ali Zardari to a summit in Chicago on the future of Afghanistan, with officials predicting a deal with Pakistan on reopening supply routes vital for US and allied troops.

    But no deal materialised, in an apparent dispute over how much to pay Pakistan. Zardari left Chicago jilted after President Barack Obama only agreed to see him in passing, while US officials increasingly voiced exasperation on finding a way forward with Pakistan.

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  12. Nato, Taliban take war to Twitter
    Sajjad Haider | 16 mins ago

    After more than a decade of fierce fighting in Afghanistan, the Nato-led Isaf force has taken its war with the Taliban to an entirely different battleground.

    On Tuesday, the International Security Assistance Force’s press office got into another war of words with Abdulqahar Balkhi (@abalkhi) — a person known to tweet Taliban’s messages. Unlike the bloody war on the ground, the argument contested claims of casualties and death tolls.

    Balkhi claimed Tuesday that four Nato soldiers had been killed by an explosive device earlier in the day. He tweeted: “IED at 8 am today obliterates ISAF tank in Gerishk district (Helmand). All 4 invaders onboard killed.”

    To which @Isafmedia, the Isaf’s press office, responded: “ISAF reporting refutes your fatality claim here, and others you make today.”

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  13. Timeline: History of US-Pakistan relations
    DAWN.COM | 12th May, 2012

    United States of America remains one of the first countries to have established diplomatic ties with Pakistan. Although the relationship dates back to October 20, 1947, it can be extrapolated that the relations have been based strictly on military and economic support.

    During the initial years of Pakistan, the country had the options of building allegiance with Soviet Union or United States, however, Pakistan opted for the latter.

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  14. The Afghanistan endgame
    Ikram Sehgal
    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Trying to muddle way out of another unpopular war and loath to concede defeat, US and NATO have been racing against time to build an Afghan army able to fend for itself after 130,000 US and ISAF troops pull out in 2014. The final transition phase, involving the handing over of responsibility for provinces and districts to Afghan authorities, will start from “mid-2013,” Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. A number of areas and towns have already been handed over since the transition started a year ago. Incidents of Afghan soldiers turning on Nato troops cause apprehension of increased Taliban infiltration of the Afghan police and army.

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  15. Terms of re-engagement
    Editorial By Najam Sethi

    In principle, the civil-military leadership of Pakistan has decided to re-engage with America by restoring the NATO pipeline and attending the Afghanistan moot in Chicago. This is good news. But it is extraordinary how the recent public debate in Pakistan has revolved around questions like “what’s in it for us monetarily” and “drones must stop because they violate our sovereignty”. Neither position was taken by the media and public during the seven years of the US-Pakistan relationship from 2001-2008 when Pakistan was ruled by the military establishment under General Pervez Musharraf or from 2008-2010 when the civilians under President Asif Zardari were supposedly in charge. Clearly, if drones strikes were kosher then, why not now?

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  16. What we should be talking about
    By Sehar Tariq
    Published: May 24, 2012

    Economic rationality does not strike a chord with a public raised on a steady diet of emotional irrationality disguised in the garb of national security imperatives. In the weeks to come, Nato trucks will start rolling through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Dollars will roll into the coffers of the Pakistani exchequer and the Pakistani public will, once again, lambast the civilian government for giving in to American pressure and sacrificing national honour at the altar of the mighty dollar.

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  17. The chance we did not miss
    By Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani
    Published: May 25, 2012

    How things have changed between the US and Pakistan? Only a year ago, if someone like David Ignatius, a reputed opinion-maker on the American strategic circuit, had admonished us, we would all have scrambled to the nearest bomb shelter. When he did so on the 17th of May, through the good offices of The Washington Post, no one here seems to have noticed. He argues, rather ingeniously, that Pakistan failed to exploit Nato’s presence in the region to clobber its tribal areas into the mainstream; and thus missed the chance of a lifetime. Since the thesis has failed to cause any rumpus in our country, prudence demands that it should be ignored. Some of us have the impudence not to let go.

