Collaborate, Cheat, Repeat: How Pakistani students are acing online exams

Shariq* is a lawyer because of the novel coronavirus. When asked about it, he will tell generations after him how a raging pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe in 2020, but paused to bless him, in particular, with a prestigious law degree. He does not tell me this, but I almost picture this occurring as he recalls precisely how he cheated his way out of a never-ending academic journey and to the other side of studentship—all thanks to online exams.

The Aurat March persists because it is driven by love

Now in its fourth iteration, the Aurat March continues to evoke myriad strong reactions before and after its commencement each year. This time, the top trend on Twitter the night leading to the March hurled unfounded allegations of ‘foreign funding’ at it. This was borne of the popular belief in the country that women coming out in hordes to make preposterous demands—such as for human rights—are surely working at the behest of some unnamed, foreign entity seeking to dismantle the cultural and re

Who is Muhammad Ali Sadpara?

Muhammad Ali Sadpara takes his name from his birthplace, the Sadpara village of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, located at the periphery of snow-clad Skardu. Sadpara, or Satpara, is home to numerous brave men who take to the Himalayan mountains through all seasons as porters or guides to local and foreign mountaineers. A familiarity with the rough terrain, and skills acquired through years of practise, makes navigating the mountains a lucrative business for those deprived of more traditional

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

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.”

War in the time of Twitter: How disinformation shapes Indo-Pak relations

Consider the following image: the Mazar-e-Quaid stands tall against a clear Karachi sky, overlooking a curious set of events. An airborne motorbike with wings, carries a bearded, green-turbaned rider into battle against an F-16, while a fleet of fighter jets hover in the near background. Below, seemingly oblivious to this scene of critical warfare, a military uniform-clad Amir Liaquat Hussain — former Minister for Religion Affairs, current Member of the Parliament, ever disputed doctor — strikes

Cricket Crisis: What went wrong in New Zealand?

New Zealand, one of the few places in the world to have virtually defeated the novel coronavirus and resumed “normal” life, currently has only 59 active COVID-19 cases within its borders. It should be a matter of concern to Pakistan that more than 16% of these cases comprise none other than our beloved cricket team. With 10 of the 54 Pakistani cricket players currently in New Zealand having tested positive for the virus, it is important to question just how such a situation could have come abou

Between a talk and a hard place: The naivety of Ishaq Dar

In a country that is seldom united by interests outside of food, cricket, and nationalism, drawing rooms and internet timelines on Tuesday echoed with one, simple question: What was Ishaq Dar thinking? Appearing in a 20-minute interview on BBC’s HardTalk, the former’s Finance Minister of Pakistan was subjected to grilling of disastrous proportions by programme host Stephen Sackur. In what became a viral clip, Dar—who is banned by PEMRA from appearing on Pakistani television shows — is witnessed

Cornered Tigers: What does the Tigers Force actually do?

In early March the world hung in limbo. Coronavirus had begun to run through much of Eurasia, and threatened the rest of the world. Nations looked at each other expectantly, not knowing exactly what to do to counter this onslaught. From Sweden’s brazen overconfidence in ‘herd immunity’ to China’s dystopian lockdowns, the world did whatever it could and hoped it was enough. The Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Tigers Force (CRTF) was born out of this uncertainty; it was to be a mechanism to aid th

Pakistan vs. Pandemic: Why is no one afraid of coronavirus?

It is a widely held belief that the year 2020 has been the year of the coronavirus. Months and moments have lost priority over more dismal means of keeping time in check; the temporal progression of this year has been popularly defined through terms like “quarantine,” “lockdown,” “first wave,” and now, the “second wave.” Until recently, other markers of time such as school terms or university semesters had also crumpled into vague ideas due to the closure of educational institutes, while work-fr

The Sadness of our Cyberspace

The hurt awakens when the world goes to sleep. It comes leaking in from cracks and crevices held tightly shut during sunlit hours, and, sometimes, it flows with abandon. The waves of this hurt—this profound sadness—crash across minds and hearts and bodies onto plateaus of digital space, and then roll back onto its host carrying crumbs of comfort. The picture is bleak, but it portrays one way I am beginning to view the internet.

Editorial: The Means To An End

Extract: In a country where, in 2017, alleged dissent against authority can result in public lynching within the walls of an educational institution, questions about the political freedom allotted to students within societal spheres cannot help but be raised. While active participation in politics remains banned on college campuses in Pakistan following the 2003 Supreme Court ruling, educational institutes remain the breeding ground for new ideologies that guide socio-political patterns amongst the country’s youth. LUMS, priding itself on an environment that encourages the cultivation of active student discourse, stands out in the degree of agency it allots to its students. The cyclical unfurling of tensions between all stakeholders within an institution may be considered a rite-of-passage that guides the evolution of all power structures – within families, universities or governments – and the existence of dissenting opinions continues to raise the importance of spaces that allow intellectual growth. This past academic year has seen the LUMS student body rise in unison on various platforms, and has witnessed the brewing of an active educational culture that is expected of an informed student-body. - Printed in the 12th May 2017 issue of The LUMS Daily Student

The Open House: A Case for Accountability

The above is a word for word quote from the Vice-Chancellor of LUMS, a university which is named a university of “Management Sciences”, where the headman of the institution’s academic core claims to be unaware of the rules and policies that govern various offices — including but not limited to the Disciplinary Committee, the Registrar’s Office, and the Office of Student Affairs. Administrative mistrust has been rampant amidst the LUMS student body in recent times, and its full extent was witness

Students Protest Against Stringent Security Measures at LUMS Convocation

On 1st June, an email concerning the upcoming Convocation Ceremony for the batch of 2017 was circulated by the LUMS administration to the entire student body. This email, serving to reiterate adherence to security protocol, cited the likelihood of the President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain – by virtue of his position as Chancellor of LUMS – attending the ceremony as reason for stringent security measures. According to the email, “LUMS has been advised by the President’s Secretariat and the bure