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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Pakistani Politics in 2020

On the surface, things seem pretty tepid and monotonous on Pakistani politics horizon as we are well into 2020. People are in survival mode and just want to get through these rough times.

Confusion is the order of day today where-ever you look. Confusion about Corona’s current status, its vaccines, whether to test or not, price of corona test in Pakistan, jobs, business, media and everything else. The feeling of being clueless is rampant and ubiquitous.

Anyway while Corona rages on all around us, political melodrama continues on. After conquering PMLN and other small time players, the political gods are now after PPP which is already not in a fighting shape. All this Cynthia Richie saga is just part of that game. No one is saying that she is lying or anything, but the timing is striking and those who know Cynthia tell some other story about this timing.

Independent political activity is literally dead in the country with no major political party in sight and leadership either sitting abroad, in jail, or just too scared to come forward. The vacuum is too big and too wide to stay that way. Sooner or later it has to be filled and nature will take its course. My only concern is that common people might have to pay a hefty price for that.

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