Stories published in April, 2011

The clean shaven, liberal Taliban

A few days ago, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government formed a committee, headed by a female legislator, to probe the matter of university teachers “harassing and physically abusing” their female students. Abuse of female students by teachers is not a new phenomenon. At least those who study or teach on campuses know this fact. It is somewhat an open secret. However, the scale to which this crime has grown , no longer allows it to remain hushed up. The issue has, in fact, become the talk of the town in Peshawar. While there is no official confirmation as to who was involved the ...

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Royal wedding: Everyone’s invited

With headlines such as “Shahbaz Sharif calls for Karachi province” and “Twin attacks on Navy buses” doing the usual rounds on the front page of just about every major local newspaper, one can’t help but use all the media spotlight surrounding the royal wedding as an escape. After all, it is a fairy-tale of an event and something that allows those who watch it to think about things that are decidedly better than the humdrum of their daily lives. Prince William, second in line to the British throne and elder son of the heir to the throne, Prince Charles and ...

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Rio: Fly, but not too high

Pixar has spoiled me. Because, this studio continuously raises its own bar, I have come to associate digitally animated films with well written characters, poignant, heartfelt dialogue and nuanced story telling. Perhaps I should lower my standards, because Rio does not measure up. It is not a family movie that appeals to children and adults on different levels. It is a movie for children and as such it’s not bad. Watching this movie in the theatre was fairly enjoyable. The bright colors, 3D effects, caramel popcorn and people passing out Rio cookies (what a clever advertising campaign that just fell in to ...

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Your daughter did not get in to KGS

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me on the phone. He sounded extremely excited, “My daughter got into Karachi Grammar School!” I was surprised as the KGS office wasn’t supposed to announce results until April 29. Curious, I decided to investigate. “Which grade?” I asked. “Nursery,” was the reply. “Who took the interview?” “Oh, we were not interviewed at all.” My friend explained that a distant relative had given him a registration form and he had taken his daughter for an admission test to the Marriot – where they were offered admission on the spot. “There were close to 20 other applicants,” my friend told ...

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The Supreme Court can do better

The whole nation looks to the honourable Supreme Court as the last resort for provision of justice and redressal of longstanding grievances. Ordinarily, legal cases pass through a long arduous process of litigation in lower courts, especially in civil matters, before they reach the Supreme Court for the last round of litigation. It is no secret that the lower judiciary, functioning under the direct supervision of district judges, is by and large, desperately inadequate in dealing with jurisdiction, legal rights, application of the law in its totality to given cases and conduct of evidence. Lacunas are left in orders and ...

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Pakistan’s victory = Misbah’s victory

On a pitch that offered pace and bounce, especially if the bowler was willing to bend his back, Ravi Rampaul did well in reducing Pakistan to 12 for 3 as the top batting order of the greens disintegrated. Although they were not defending a big target, it looked as if West Indies could make a match of it at that point. But this was a short-lived dream, as Misbahul Haq’s calm presence at the crease not only assured Pakistan victory in the match but also an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five match series. Recently, Misbah has faced heavy criticism ...

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Review: Jabbar’s ‘living, breathing, bustling Pakistan’

Fanning optimism may not have been right for Javed Jabbar at a time when people, by and large, are coming out of the state of denial, the comforting persecution complex is losing its hold on the paranoid national psyche, the intelligentsia has slackened its search for scapegoats; the fatigue of complacence has started to hurt; and a kind of rudimentary self examination is in process. His new book, “Pakistan – Unique Origins; Unique Destiny?”, which counts 57 blessings that will lighten any heart heavy with doubts and misgivings and lull some back to the stupor they were just waking from, ...

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Noisy revolutionaries: The worst kind of pollution

I have just finished reading an Environmental Protection Agency report on pollution. It talks of the many ways our environment gets degraded. Besides other kinds of pollution it talks of noise, pointing out that when we make a noise we cause a degradation of our environment. Slogan chanting, it would appear then, is a major cause of environmental pollution in our times. Irrespective of whether we shout to welcome a revolution or to decry American imperialism, the noise causes pollution and affects our health. Let me clarify here, however, that it is just me, myself, risking my neck here by making the ...

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Bajaur’s heroes die fighting

To the rest of the world, they were just four names, but Bajaur will pay a heavy price for them. The deaths of the four Maliks and a lashkar chief in the blast that occurred this week in the area was the death of Fata’s voice against terrorists. One of the men who was killed, Malik Munasib, was a light hearted, jolly fellow, whose company would make anyone come alive. He was brave but it took him a while to realise that his fight in Afghanistan against the Russians was a political game, no better than the one being played ...

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Dolled up to say goodbye

Nothing will hit us more than the prospect of leaving school. We haven’t even sat our AS levels, but we can already feel the pinch. And no event sums this up more than the end of year farewell. Whether your school farewell takes place in a fancy hotel, or whether it consists of you passing around biscuits in the science labs, whether it’s for the Matric, O’ Level, Inter and A’ Level, the fact that you will be this dolled up to say goodbye must strike a chord somewhere. Hence this conversation in Physics class: “Do you think orange would be too ...

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