PTI's Azam Swati under fire for calling railway workers 'thieves' undeserving of pensions

Minister for Railways and vice president of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Azam Khan Swati has become the subject of criticism after a video surfaced depicting him blaming railway workers for the decline of Pakistan Railways. In the video, shared on Twitter on Thursday, the railway workers are seen expressing grievances about not receiving their due pensions, which the minister dismisses by calling them undeserving of making this demand. “You have no right [to ask for pensions],” Sw

PM Imran's controversial rape comments invite global ire

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks linking rape to vulgarity have not gone down well with citizens around the globe, many of whom took to social media to express their displeasure. International media outlets also extensively reported the event, leading to widespread criticism of the Pakistani prime minister. During a question-and-answer session Sunday on live television, the prime minister issued the controversial remarks in response to a caller’s question. When asked if the government is ta

Students demand that exams be cancelled amid third wave of COVID

Students across Pakistan are calling for board and Cambridge O and A-Level exams to be cancelled amid a drastic surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. “#CancelBoardExams2021” became one of the top trends on Twitter on Saturday, with “#Cambridge” also following behind. In multiple tweets, students were witnessed demanding the government and Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood to cancel physical examinations in light of the third wave of the coronavirus.

Shafqat Mehmood 'uncle' wins hearts on Twitter again

Pakistan’s education minister dominated the trends on Twitter today ahead of the announcement of the closure of educational institutions. After the minister confirmed that educational institutions in COVID-hit regions across Pakistan will remain closed until April 11, the “#ShafqatMehmood” hashtag reached the coveted number one spot. Students across Pakistan flooded the tag with prayers and gratitude for the minister, thanking him for the decision in a variety of creative ways.

Why was TikTok banned even after negotiations with PTA: Digital activists question verdict

Digital rights activists and internet users across the country have been left scratching their heads following Peshawar’s ban on TikTok, even after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had entered successful negotiations with the popular Chinese video-sharing mobile app. After Peshawar High Court’s order today to ban popular TikTok for hosting “immoral” content, the Pakistani public has been up in arms over the controversial decision. TikTok became the number one trend on Twitter foll

Women's Day: Aurat March 2021 takes place across Pakistan today

Women across Pakistan are taking to the streets in the fourth annual Aurat March to celebrate International Women’s Day. The participants of the march raised slogans for the rights of women and other gender minorities in the country, with a special focus on women’s health issues as this year’s theme. The organisers of the marches across major cities have also stressed adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPS).

Pakistan's COVID-19 vaccines explained

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced on Saturday that a special plane has left for China to collect a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, in time for the launch of Pakistan’s first vaccination drive this coming week. Asad Umar, head of the NCOC and Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives had announced this week that “the system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering COVID vaccine.”

Robinhood trade restrictions invite criticism, frenzy in stock market

Stock-trading mobile application Robinhood halted trading to a number of companies, including GameStop, on Thursday, citing “recent volatility” in the stock market. This came after Reddit users, earlier this week, dramatically pushed the stock prices for GameStop up, incurring billions worth of losses to Wall Street hedge funds. The move by Robinhood, as well as other app-based stock traders like TD Ameritrade and WeBull, came under immense scrutiny by individual traders, politicians, and law ma

What's next for the Daniel Pearl case?

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan ordered the immediate release of Omer Sheikh, the prime accused in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping and murder case, today. In its short order, the apex court dismissed the petition against its earlier judgement by the Sindh government, and upheld the verdict of the Sindh High Court (SHC). Does this mean the end of the controversial case that has been running for 18 years? Daniel Pearl, an American journalist heading the Wall Street Journal’s Pakistan bureau in 20

Cannoli owners stand by their actions, say demeaning behaviour was only "banter"

The owners of the Islamabad-based restaurant Cannoli Café Soul have issued a non-apologetic statement in response to the backlash they received for a viral video depicting them demeaning their manager’s English-speaking skills. Interestingly, while the restaurant stands by its actions, other restaurants have issued clarifications distancing themselves from the Islamabad eatery. The now deleted-video posted on the restaurant’s social media showed its owners, Uzma Chaudhry and Dia Haider, asking

