Stories published in September, 2010

Guess who’s coming to dinner

If you are dragged feet first to a dinner your intuition is warning you against, what are the chances of it actually turning out to be a fun evening? Zilch. Especially if you’re coaxed to go not because of your scintillating company, but just to make up the numbers. One lone Pakistani woman at a restaurant table in a Pakistani joint should be chaperoned by another female desi, especially with the other diners being men. In case you’re thinking that these men must be in the league of Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp or even Ali Zafar, please disabuse yourself of that delicious notion. ...

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In defense of the status quo

Right now, news of a possible regime change is dominating the mainstream media. Active enthusiasm in some quarters shows that euphoria after the elections of  February 18, 2008 has fully subsided and has been replaced by plain disgust. If the demographics of the wary public are to be taken into consideration, it is again some sections of the affluent middle class which are pressing for the regime change and are ready to support even unconstitutional means. However, this time the buck does not seem to stop at regime change as a sizeable number either wants democracy to be completely purged or at least temporarily ...

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Why should I pay a flood tax?

As the flood waters start to recede and the government gears up for rehabilitation, it plans on putting the burden on the tax paying segment of the public. It will be people like you and me who are going to pay flood tax while our friends riding around in SUVs will have a good laugh. The government planned a one time tax that would be deducted from the taxpayers’ salary via property tax, while the 98.4 per cent of the non tax paying population will get away with more than just not paying tax. I, for one, am not in favor of ...

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Rocking for a good cause

“Pakistan kay mayanaaz moseekar Mekaal Hasan Band ab apnay fun ka muzahira karaingay, please zordaar talion say in ka istakbaal karain“ This was the opening line to the Sufi Night organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in association with Pakistan National Council of Arts held at the PNCA auditorium on September 28, 2010. It was an invite only event which was held to raise funds for the flood victims. After the khabarnama style welcome by the host, Mekaal Hasan got on the stage and explained that the performance would be unplugged and people familiar with the set list would recognize the ...

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In the commune: The worst ex you know

Earlier this week an angry young woman caused a bomb scare that forced a Pakistan bound PIA plane carrying her former boyfriend to land in Stockholm. The man was on his way to get married when his ex called the Canadian police, warning them that he was carrying explosives. According to tabloid Aftonbladet, she did this because she was unhappy with their separation. We asked Tribune bloggers what the worst thing an ex they know has ever done. Anam Ashraf Ali: Once back in high school (when hormones are raging) a girl hacked into her ex-boyfriend’s account (who at that time was supposedly double/triple timing ...

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Flood relief: A US helicopter pilot’s tale

I am an American helicopter pilot in Pakistan.  My colleagues and I came because Pakistan and its people are enduring the aftermath of a devastating flood.  We were ordered to be here, and we miss our homes, but most of us are glad to help because we believe it’s the right thing to do. I did not know much about Pakistan before I arrived here.  I knew of the food.  I knew of monsoons and Mohenjo Daro, Karachi and the Khyber Pass, but I had no concept of what Pakistan looked, felt, or sounded like. I even thought many Pakistanis ...

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Was a fourth military coup averted in Pakistan?

Hardly. Better still, there wasn’t a coup to start with. Monday’s well-timed meeting between the so-called ‘troika’ – the President, Prime Minister, and the Army chief – is being widely interpreted as having averted a possible collapse of the elected Zardari-Gilani government. There is no word from the military’s media people on the meeting but the president’s media office took the liberty of releasing a statement renewing the commitment of Gen. Kayani, and that of the President and Prime Minister, to defending democracy. If there’s anyone who created a frenzy about an extra-constitutional [read: military-engineered] change, it is the elected government ...

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Illiterate democracy

In a democracy that thrives on fake degrees, it is perhaps little wonder that our political leaders do not think much about the financial woes of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). So what if 9,000 PhD’s are unable to continue with their studies? So what if our education system, already in a terrible state, falls into oblivion? No, the money should much rather be spent on extravagances such as expensive renovations of the Parliament Lodges (Rs60 million) and serving meals at the 2009-2010 budget session (Rs11.5 million for just half a month) and an $11 million statue to commemorate a ...

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Just a spoonful of sugar

How much of a crisis is the sugar crisis? We use sugar in our tea, coffee and dessert. I will reluctantly concede that some cannot survive without their sweetened tea and coffee but I refuse to believe that we cannot go without dessert. Sure enough, if sugar were to disappear from the face of this country tomorrow, our caffeine would be a lot blander and our desserts fewer in number. But our health will not deteriorate and our sweet tooth will not be left unsatisfied (fruits, anyone?). So what’s the outrage all about? For those who gasp at the thought ...

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Go, Musharraf go… once more

October 1 is set to be a momentous day when the erstwhile General Musharraf will return to the Pakistani political stage in a long-awaited and much speculated campaign. Musharraf’s entry into the political arena is exciting news for his new army. This new army is neither armed nor khaaki clad; this army of ‘Musharrafites‘ or ‘Mushies’ for short, emanate from the educated middle and upper class who view him as a saviour from all the ills that plague us today. This new army, primarily Facebook based, is eager to welcome him back into the country citing his previous stint in office ...

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