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  18. Will Dr Afridi get his day in court?
    By Fasi Zaka
    Published: May 24, 2012

    Prior to the killing of Osama bin Laden I would have told you that anyone responsible in bringing him down would be an unequivocal hero to the world. Trust Dr Shakil Afridi to make that difficult.

    The doctor is back in the news because of the prison sentence of 33 years given to him by the assistant political agent of Khyber Agency for collaborating with the CIA. One would imagine that Pakistan would be happy that a terrorist responsible for the deaths of many Pakistanis and people in general was resting deep with the fishes. But no, our problem was the US incursion of May 2. The calm of having a dangerous terrorist removed never took place because the paranoid feared repeats of the brazen display of US capabilities which shamed the hidden soldiers in our citizens.

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  19. Chicago’s scorecard
    By Tariq Fatemi
    Published: May 29, 2012

    With the much-trumpeted Nato Summit in Chicago coming to an end, it is time to tally the scorecard for the major participants. This being an election year, the Summit had a domestic agenda apart from its foreign policy objectives. US President Barack Obama was largely successful in reassuring his unhappy voters that his promise to disengage militarily from Afghanistan was “irreversible”. Earlier, he had secured a major victory, convincing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to agree to their bilateral strategic agreement that will provide the US with the legal framework to retain control over Afghanistan’s many military facilities.

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  20. Wasting waste
    By Zahrah Nasir
    Published: May 29, 2012

    Wasting resources is a ‘feat’ in which Pakistanis excel in a myriad of ways but surely, one of the biggest, most criminal wastes ever is that of…yes….waste itself!

    The amount of solid waste generated throughout the country on a daily basis is astronomical, certainly running into thousands, maybe even millions of tonnes. Most of this gunk is simply dumped in any convenient place by those who generate it. In the rare event of it being collected by the authorities, it is hauled away to dumping grounds and, despite the toxic fumes thus generated, burnt without any thought of societal or environmental consequences.

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  21. I am glad someone from Pakistan is at least putting the record straight why Pakistan has put Dr. Afridi on trial…(I got tired of reading about the world press’s confusion and US government’s outrage on the subject…). They didn’t seem to get the point that Pakistan has no problem with OBL getting caught. The problem is our guy was caught spying in his native country for another country (even if it was a friend and an ally).

    XYZ of Cafe Pyala – good job!

    Friday, May 25, 2012
    The Case of Shakil Afridi
    The hue and cry over the 33-year sentence handed down to Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who may have aided the CIA in tracking down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad is partly correct. Certainly, the fact that he was tried under the archaic Frontier Crimes Regulations, in secret, and without the chance to defend himself through a lawyer, makes the whole process highly suspect and against the basic principles of a fair trial. Valid questions have also been raised about the hollowness of some of the charges brought against him, including, apparently, ‘waging war against Pakistan’.

    However, some of the apoplectic reaction from members of civil society, which has condemned Dr Afridi being tried at all, is thoroughly misplaced. Some believe he did a great thing by helping rid Pakistan of the world’s most dangerous terrorist and so should be thanked or awarded rather than prosecuted. Others have drawn comparisons between his swift trial and conviction and the lack of effective prosecution of real terrorists. Even journalist Najam Sethi, in his programme yesterday, questioned how what Dr Afridi did was any different from the Pakistani state’s collaboration with the CIA in going after Al Qaeda’s militants and stated that the Americans, after all, are Pakistan’s professed strategic allies. All of these are false premises.

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  22. Economic Survey 2011-12: Govt scores perfect 0
    Khalid Mustafa
    Friday, June 01, 2012

    ISLAMABAD: Exposing the government’s dismal economic performance, Pakistan missed all the economic targets set for the ongoing financial year 2011-12, reveals the Economic Survey for 2011-12. The survey was released on Thursday by Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh.

    The survey, mirroring the economic realities of the country, did not mention the adverse impact of the ongoing war against terrorism on the economy during this fiscal year. The exact poverty figures were missing as well.

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  23. Economic Survey 2011-12: Most targets missed; fiscal deficit widens to 4.3pc
    From the Newspaper | Khaleeq Kiani | 5 hours ago

    ISLAMABAD, May 31: The fiscal year that is about to end was a bad one. This is the unsurprising gist of the Economic Survey 2011-12.

