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Monday, 15 August 2016

Coercion inside the home

by Haris Gazdar and Ayesha Khan

Domestic workers in the 14th century
Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Bonded labour constitutes one of the gravest violations of individual human rights. It is perceived — both at the popular level, as well as among legislators and the judiciary — as akin to slavery. Yet, bonded labour often comes disguised in a web of legitimate ‘voluntary’ economic transactions mediated through social control. Haris Gazdar and Ayesha Khan explored bonded labour in domestic work and begging in a chapter in the book ‘Bonded Labour in Pakistan’. The book is edited by Ayaz Qureshi and Ali Khan and published by the Oxford University Press. An excerpt of the chapter was recently featured in Dawn’s Books and Authors. An even shorter version with a focus on rural domestic work is reproduced here.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Immortalizing Edhi

by Noorulain Masood

Edhi (1928-2016): Mural in Karachi dedicated to Edhi
Photo credit: Collective team

Edhi died on the 8th of this month. Just twenty days later, media coverage and social calendars that were packed with commemorations have already gone sparse. The cruel reality of our times: nothing lasts forever. But Edhi has to be kept alive.

Monday, 18 July 2016

My choice or not?

by Sidra Mazhar

Women returning from fields after a hard day's work
Photo credit: Flickr/Khalid Mir

Agricultural practices and interventions affects nutrition of women, children and the entire household through various pathways and it is interesting to note that women empowerment, though much neglected, has a significant role to play when it comes to improving nutrition. To understand this link, I recently attended a webinar on “Women’s nutrition through an empowerment lens” organized by Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) and Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA). The webinar explored the impact of women empowerment on women’s and their children’s nutrition. It detailed the effects of women empowerment in livestock-focused-agriculture followed by an investigation of women empowerment in nutrition index.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Imagining poverty

by Haris Gazdar

How can our economic policy instruments reach the poor?
Photo credit: Wikipedia

There are two views about the economics of poverty reduction. One, that economic growth will trickle down and reduce poverty. Two, that there is no automatic trickle-down and growth may or may not be inclusive. It depends on which sectors grow, whether growth creates new and better jobs, and whether the poor are able to take advantage of economic opportunity.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

'Alien' garbage pickers of Karachi

by Azmat Budhani

Man at rubbish dump in Karachi
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr

“My name is Muhammad Ali. I am a Pathan, born in Quetta, and living in Karachi since the last decade. I am sixteen years old, can speak and read Urdu well besides Pashtu. My parents had migrated from Afghanistan. I don’t know exactly when they migrated, which area they belonged to in Afghanistan or why they had to migrate.” The respondent was interviewed for a research study in Karachi by the Collective team.

Monday, 6 June 2016

When the respondents questioned

by Saba Aslam

Respondents at rural site Dadu
Photo credit: Collective team

For the four-year research project, “Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility” we were asked to visit rural and urban communities of our respondents who had participated in the research for three consecutive years. This year, the idea was to engage with the respondents, explain to them research findings and thank them for their involvement throughout these years. A day before my visit to district Dadu, I spent time preparing for my interaction with our female respondents. I tried simplifying the findings and I was eager to conduct the session. To my surprise, the response I received from the female respondents was completely different to what I had been expecting.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Okara Dispossessions: From Jhanglees to Murabba holders to Faltus

by Hussain Bux Mallah

From British India to Pakistan: the journey of dispossessions in Okara
Photo credit: Wikipedia/Chicago Sun Times archive

The resistance of the tenants of Okara Military Farm villages to changes in their contract and to threats of eviction is cause-celebre, particularly for left-leaning activists and intellectuals. This is as it ought to be. There have been various attempts by the authorities to evict residents since the time of General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. The issue flared up again under General Musharraf in 2003, and after a hiatus it came to the headlines once more in April 2016 when it was reported that security forces positioned a tank in addition to the usual tear gas rounds to disperse people who were celebrating the International Peasant’s Day. A 17-year-old boy died and many protestors were injured and arrested. The government stated its determination to charge the protestors under the National Counter Terrorism Act of 2013.