Stories published in August, 2011

Celebrating Eid: for dummies

Eid Mubarak Pakistan! The end of Ramazan is upon us, and the time for celebration is nigh. May all of us have a safe and enjoyable Eid, full of contentment, love and warmth. Here for you, we have Eid related tips that may come in handy! Give them a read, and do share any tips of your own in the comments section. 1) You are not Arnold Schwarzenegger. We get it. You’ve got at least one firearm, and enough ammo to liberate a small country, but hawai (aerial) firing to celebrate anything – least of all, Eid, is just stupid. Countless ...

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Chand Raat in the city of lights

In Karachi, chand raat is one of those nights that you just do not want to miss. The city of lights turns in to the most joyous, bustling and happy cities. From Zamzama to Nazimabad, shopping centers are inundated with excited families, all preparing for Eid. In fact, Karachites are so adamant on celebrating Eid in their typical fashion, that they do not let anything get in their way. I remember a couple of days ago when about 15 people were killed here. Despite this, the city was bursting with life and shopaholic women. When it comes to shopping in the ...

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This is PTV: but for its glories ….

So much has changed. Leafing through Agha Nasir’s This is PTV is like returning to one’s ancestral home, or listening to old songs. It is not nostalgic trickery or old age delusion that tends to paint the past in golden hues. Pakistan Television and PIA were those few organizations that, though growing under the shadow of a harsh military dictatorship, were the saving graces of the time. We had something to be satisfied about. Here and there we had men in saddle, in bureaucracy and professions particularly, who were competent and wanted to do something. They were the regime’s counterweights ...

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Minority rights: A tale of two divorces

It is the middle of the year 2004; two young married ladies, Parveen Amanual and Asia Tabassam, who reside in the same locality of Rahim Yar Khan, come to the court. They are both hard done by their husbands, and want to get a divorce. Their divorce cases were, thus, duly filed against their husbands. By the end of 2004, within a period of four months, Asia Tabassam was able to get her divorce, and she is now re-married living with her second husband and three kids. Parveen Amanual, however, did not have the same luck. It is 2011, ...

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Great grades mean nothing if you don’t have a chaperone – or a Y chromosome

Meet Maheen*: a hardworking final year A’ Level student. By hardworking, I mean that when Maheen received a B in Chemistry, having lost out by a mark, she stayed back in the library for hours on end every day for three weeks, to finally get an A in the finals. It’s that kind of hard work that translated into 14 As in her O’ Levels, seven of which were A*. Naturally, she had straight As in her AS Levels. She is the kind of girl that you assume will apply to the best colleges. But Maheen is not calling the ...

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On ape-administered territories and a hero’s kidnapped son

A famous Pakistani musician had a Facebook status last week that read, “Planet of the Apes: Based on true events in Pakistan.” This is debatable. The Planet of the Apes franchise is based on themes of racism and intolerance based on dogmatic beliefs and bigotry. While the 1968 original and its four sequels were much more explicit in delivering this argument, with scenes, props and bits of dialogue quite clearly meant to illustrate the point, the recent reboot/prequel portrayed the problems in a much more sublime manner, and focused more on ambition, abuse and revolution, all linking to the same ...

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Why I think women are stupid

Women, no matter how smart and intelligent they are professionally, are horrendously stupid and myopic where men are concerned. They can be very assertive with everyone, but place them opposite their lover and they start stuttering (it’s happened more than once with me). They are bosses at work, running their own business or office and yet will let a loser run their lives for them. Why? Why do they make monkeys of themselves repeatedly in their intimate relationships with men? The sheer stupidity displayed by otherwise sensible women in the presence of a man whom they love is baffling. Is it the way we are ...

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Video Blog: Forgotten floods – daily travel, daily trouble

Earlier this week I was in Kasur to produce a news feature on the flood affected areas. In order to get to the village Mastikhey, which is one of the last border villages, we ended up walking in fields which were submerged by knee to thigh length water. On our way back, the villagers gave me a ride on a buffalo cart where I learned just a little about the hardships the villagers face on a daily basis. Pakistan’s 2011 floods continue, but who is paying ...

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Three Ps of Ramazan: Pakoras, piety and politics

Those who believe that piety and politics can never be mixed have obviously never spent Ramazan in Islamabad. Anyone who has a cause to promote, or an issue to lobby hosts a lavish iftar, complete with small talk and even smaller samosas. In the spirit of a month where forgiveness and charity are supposed to be paramount, the guest list does not take into account political differences. The iftar hosted at the Serena hotel by the Indian High Commission reflected the casual nature of these gatherings. There was meant to be a strict guest list with the coveted invitation, not ...

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Let’s play: 20 questions for Zulfiqar Mirza

Sindh’s former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza has announced his resignation from the government in yet another media circus. During TV interviews he made personal attacks against journalists and politicians, making references to their facial features and appearance. However, his emotional outburst left lots of questions on the policy of the government unanswered. A few questions I would like to ask Mr Mirza are: 1) If you claim to be so truthful, why have you never made these revelations before? 2) According to you, Rehman Malik does everything on the discretion of President Asif Ali Zardari. Why then is Rehman Malik accused of ...

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