    The official data only confirmed the already existing general perception that the current financial year was bad economically because most targets set last year were not met and key challenges remained just that — key challenges.

    The only good news seemed to be that the growth in most sectors was an improvement on the figures of the previous fiscal year.

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  24. Innocent’ fraud
    From the Newspaper | Sakib Sherani | 11 hours ago

    THE fifth consecutive budget of this government, to be presented to parliament later today, is more than likely to be yet another timid fiscal policy statement.

    Not unlike the previous three budgets under the current finance minister that have been hobbled by serious policy drift and reform inertia, this year’s budget speech will also be a statement of intent to achieve lofty goals that have completely eluded this government for the past several years, including reforming the power sector and containing the fiscal deficit.

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  25. Grasping the nettle
    From the Newspaper | Salim Raza | 11 hours ago

    FAMILIAR trends have tied Pakistan’s economy into a low-growth continuum. To engineer a change, the government will have to first show its policy hand and then progressively demonstrate the capacity to implement.

    We need a blueprint setting out how, for example, fiscal and current account deficits will begin to be harnessed; constraints imposed by insufficient power provision will be removed steadily; a cushion to our declining foreign currency reserves will be provided; and debt servicing costs will be controlled.

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  26. The real economy
    From the Newspaper | Aasim Sajjad Akhtar | 11 hours ago

    HIS voice is likely to be drowned out by the (symbolic) protests of the opposition, but the federal minister for finance will nevertheless present the budget today in the National Assembly.

    Much has been made of the fact that this elected government will be the first of its kind to have completed the (highly overrated) budget formalities five times. I concur with those that emphasise the political significance of this exercise. Its economic significance is much less clear.

    The story is a familiar one — Pakistan’s macroeconomic situation is dire, the chief executive believes in printing currency for fun and there is no respite on the horizon. When such circumstances become the norm rather than the exception, the budget scarcely matters; or at the very least, its significance lies in how well those putting it together can dress up the old as new.

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  27. Engage or punish?
    From the Newspaper | Cyril Almeida | 27th May, 2012

    THE thing about Pakistanis is that we’re too sure of our assumptions.

    The Americans need us to withdraw from Afghanistan. We’re convinced of it. So we act out.

    We fixate on an apology. Give us one, you’ve given Afghanistan two already, we say.

    We haggle over transit fees. You’ve held up our money in other areas, so we’ll make up the difference through the supply route, thank you very much, we think cleverly.

    We wallow in victimhood. All these people we’ve lost and damage we’ve sustained over the last decade, why doesn’t the world acknowledge our sacrifices, we rail.

    We chuck a hapless doctor in prison because it makes us look tough in front of the folks at home who thought May 2 made us look weak.

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  28. Energy crisis worse than terrorism: Shahbaz Sharif
    By: INP | 13 minutes ago |

    Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday said that the energy crisis could be overcome by ending circular debt.

    During a meeting with a delegation of teachers at Minar-e-Pakistan camp office, the Chief Minister said that education sector has severely suffered due to massive power outages. He said that energy crisis was worse than terrorism in the country.

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  29. Twin cities witness widespread protests

    ISLAMABAD, June 17: People in different parts of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Sunday took to the streets against prolonged power outages and unavailability of water in the sizzling heat.

    The protesters blocked roads and chanted slogans against the government for its failure to resolve the crisis.

    With temperature touching 43 degrees Celsius, power suspensions to over four hours at a stretch with a break of just one hour have put the residents in great troubles. The situation has also hit the business community, as hundreds of industrial units remained shut in the region.

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  30. Loadshedding, protests continue across Punjab
    By Web Desk
    Published: June 18, 2012

    KARACHI: Loadshedding and power protests continued in Punjab, with the electricity shortfall quoted at 8,000 megawatts and some areas reported to be without power supply for longer than eight hours at a stretch, Express News reported on Monday.

    Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has taken notice of the prolonged electricity outages and has summoned the petroleum minister.

    Authorities said in order to cope with the increasing shortfall of power supply, loadshedding had to be stretched to longer hours.

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