Showing posts from February, 2014


Ever wonder why you can't find a flat in most cities of Pakistan? With a young population and a large housing shortage, counted to be in millions, why are there no flats?
Cities are spreading into large sprawls building 2 storey houses, diligently following the planner's instruction to build 1+1 and no more. And these must be single family homes. Hence 1+1+1. 2 floors and 1 family. The Planner knows best!
When you ask them they say they are planning an open suburb which to them is the pinnacle of human achievement.
Of course no suburb is complete without wide avenues, underpasses and bypasses to allow 'cruising' lie in Route 66, James Dean and all. That is the image the Planner has in mind.
They also maintain that we are rural people and like to hug the ground and will not live in flats. Needless to say our weather too is flat unfriendly. Of course our culture is “Kothi” in a suburb.
They overlook that people in our old walled cities have for centuries lived in apartments a…

A Policy Dinner

There is a lot of agreement that education is the way forward. Oh yes educate them the more you can the better. Give them skills. Give them education. Love it.

Here I am sitting at dinner with donors and the rich industrialists --an interesting combination. So well meaning. So comfortable with each other. So much agreement. They have all the answers. If only they were given a free rein all would be good.

So the donor says we need more taxes and the rich people all say oh yes, but the fault is the middle class undocumented sector. Yes if only those dirty people who work hard could be forced to pay. Yes the ones with all the advantages and the SROs are already heavily taxed. Yes the SROs are a problem but we will have to phase them out slowly. They all nod.

The conversation moves to trade with India. Yes we must but then you know there is protection on their side. So what should we do? Imagine if there free trade and no borders much like European Union. What if we could reverse Partiti…