WhatsApp's new privacy policy: Experts explain why you should care

WhatsApp, Pakistan’s most widely used instant messaging application, has stirred controversy since announcing a change in its Privacy Policy for users, which will roll out in February 2021. Acquired by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp has always advertised itself as a safe, secure, and private messaging application. The new terms and conditions, however, allow Facebook to use users’ data from WhatsApp for, and on, all platforms belonging to the company. The policy states: “WhatsApp must receive or c

American airstrike in Helmand leaves 18 dead, violates Doha agreement: Taliban

The Afghan Taliban, in a statement shared on Twitter, announced that the United States launched an airstike in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on December 4, leaving at least 18 dead. This development comes as US-Taliban peace talks proceed in Doha. “In recurrent violation of the Doha agreement, American forces carried out airstrikes on a Mujahideen base and nearby civilian homes in Loy Bagh village of Nad Ali district, Helmand – an area quite far from any battleground and where no military

PDM set to rally in Multan today, despite rise in COVID-19 cases

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the 11-party opposition alliance, is all set to proceed with its rally in Multan today despite government warnings against non-adherence to COVID-19 SOPs. The rally, previously slated to be led by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is now to be headed by Aseefa Bhutto Zardari on account of the former having contracted the novel coronavirus and being in isolation. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, alongside his political secretary Jamee

Thousands of Indian farmers protest Modi's new agricultural laws in New Delhi

Over the past two months, farmers in India have been protesting the new agricultural laws introduced by the Modi government that allow multiple actors to enter the farmers market at flexible rates. Farmer unions fear that the new laws give power to big corporations at the expense of farmers, who will be pushed out of the competitive market with little protection. Thousands of protesting farmers began travelling towards the capital on Thursday, along the slogan of “Delhi chalo” to express their

Joe Biden becomes 47th President-elect of the US, media outlets project

Joe Biden has been declared the next President of the United States by major media outlets after a gruelling 3 days of counting votes for the presidential election. The Associated Press announced Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump after calling his win in Pennsylvania. Winning the 20 electoral votes from the state pulls Biden ahead of the 270-votes threshold required to be met to win the presidency. With this win projected, Biden has acquired 290 electoral votes against Trump’s 214.

US Elections 2020: Who’s winning Congress?

As the results for the US Presidential Elections remain unannounced two days past Election Day, the world continues to eye the states whose polls would determine the decisive victory between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Republic candidate Donald Trump. As of now, Biden is leading with 264 electoral votes—needing a majority of 270 to win—while Trump follows behind at 214. The ballots from the six remaining states—Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—are current

Obama joins Biden in first joint campaign trail appearance in Michigan

Former US President Barack Obama joined Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden in a drive-in rally in Flint, Michigan, on Saturday, marking their first campaign appearance together in a final push two days before Election Day. Later, they also made an appearance in Detroit. In Flint, Obama began by praising Joe Biden for his decency, and expressed his belief in Biden’s great potential as president. “Joe Biden is my brother,” Obama said. “I love Joe Biden and he wil

New Zealand votes in favour of euthanasia, rejects legalization of marijuana

Voters in New Zealand, on referendums conducted this month, approved the right to assisted death for terminally ill patients, and voted against the legalization of recreational marijuana. These two social questions were posed to the public on the ballot during New Zealand’s general election vote on 17th October, which gave Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a landslide victory for another term. The provisional results of the referendums were announced Friday, and do not yet include overseas votes. 6

Biggest-ever protest held against Polish government’s near-total abortion ban

Pro-choice supporters gathered in the largest protest against Poland’s government in Warsaw on Friday. Up to 100,000 protestors took to the streets of the capital city to demonstrate against the newly imposed restrictions on Poland’s abortion laws, which are amongst the most restrictive in Europe. Mass demonstrations have been staged consecutively across the Eastern European country for ten days, which more protesters joining the cause daily. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS), wh

India’s National Investigation Agency cracks down on journalists, activists in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed on Wednesday that it raided up to 10 locations in Indian occupied Kashmir, including offices and residences of journalists and activists. In a statement the Agency claimed to have searched the premises of Agence France-Presse’s Kashmir correspondent Parvaiz Bhukair, as well as the offices of rights activists Khurram Parvez and Parveena Ahanger. It also raided the office of the regions leading daily publication, Greater Kashmir, and seized “sev
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