nadir.hassan

Nadir Hassan

An Islamabad based journalist who tweets at @Nadir_Hassan.

Islamabad Diary: Spinning around in numbers

Like most journalists I took up the profession because I was useless at math. It is ironic – and quite painful – then that I was surrounded by numbers for the first month after I moved to Islamabad. Even worse I, an English and History graduate, was expected to make sense of numbers that often ran into seven or eight digits. It was budget season in Islamabad, a time when people pretend to know what encumbrance control and interfund agreements mean and then proceed to thoughtfully ponder their significance to Pakistan’s financial future. Since mathematical nous isn’t native to most journalists, ...

Read Full Post

I read so you don’t have to: A week of mockery

This is the week we learned that the ‘softer’ side of Pakistan can be quite harsh too. A much-hyped movie has been mocked more than loved, we love our iPads but don’t know how to use them and continue to mock ourselves. Sure, there is good news coming out of the country but it is so scarce and so unimportant amid the general gloom that we’d probably be better off just ignoring it altogether. So let’s take the bad with the worse and have a cynical look back at the week that just passed. (June 24 – July 1) Best of the ...

Read Full Post

I read so you don’t have to: A week of small pleasures

Here’s how not to lose heart when reading and writing about Pakistan week after week: you can either quit your job and stay at home wiping Cheetos’ dust off your shirt or you can laugh at everything you read. When the military gets too overbearing, just poke fun at its head. Sick to death of political intrigue in parliament? Just create some of your own intrigue among the journalist community. Here, then, is the week where everything just got too much and it was the little things that irked and delighted. (June 17 – June 23) Best of the week 1. Issam Ahmed- One ...

Read Full Post

I read so you don’t have to: Afridi week

Pakistan’s love affair with Shahid Afridi is a curious thing. He is a charismatic underperformer but we choose to concentrate on the former and ignore the latter. In a week otherwise dominated, as all weeks are, by bombings, the Taliban, the CIA and the ISI, there was no greater spat than the one between Afridi and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt. It reminded us once again that we love Afridi because he makes us smile and he makes us laugh, a feature common to all the best pieces of the week. The worst pieces of the week make it to the ...

Read Full Post

I read so you don’t have to: A week of terror

It may have been over a month since the US Navy SEAL raid in Abbottabad but Pakistan, and the world, hasn’t forgotten Osama bin Laden yet. From the blowback to the militant attack on PNS Mehran, which might have included the life of reporter Saleem Shahzad, to the death of Ilyas Kashmiri, the week was dominated, as most weeks in Pakistan are, by terrorism and militancy. But, the best pieces of the week tended to take a step back from the most obvious issues plaguing the country. The worst: well, they tended to fixate on the Taliban. (June 2, 2011 – June 9 ...

Read Full Post

Bigg Boss: More drama off screen than on

Flinging accusations of fascism is usually a sign that you have lost a debate and are resorting to name-calling as a substitute for substantive argument. It has become an epithet, rather than a description of a certain political mentality and ideology. It’s a shame, then, that no other word exists that could accurately describe the antics of the Shiv Sena. The political party, which follows a strict ideology of Maharashtran supremacy, has been protesting the latest season of Bigg Boss, the Indian version of reality show Big Brother, for committing the cardinal sin of having two Pakistani contestants. Never mind ...

Read Full Post

When in doubt…

Do you know someone who is uncertain, who hems and haws over every little decision, consults everyone around him and only reaches a conclusion after going through a process more painful than a tooth extraction? Congratulations, you have a “doubter” on your hands. You may be forgiven for never encountering this species before. Thanks to Wikipedia and its evil spawn, even the chronically insecure are just a couple of minutes away from feigning blissful expertise. We live in an age of obnoxious certainty, where a couple of Google searches is all it takes to establish professorial authority. Like all things ...

Read Full Post

A tale of two cities

Courage can take different forms. In New York City, where a majority of residents opposed the construction of an Islamic centre, including a mosque, close to Ground Zero, Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed great political courage in speaking out forcefully in favour of what has misleadingly come to be called the “Ground Zero Mosque.” Politicians in Karachi require far greater courage. Here, taking a brave stand means facing the wrath of those who vote, not at the polling booth, but with their finger on the trigger. Still, there is a lesson the rulers of this city can take from Mayor Bloomberg. ...

Read Full Post