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Pakistan
According to an estimation/survey recently conducted by the National HIV Control Programme, there were approximately 133,299 HIV positive people in the country – a number that has grown exponentially in the last decades since the turn of the millennium. But more problematic than the number of HIV positive people is the paltry number receiving treatment.
 
A much-admired Canadian cousin of mine, Khan Zia, has written to inform me of research that finds Pakistan among the most “racially tolerant” societies in the world: “About 6.5 per cent of Pakistanis said they would not like to have a neighbour from a different race. In India, on the other hand, more than 40 per cent of people would apparently not like it” (Max Fisher, The Washington Post, May 15, 2013).
 
In this conflicted world, becoming a ‘first’ in anything can be equally negative or positive. Pakistan has several entries on both sides of the column, yet the subject here, happily, falls into the latter category. It seems that Pakistan’s parliament has become the first in South Asia to open a day care centre on its premises to allow female parliamentarians to continue with their work while having access to facilities where their infants can be looked after. Set up in Parliament House in collaboration with Unicef, the centre has been allotted two rooms on the third floor of the building. It was inaugurated by the speaker of the National Assembly, Ayaz Sadiq, on Thursday, and meets a long-standing, legitimate demand put forth by women members of the National Assembly and the Senate.
 
Uzair Baloch’s long and complicated saga seems to be finally coming to a close.
 
They constitute, perhaps, the most abused section of society — certainly the most vulnerable. To most they are an ubiquitous yet invisible part of the urban landscape. Their suffering is writ large on their faces, until brutish experience hardens their features into a carapace. This is the fate of the uncounted thousands of children living and working on streets across the country. Some have been abandoned by their families because of abject poverty. Others are runaways, escaping violence and abuse. Many are still connected with persons they call family, but must help in eking out a living through begging, manual labour or selling flummeries. Once on the street, they are almost certain to be subjected to further abuse, driven by virtue of their young age to the very bottom of the pyramid of power.  
 
There were many who believed the army would never confront the militants in North Waziristan. Too many strategic assets were located there, they said. And the cost of appeasing the West by dismantling the militants’ infrastructure would be too high. But the predictions were wrong. Eventually — after years of hesitation — the army did move in. It’s easy to forget now that back in 2007 it was not uncommon to hear Peshawarites say they were moving their children out of the city for fear that the state could not provide sufficient security. And even if many of those parents still worry today about the risk of their offspring being kidnapped, there can be little doubt that the situation is vastly improved.
 
For the misinformed critic, Malala Yousafzai is an embarrassment to Pakistan. Indeed, she has been ever since she found herself at the wrong end of the barrel of a Taliban gun. For in Pakistan, image is everything and everything counts in large amount.
 

In the long war against militancy and the fight against extremism, there have been recurring questions about sustained institutional responses.

 

Most of the discussion about CPEC has so far focused on financing and future indebtedness but the success of this initiative lies in successful interaction between investment, institutions and policy.

 
Pakistan will regain its lost freedom only when the terrorism ordeal is over. Over the years it has become abundantly clear that this is not just a conventional war but also an ideological one which can be traced to a pointed lack of religious awareness. There is also something amiss about how our great faith is being taught mainly in the religious seminaries of the rural areas. This enables the terrorist outfits to recruit youth conveniently and transform them into their minions. My aim is to highlight this gap.
 


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spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
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India has accused the United Nations Security Council and the international community of tending to ignore the terrorists ravaging Afghanistan and their backers while these forces “have stood up against one of the biggest collective military efforts in the world.”
 
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Close Canada-India collaboration in health and wellness is a journey that commenced in 2015 in Toronto, when the first major health summit was held, and ended in March 2017 in New Delhi.
 
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With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
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The death of deputy superintendent Mohammed Ayub Pandith at the hands of a lynch mob highlights the dangers to the police in Kashmir today, whether from gun-wielding militants or locals disgruntled with the Indian State.
 
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Sher Bahadur Deuba has been elected Prime Minister of Nepal at an especially fragile time in the life of the 11-year-old Himalayan republic.
 
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The rapid rise of Mohammed bin Salman, from one among many princes in the al-Saud royal family to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia within a span of two years, is an unprecedented development in the history of the Kingdom.
 
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A United States fighter downed a Syrian military aircraft for the first time when it bombed a Syrian rebel faction backed by Washington.
 
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Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
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  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
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  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
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Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
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Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
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