Stories published in January, 2011

A World Cup without the trio

For Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, February 5 is judgment day – the day when their future in cricket will be decided. As the court’s verdict is pending, there are many questions floating in the minds of avid cricket lovers; will the players get a fair trial or is the ICC hell bent on making an example out of them? Are they really guilty of those charges? Setting these questions aside – as the answers will be given to us soon- I want to reflect on how their possible exclusion from the World Cup squad will affect the team ...

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Time to learn from the Indian army?

The verdict is out: a court martial comprising seven lieutenant generals of the Indian Army has found Lieutenant General P K Rath, (former 33 Corps Commander) guilty of involvement in the infamous Sukna land scam. This will be the first time in the history of the Indian army that a serving lieutenant general has been court-martialled. All eyes are now on lieutenant general (retd) Avadesh Prakash’s court martial, the main accused in the scam.  Another lieutenant general and a major general are facing ‘administrative action’ in the same case. Accountability: Indian style Ever since the case came into light in 2008, I have ...

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Talking about revolution: The domino effect

Strolling down the streets of Cairo, I notice the elegant mansions lining the banks of the river Nile and the well-heeled Egyptians in cafes. But the rows of slums and crowds of animated, ragged beggars running alongside asking for “baksheesh” were hard to miss. The yawning gap between the disempowered and the prosperous is all too evident in this bustling and colourful city. But the Cairo I remember from a long ago visit hardly bears any resemblance to the pulsating and fearless Cairo of today. Crowds roaring back at low-flying fighter jets in an effort to intimidate; valiant protestors forcing police back as ...

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Narnia loses its magic with Voyage of the Dawn Treader

It all started from a forgotten old closet in the largest mansion the Pevensies had ever seen. Today, five years later, Lucy and Edmund are still adventuring in Narnia in the third film installment The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The missing siblings This time, Peter and Susan do not accompany them. Do we miss William Moseley, who plays the boyishly cute Peter? Yes, we certainly do, but certainly don’t miss Anna Popplewell , who plays the conscientious, nagging and whiny Susan. Although it’s sad to see the Pevensies part ways I, for one, am glad that Susan ...

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A dummy’s guide to morality in Pakistan

Like everyone else, friends on my e-mail group became very active while discussing the recent media hype about Veena Malik. While the opinions came from a diverse group of people, one irritated friend questioned why people can’t seem to follow basic ‘Pakistani moral standards’. Reproduced below are the top 10 rules on Pakistani moral values that came out as actually being followed in modern day Pakistan: Pakistani moral values 101: Top 10 rules If a Pakistani man dates more than one woman, he is a Casanova. If a Pakistani woman dates more than one man, she is a “loose woman”. If ...

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Imitating art

I was at the Karachi airport, waiting, and then from the blessed corner of the lounge where several rosaries were placed on a long prayer mat the azan was called. I welcomed it as an omen that the departure of my flight was about to be announced. But this azan too did not herald the awaited prize. No announcement followed. Depressed, I remarked that this was the third azan I had heard being called while I sat in the same seat. “Just the third?” the passenger sitting next to me asked. “It is the fifth I have heard. That is how ...

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Davos Diaries: The West is not working

As I attend speak to various members of the 2,200 business elite, top politicians and journalists who have gathered at the annual World Economic Forum at Davos there is a sad realization in the air: the West is not working. The global polarization between the haves and have-nots is taking its toll on progress and if the Western world seeks to move forward it must bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Former President of the United States Bill Clinton addressed a gathering here. He said: “My concern is that businesses and governments in this difficult environment will see the ...

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Raymond Davis: Who dare point a finger at an American?

Earlier this week a US ‘diplomat’ shot two Pakistani men in broad daylight. Despite the dramatic nature of events there have been rational elements in our society who are still trying very hard to look at the issue objectively. In the interest of presenting a fair picture the media has produced criminal records of the men who were shot, there have been those who have tried to justify Raymond Davis’ actions by saying that Qartaba Chowk, the area of the shooting was unsafe and there are even some who have maintained that a ‘gora’ in Pakistan is always at risk. While many ...

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Pakistan army and the latent power of cinema

It’s safe to say that as a nation we don’t believe in the power of cinema. While it’s true that currently Lollywood doesn’t offer us much in terms of cinematic thrills, it doesn’t mean it has lost the power to deliver. Recently, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in collaboration with a private production company launched Faseel-e-Jaan Se Aagay, a drama series based on the true stories of the brave Pakistanis who stood firm in their fight against terrorism. The principal objective of this drama series is to pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives in the name of their ...

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What really happens in a newsroom

Red, white and black with sub-editors crawling around, The Express Tribune newsroom is like an animal farm coming to life. Enter anytime before 12:00 pm and the place will be dead. You’ll probably notice dust balls rolling around or a thick layer of dust on the keyboards. After 3:00 pm, the subbers start arriving. With a flash of pink or a dash of some other eye-blinding colour, and the clink clonk of the keyboard, the newsroom slowly starts coming to life. By 4:00 pm everyone is trying to finalise their slug sheet. (A slug sheet is a sheet (duh!) with a rough idea ...

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