Work Ethics

Published in Dawn on February 5 2017

THE discourse on labour in Pakistan is dominated by the terms and conditions of employment and other indicators such as the labour participation rate and the status of employment. Labour productivity, a crucial measure of economic performance and one of the key indicators of the labour market, receives scant attention and is yet to be reported by the Federal Bureau of Statistics in its yearly Labour Force Survey being published since 1963.

The factors that determine labour productivity include physical capital and technology, human development (health, education and skills of the labour force) and labour relations. Underpinning productivity is work ethics which is considered the key force behind economic growth and prosperity in any country. Though work ethics, or the lack of it, in our society is constantly commented on in the private sphere, the issue is seldom debated or researched by social scientists, economists and policymakers.

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Skilling Labour

Published in Dawn on July 26 2016

WORLD Youth Skills Day on July 15 went by quietly in Pakistan. There was no fresh resolve, nor any policy announcement by the government for ‘skills development to improve youth employment’ — the UN theme of the year — though it would have been an opportune moment to share recommendations of the task force on the national technical and vocational education and training policy the government formed in May 2014.

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Labour and Literary

Published in Dawn on July 13 2016

“Any situation in which some men prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence.” – Paulo Freire

You are probably one of those employers who find that no matter how many times you change your domestic worker, the woman you hire for household chores has a strong desire to educate her children. Of course, she herself, aged 16 to 50, is illiterate and comes from the rural hinterland of Sindh or southern Punjab. But deep down in her heart your maid knows the power of education.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Future Bodes Well for Women

Stars scribble in our eyes the frosty sagas

The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space   —   Hull Crane

If you believe in stars (even if your belief is like a faint sensation), if you believe that the wanderers of the cosmos influence your destiny on Earth then it’s time to rejoice. The year 1985 Juts been termed by astrologers as opportune for women.

The New Year began on a happy note when I came to know of the findings of a Pakistani astrologer. He says women are going to make re­markable headway in 1985. The progress will be made in the realm of education; knowledge will expand. The chart he has calculated, indi­cates that on March 20, 1985, Mercury will enter the Heaven’s at 9:17 PM and thence of will be the ruling Planet.

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The Flood Affected Population in Sindh Rebuilding Lives and Livelihoods: The Case for Structural Reforms

This research report was written for Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Karachi and was published in January, 2011.

Pakistan’s devastating floods caused by extraordinary rainfall in July-Sept 2010 affected over 20 million people, causing 1,985 deaths and injuries to 2,946 people. The floods wreaked havoc, washed away crops and rural settlements, flooded towns and urban centres, damaged roads, bridges and irrigation canals, schools, hospitals and all social and physical infrastructures. The disaster led to unprecedented displacement of 1,550,000 people from flooded areas to dry places, mostly nearer homes and to urban centres in the home districts. A large number of people from the affected districts in Sindh, took refuge in the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad. The families who had resources, assets and support systems in dry districts cities stayed with their relatives and friends. The majority of the IDPs who lost their abodes, meagre assets and means of livelihoods had to take refuge in shelters and makeshift camps put up by the provincial governments, NGOs and international humanitarian agencies. The displaced persons in the camps overwhelmingly belonged to the lowest stratum of society.

In addition to relief work, PILER undertook a profiling and livelihood needs assessment survey to gauge socio-economic indicators and the livelihood status of the IDPs prior to the floods and get an idea of their future plans and aspirations. The objectives were to share the findings with relevant stakeholders (i.e. state, civil society, resource institutes) for possible linkages that would facilitate the IDPs in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase and provide a basis to the PILER advocacy inputs towards a rehabilitation plan that commits to upgrading the living and work conditions of the IDPs and facilitate their access to fundamental rights and citizenship based entitlements.

Click the link below to view the full report:

The Flood Affected Population in Sindh  – Rebuilding Lives and Livelihoods: The Case for Structural Reforms

Pakistan: A Society in Flux

Published in Dawn, Karachi, Pakistan on 13 June 2001

Teenage solid waste managers pedaling bikes, ferrying collected stuff in satchels. Neatly dressed executives driving air-conditioned Honda Civic. Green-turbaned, bearded, lanky young men, walking towards seminaries. Common womenfolk attired in shalwar qameez and duppata on their way to market, offices, educational institutions. Small traders talking on mobiles, steering Suzuki pick-ups. Young boys chatting at cyber cafes. Girls in designer’s jeans strolling in select areas. Women with hijab congregating at home or in five star hotels for dars. These are but few outer manifestations of lifestyles of contemporary Pakistani society, to be exact, contemporary urban Pakistani society.

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Diary of a Feminist: Indecision and Arranged Marriages

Sometimes it seems to me as a people we score poorly in problem-solving behavior. That is, we often exhibit a lack of initiative and mental synthesis to attain a goal when faced with a situation of some complexity.

We have a tendency either to ignore the problem altogether or shove it under the carpet. By no means do such tactics shield us from the effects of something gone wrong. A problem, in fact, if not solved creates a myriad of other problems.

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