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Sana Makki Qahwa for Corona Virus

‘Desi totkas’ in Pakistan have always been in vogue. When desperate times come, Pakistanis no matter how educated they are revert to workarounds, fake medicine, hakeems, qahwas, kalonjis and stuff like that for cure and relief.

Same is happening with Corona. There is no vaccine and people are dying all around and in these uncertain times of fear, people are trying whatever they could. Especially poor and middle class people who cannot afford the initial testing of Rs. 1800 are resorting to weird things like Sana Makki Qahwa for Corona Virus.

In Karachi and Lahore, shop keepers are struggling to meet the demand for this natural green leaved tea sort of drink which is supposed to give relief for Corona. People are taking it as an elixir. There are other herbs and shrubs which are being touted to provide relief but this Sana makki thing is taking the lead as of now.

Senna leaves or sana makki has nothing to do with Corona. Please don’t do this. Symptoms for corona appear after 5 days and you tend to recover on 9th or 10th day depending on your immune system, diet, care, self isolation, maximum taking care of personal hygiene and rest.

People are touting weird treatments for corona in Pakistan like panadol, sana makki leaves once a day, sachet of mucolator , yogurt , actrema injection, ivermectin, azithromycin and the list goes on. The price of sanna makki has reached to Rs. 5000 per kg from just Rs. 50.

Go Figure!!!!

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Politics

Zahra Fona and Cynthia Ritchie

Cynthia Ritchie story is not really new in Pakistan. This has happened before with different names but interestingly enough with same party, which is still called PPP.

When Pakistan People’s Party was blossoming in 60’s, a conspiracy was hatched to curb its progress and nip it in the bud. A lady Zahra Fona was imported from Indonesia who claimed that she was pregnant and the baby in her belly called for Azan and could recite the Quran.

She became an instant sensation in those days. People used to flock around her. She was visited by religious scholars from around the country who put their ears on her belly and confirmed that they could hear Azan and recitation. She became so elevated that she led the prayers at various mosques around the country including Badshahi Mosque Lahore.

She got exposed when she suddenly fell ill and had to rush to Karachi hospital where doctors confirmed that she wasn’t pregnant at all and was hiding a tape recorder in her private parts. That matter was hushed instantly and she left the country on next available flight, never to be seen or heard again.

The plan was that right before elections, she would declare that it was haram to cast vote in favor of PPP and given her elevated religious stature and uncanny baby, people would listen to her. That was not to be.

Zahra Fona and Cynthia Ritchie are two sides of the same coin.

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2020 of Load-shedding in Pakistan

When I started writing for this blog, way back in 2008 the hottest topic was load-shedding. We have short memories and even shorter tempers so I am not sure if anyone still remembers those sweltering days of June and July when there used to be no power during the day or night.

Things changed during PMLN’s tenure and people got a relief but even that wasn’t enough to save Nawaz Sharif’s fate but that’s another story for another time. All those power plants are now churning out electricity in ample quantity and load-shedding has become a thing of past. There are still outages, dont get me wrong, but not as high as they used to be.

This government is lucky to have received a better power situation and hence they are least worried about energy security of Pakistan. No one is bothered about the causes of the “high cost of electricity” and circular debt as they can print more money and enjoy while it lasts.

It becomes necessary to take a holistic view of the sector to make an informed opinion about its troubles and the potential way forward. But this government is ignorant of any frameworks regarding power and they appears less interested in reinforcing the existing regulatory frameworks.

So I won’t be surprised if we start seeing recurrence of load-shedding in 2020 across Pakistan. With corona raging all around, this is the last thing we need.

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Find a Job in Pakistan During Coronavirus Pandemic

I thought my job was safe and secure as I was working as a software engineer in a reputable firm in Islamabad. Our most of customers were US based and we had plenty of out-sourced work.

Right at the start of March, I was complaining about extra work hours and the stress of work to my family, and the very next week, we were sitting idle as the projects were put on hold and payments were halted. My company waited until the end of April, and then started laying off in bulk as the work had dried up without any hope of resumption in near future.

I spent half of May, hoping that I would get another job but hiring freeze was everywhere. So what did I do? I didn’t just lay around there and watched cable whole day. I brushed-up my Linkedin profile, started making connections in my field and the response was very warm. I reached out to people via LinkedIn and even via Facebook, and told them to refer me if they find any vacancies anywhere.

I also started writing articles and tips about my day to day work on LinkedIn, and soon people started commenting and liking as it seemed the whole world was sitting on LinkedIn. I was cold-calling or cold-messaging on Linkedin like crazy for days and days, and then I received a response from South Korea of all places for a remote software engineer role for 3 days a week. I interviewed for it, made no demands, showed best can-do attitude and landed the job within the week and now working there.

So that is how to find a job in Pakistan during coronavirus pandemic. If I can do it, you can do it with flying colors.

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List of Celebrities and Politicians Suffering from Coronavirus in Pakistan

Following prominent people have tested positive for the coronavirus so far in Pakistan:

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

PTIA MNA Jai Prakash

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

PPP MPA Sharjeel Memon

PML-N Punjab Assembly lawmaker Mian Naveed Ali from Pakpattan

Minister of State for Narcotics Shehryar Afridi

PTI’s chief whip in the National Assembly Aamir Dogar

ANP’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail

Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser

Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari

PTI Punjab Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Shaheen Raza

PTI MPA Mian Jamsheduddin Kakakhel from Nowshera

PML-N MPA Shaukat Manzoor Cheema from Gujranwala

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Politics

Who is Cynthia Ritchie ?

Desi ‘maim’, blue eyes, white skin, blonde hair, and glamorous American accent. That’s enough to rattle any Pakistani male let alone the people in power corridors.

