Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

Should Apple give the FBI access to all our iPhones?

Considering how public opinion can sway important legal matters, there is perhaps nothing more perilous than irresponsible journalism. Unfortunately, in an age where click-bait is the name of the game, reporters unfamiliar with their subject matter often spread misinformation. This, sadly, is especially true for information technology. You may have recently heard from various news sources that Apple previously ‘unlocked’ iPhones for the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) ‘70 times’. Some even claimed that Apple is refusing to do so now as part of a marketing strategy. This has also been gleefully echoed by the FBI itself. Some of the sources ...

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Is prayer a better way to deal with depression than treatment from a mental health professional?

I’d like you to take a moment to imagine two people. Both follow the same religious scripture, with equal regularity yet one interprets the passages as peaceful instructions on life, while the other sees them as commands to violently confront anyone who disagrees with certain worldviews. The disparity is drastic. They read the same words, yet the comprehension is as different as a chalk or cheese. When we speak of the religious extremism that plagues the world and its driving factors we rightly mention political unrest, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, violent text, the mullah culture, and more, but what we fail to talk about ...

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Would Nergis Mavalvala have made it had she stayed in Pakistan?

Overnight, astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala’s star went supernova in Pakistan. As news spread that the Karachi born scientist’s research played a role in one of the greatest scientist discoveries of our time, people who couldn’t spell ‘gravitational wave’ began celebrating her achievement with the fervour of Neil deGrasse Tyson dreaming about first contact. Meanwhile, our right-wingers quickly started combing through scripture, seeking evidence of a Nostradamus like foretelling of gravitational waves, perhaps in hopes of winning a reductive reasoning award. But I digress. As TV channels and news dot coms broke the story, social media hit fever pitch. Proud of Nergis Mavalvala a Pakistani ...

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If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

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Pakistan cricket desperately needed a tournament like PSL

It is difficult to believe the Pakistan Super League (PSL) started less than a week ago, for the T20 cricket tournament has already grown into a daily viewing addiction. Featuring five teams, including Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, and Quetta Gladiators, the tournament has captured the imagination of people across the country. During the last week, I have found it remarkable how keenly the games have been followed on the streets of Karachi; taxi and rickshaw walas are keeping up with the contests on the radio; roti walas, while rolling bread in their uncomfortably warm hole-in-the-walls are glancing constantly at ...

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Would they have arrested Maulana Abdul Aziz had he been a Virat Kohli fan?

Al Jazeera claims he is possibly the most hated man in Pakistan. Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz; a fiery cleric; said to be the torchbearer of sprawling madrassas, 5000 pupils and 550 teachers strong; co-owner of the militia powered seminary Jamia Hafsa; accused of using religion to serve his politics; allegedly a sympathiser of notorious organisations such as Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Taliban and ISIS. In the late 00s, his Lal Masjid disciples began frighteningly violent acts of arson, vandalism, and kidnapping. In response, security forces hit back with a military operation. Scores died. Eventually, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz became the subject of a meme when he tried to escape wearing a burqa. In ...

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What do our reactions to a 13-year-old’s false allegations of gang-rape say about us?

The 13-year-old Berlin based German-Russian girl’s allegations of being kidnapped and gang-raped by men of Arabic and African origin quickly snowballed into a storm. Her claim was the men had forced her into their vehicle and attacked her. Reports of the girl’s harrowing tale were shared across Russian social media and even made it to local television. They were met with demonstrations by an anti-migrant national right-wing political party, as well as people from the Russian community in Germany who were backed by the Pegida-related Bärgida movement. The matter soon turned into an international incident. While the German police rightly kept ...

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6 things Saudi Arabia and Iran have in common

Saudi Arabia’s long and bitter history with Iran came to a boiling point recently when the Kingdom murdered Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on charges of treason after a farcical trial. For some time, the Saudis had indirectly indicated that Nimr al-Nimr was on Iran’s payroll. The late preacher, a fierce critic of the monarchy, ridiculed these claims. Although Nimr al-Nimr was a Saudi national, Iran strongly condemned the execution. Later, a Saudi embassy in Tehran was vandalised by Persians angrier than the ones defied by 300 Spartans. That Iran reacted so strongly did nothing to disprove any Nimr al-Nimr ...

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Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab

Through fear of the sword or through promise of eternal torment they spread their regressive ways. Over time we found another reason to abhor each other, to feel divided, to openly judge our own. The foreign culture we adopted didn’t play well with our own, for it insisted in its dark perfection while clashing with our own light. Whenever I travel from Pakistan I feel a melancholy that slowly hums in my heart overseas until it reaches full tempo when I return home. Other countries hold dear their customs and honour the old roots from which they rose with tolerance ...

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What if a student had shot back during the mock drill at Punjab University?

As a resident of a country where militancy regularly makes headlines, I sometimes wonder how I would react if caught in the middle of a terrorist attack. Perhaps it is because I am a passionate video gamer, but I’d like to believe that I would fight back should no escape route be available. Would a gun or any other weapon be available to me in such a scenario, I am sure I’d shoot at any terrorist in my way. Of course, considering that my only training is playing first person shooters late into the night with Cheetos crumbs on my ...

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