Archive for November, 2007

The Book Fair

Expo Centre’s been hosting quite a few exhibitions on a regular basis. One of them is a book fair. This is the third year of this fair and none of us are complaining. I have been attending it since it started out (not very long ago). The first year, there was a tangible hype, everybody wanted to buy books. Some sellers especially Liberty and Oxford offered thin slivers of discount. Other stalls had more to offer, yet since their popularity hadn’t soared they failed to carve a niche. Media also covered it extensively.
The second year too, it got bigger. Many stalls adorned children’s books. Activities were planned for their young readers, food courts got bigger. More book stalls attracted more people. This year, it’s been pleasant and safe. Like the previous years this year too, there were children nagging their parents to buy books, nerdy-looking people engrossed in searching title after title and housewives browsing through coffee table books.
All of that is great but my area of concern is the pricing. Good books (in terms of a jacket, smartly bound, visible print) were priced from 400 and above at Liberty. Which is insane. A book worth six hundred rupees at Liberty Books cost 300 rupees at Paramount. This forced me to think about what’s the standard pricing poilcy and who can afford to buy these books? Hardbound books world over are comparitively expensive. But 2000 rupees for a book on photography is way too much money for a student to spare. I wish these book sellers set realistic profit margins so that the rest of us can take advantage of such bookfairs. What’s you take on this?
The fair will be continue till the fourth of December.

In other blogs: From Karachi: Cities for Cars or People?

The City Government is winning laurels from various communities in Karachi for the infrastructure development going on in the city, but a particular post on Pak Tea House analyzes the work from a Development Economics point of view. This school of thought believes that infrastructure building is not synonymous to progress and other factors such as concern for environment, change in attitudes, and freedom should be considered in formulating a strategy that has a more integrated approach to development.

Here are a few thought-provoking insights:

Recent efforts to ease Karachi’s traffic congestion, for instance, by building wider roads, flyovers, elevated expressways, and a much-talked about rail-based mass transit system are unlikely to ease traffic congestion in the long-run because these initiatives are de-linked from social and environmental land-use planning (particularly, housing development), and transport needs of the non-car owning majority.

Consider: While less than five percent of Karachi’s residents own cars (550,000 private vehicles out of a total vehicle population of 1.3 million in a city of 12+ million people, do the math!), city planning and development has been geared towards facilitating private car use at the expense of the needs of the poor.


Here comes the rain

I was just about to go to sleep, but I thought I might as well post an update on the weather before I do. My earlier wish of winter gracing the city may be granted soon by the looks of it, because the heavens have just stated to pour here in my part of Karachi. It’s been quite a steady down pour now for the last 10 minutes at least, and it seems to be getting heavier as I type.

Realities and Truth – a talk by Sufi Master Shaykh Fadhlallah Haeri

Realities and Truth, a talk by Sufi Master Shaykh Fadhlallah Haeri is being hosted at The Second Floor
This Thursday 29th of November 2007 At 7. Pm sharp.

Here are the details of the event.

Thanda Pani

Originally uploaded by Raja Islam

Tortured & Terrorized but not silenced – Munir A Malik speaks A Malik, most prominent lawyer from Karachi recently appeared after disappearing from scene for a while, most probably kidnapped by Intelligence agencies. He , unlike Kurd is quite soft spoken but that doesn’t mean his resolve is broken. We saw him appearing on media quite frequently after March 9. His respect elevated him to the president of Supreme Court Bar Association in 2006. He was also attacked by some unidentified (really ?) persons few months back. Here is the interview he gave to DAWN TV shared by TM.
[image :]

Driver Education Drive- Lesson 8: Let the others pass first

One thing that the drivers need to learn more than anything in Karachi is courtesy. If not because its ethical and civilized and all that, then to help themselves.

Here’s why:

The traffic at a round about or a non functioning signal is blocked and there isn’t a traffic policeman in sight. The four way bottleneck has resulted in chaos and every car is just trying to push through to make its own way out. While a few lucky vehicles are successful in zigzagging their way out of the mess, the traffic keeps building at the rear so that what probably started as one man’s impatience has snowballed into a major problem for a few hundred (and that is not an exaggeration).

That’s one way of going about of it but lots of Karachi drivers consider it the only way.

Mustafa Kamal refuses to be crowned

In a crowning ceremony organized by the All Pakistan Memon Federation, Mustafa Kamal refused to be adorned with the gold crown saying there was still a lot to be done to solve Karachi’s problems.

At the occasion, he also announced a number of new development projects:

He told the gathering that work on Rs 8 billion Greater Karachi Sewerage Plan is to start during the next 2 months for which all arrangements have been finalised where after city’s industries will be supplied 600mgd of treated water which will also be utilised for plantation.Kamal said SITE Ltd would start receiving 500mgd clean water within one year while Clifton is going to receive 6mgd water within 10 days. He stated that for the first time 300-year old seven islands of Karachi are being supplied tap water and work on this project has completed by 90 percent.

On December 31, he declared, a new gift of five flyovers would be given to Karachiites. The nazim pointed out that land has been acquired on Northern-bypass to shift showrooms outside Karachi while Memon Community would be given 100 acres of land for University.

Source: National News

A Civil Society event for Judiciary & Media

UPDATE 2: The Peace Initiative is Back ON as scheduled as Mir Ibrahim was able to negotiate a settlement with the authorities, please we must remember its a peaceful initiative and we are not in any way to physically agitate. Hope to see some of you there

UPDATE 1:Today’s Peace Initiative event by the citizens of Karachi has come under threat from the administration, the police have categorically said “We will come and smash everything and arrest everyone there”. While Geo which was helping orchestrate all this is saying that “this is far too much responsibility” we also don’t want to put people in harms way. That said the event is canceled – but the citizens are peacefully gathering at the press club at 7:30-9:00pm to stage a vigil and sit in, strictly no agitation and no slogans, to show our protest. Follow developments on my blog

Sindh Police Official Website

Sindh Police recently launched their official website. The look is decent & the information is useful. Almost all required information is there in different sections. There are some good guideline links & different Downloadable Forms as well. The website still lacks detail information & previous records. Links include Report Crime, Track Reported Crime, Budget Sheet, Crime Stats, Contacts.

While a website is just a small step in right direction, Sindh police is miles away from its own Mission statement & needs to work real hard to earn some respect. Ordinary man hardly knows anything about internet so the real progress needs to be on the ground. At the same time, there should be an increase in facilities to the poor low rank sepoy & officers. Recently police has been provided with new patrolling units which is good & should be followed by huge increase in salaries & severe punishment policy on public complains.

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