When Cynthia first arrived in Pakistan, she very soon took over the Karachi social scene and quickly moved to Islamabad where real power lies. From PPP’s small time politicians, she quickly became apple of the eyes of those who really matter.

Since then she has never looked back. She has admirers in every political party, but she knows where to set her eyes and what the power origins are. Many anchorpersons and journalists have been embarrassed by her in the evening parties of glorious Islamabad.

Not sure what she blogs about, but her official title is a blogger from US who is passionate about Pakistan. A tad bit too passionate one would say as now she is directly becoming a sort of pawn in national politics and targeting the leftover PPP stalwarts who are running for their meager dignities.

Cynthia’s story won’t end here. It will go a long way and when she returns to US, she is going to expose those who matters the most. Cynthia Ritchie book of future or shall we say biography would sell like hot cakes whenever it comes out, and its just a matter of time.

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Expensive Coronavirus Testing in Pakistan

So you have to pay Rs. 8000 just to get the initial testing kid for COVID-19? Expensive Coronavirus testing in Pakistan is sucking the life out of poor people who cannot simply afford such amount.

In a country where daily wage is less than $50 on average, this amount is huge. Just imagine how many people are dying all around us just because they cannot afford this testing. People are also ignoring this testing due to the price and becoming the carrier of it.

People are also confused about coronavirus testing centers in their areas. Location of coronavirus testing centers in Karachi is still a mystery and so is in big cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta. You can very well imagine the poor plight of small cities and villages.

If you go to the public hospitals, they would simply give you a waiting list number and mostly ask you to come back in few days time. The cost, hassle, and this waiting time is making people turn their backs on this very serious situation. I personally know couple of people who are experiencing mild fever, flue, and headaches for few days but they are adamant to not to for testing as its such a hassle.

I was talking to a friend in Wah Cantt and she casually mentioned that her mother was sick due to fever and they didn’t think it was Coronavirus as she was never abroad. Such is the level of ignorance and casual attitude out there.

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Politics

Worst Economic Collapse in Pakistan Coming

Countries like Pakistan which mainly depend on foreign remittences, foreign aid and foreign loans are the worst affected in post corona world. This pandemic has rattled the roots of most of solid economies across the world, mostly those which are prime aid donors to Pakistan.

Economies are contracting across the globe. This year alone, World Bank has predicted a contraction of 5.2%. This is just an average as this would vary from country to country. For developing and under-developed countries, things will be lots worst. Pakistani markets are largely concentrated in few sectors and there is lots of state meddling to keep it steady. But the sheer number of companies going bankgrupt and drying up of foreign largess, even state won’t be able to prop it up for long.

We are not willing to cut down expenditures, we are not willing to stop amassing military hardware, we are not willing to pay taxes, we are not willing to become self-sustained and as usual are expecting foreign help. That won’t be coming anytime sooner and it will be too little and too late if any comes at all.

Analysts and other financial experts are at loss to count the losses. They are facing an uphill task to measure the impact of the crisis they have likened to a global natural disaster, but the huge size of the impact across so many sectors and countries has made it hard to calculate, and made predictions about any recovery highly uncertain. Downgrades of economies are happening everywhere.

Pakistan’s stock market is already nose-diving and current pauses are just result of state sponsored stimulus. This will eclipse the Great Depression of 1929 as more and more people are falling below the poverty line.

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Side Hustle in Pakistan

Making ends meet has always been an issue in Pakistan no matter what the going is. For poor, lower middle class, and even middle class its hard to maintain whatever meager lifestyle they have. Not only they struggle to support their families, there is no chance of getting out of the rut of life’s financial woes.

In most of Pakistani households, the norm is to have a single salary and the whole primary and extended family depends on it. With huge families, elderly parents, dependent siblings, it becomes a nightmare for primary and often solo bread-winner. He or she has to forget about their future and only focus on survival.

That is why it is extremely important for every adult in Pakistan to have a side gig to support their families or at least support themselves or at the very least contribute something to lessen the burden of primary income earner. There could be various options for a side hustle in Pakistan:

Selling products or services online could be one great option. Everyone has spare or extra things. So no matter how insignificant, if its usable, rest assured there will be a buyer out there. You can also go ahead and start buying it low and selling it high. That could earn you some profit income on top of what you sell. There is no concept of garage sales in Pakistan but there are flea markets all over the place and you can definitely grab some bargains out there.

Offering tutoring to kids, teaching in evening colleges, sewing the clothes, and online marketing work are some of other options which one can look into and learn about them according to the aptitude. The main thing is to take the first step and then staying the course.

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Best Way to Sell Used Items in Pakistan

With the advent of online marketplaces, selling and buying modes have completely changed. It all started from virtual portals like craiglists and other lists in Western world and then spread like wildfire all across the globe.

Many sites and portals have sprung up over the years to tap into this lucrative market offering people to list their used items online or enabling them to either directly buy or bid for the items. This structure has worked well for the last few years but now there are other players in the market which are proving far more effective and easy.

I believe that integrating online marketplaces with social media platform is the best way to sell used items in Pakistan or elsewhere for that matter. You already have an online presence on your social media account, you already have a network or you are part of local groups and all you need to do is to post few photos and name your price.

Buying and selling is mainly local. Even in digital world, this is the norm. You mostly trade your items locally, on average within 5km radius of your home. So these marketplace groups work like a charm. You also can check the profile to make sure that there is no harm out there as you never know who is on the other side of the social media.

Now these social media giants are also introducing their own online currencies and digital wallets to capture the financial and banking side of things. There already is a huge hue and cry from the banks. I am not sure how that would pan out in third world countries where cash is still the king. But in post corona world, cash will be replaced soon with contact-less currency and Pakistan would have to adapt to that.

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