Stories published in September, 2011

The worth of a Pakistani life

I was recently unsettled by a report I read from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism – a private British non-profit organization based out of London. The unsettling report, states that 385 civilians have been killed by American drone strikes on Pakistan during the past seven years, including at least 168 children. One of the victims mentioned in this documented account, Din Mohommad, tragically lost a son, two daughters, and a nephew, with three of those children not old enough to go to school. While looking for official US responses to the report, I wasn’t surprised when they employed the infamous ‘stick ...

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What I learnt about life in Karachi

When you first come to live in Karachi, you are a bit anxious about how things are, and often get frustrated easily.  Slowly, however, you learn how to work the city. Here are some small lessons I have learned: Never talk to society women about where to buy lace; they’ll never shut up.  In fact they’ll talk so much about tailors and boutiques, if you could tap all that energy through some scientific magic, you’d have several gallons of petrol. If you see a woman who gets unusually animated when talking about her tailor, run for your life. Never get upset with a waiter who brings you your samosa with his fingers underneath ...

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The words that Sirajuddin Haqqani used

It couldn’t have been a coincidence. As I was surfing the internet today for my daily dose of khabrein, two stories appeared side by side. The first story was about the growing suspicions of theUS government that the Haqqani network had links to Islamabad. [[http://tribune.com.pk/multimedia/videos/263375/]] Yawn! On the not-so-other hand, the second story was about a recent statement of Sirajuddin Haqqani, in which he claimed that the group was no longer active in Pakistan. In his interview with Reuters, he claimed:  “Gone are the days when we were hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Now we consider ourselves more secure ...

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Evolution is false…and the Sun goes round the Earth

The Express Tribune received this letter to the editor recently, and I have taken it upon myself not only to reproduce the letter in full, but to reply to it in full as well. The letter Dear Editor: What evolutionists stumble over in their beliefs about evolution is, given enough time, any change is possible.  The more time, the more plausible the theory.  Sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t address the more important  question that asks about the mechanism that causes change. There isn’t a scientist in the world who can explain or demonstrate the step-by-step mechanism that evolved, for ...

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Good job, King Abdullah! But you need to do more

Last Ramazan I was in Saudi Arabia, mainly for the purpose of performing Umrah. However, I spent most time of my time in Riyadh with my sister. My trip was far from enjoyable, as being a driver myself, I was often agitated at my dependence on my brother-in-law. I constantly found myself waiting for him in order to get to malls and any other place that I wanted to visit. I felt so handicapped because I wasn’t allowed to drive. My sister, who used to drive frequently when she was settled in Dubai,  found it difficult to get used to the fact that women are not allowed to ...

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The choice between excelling and growing up

I taught A’ Level law for a good 8 years, and then I quit. I was dejected because I think I always ended up seeing my students as my children and I was appalled at what the system was making me do to them; focusing on just getting the much desired ‘A’. Lately, some students (not all) would start rolling their eyes or looking at their watches the moment I would talk to them about anything that might entice them into becoming better people. No, I did not preach in class but I did expect them to think about their ...

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The Taliban claim responsibility – do you?

If we get over our narrow-minded view of the world for a moment, there are many things that the Taliban can teach us. One, these fellows run a pretty tight ship and seem to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, unlike us. Two, they seem to have a strong sense of responsibility, unlike us.   About the former, I know nothing, about the latter, I want to say a few words. So this is how it goes. Somewhere in Norway a crazy caucasian gentleman blows up a building and then calmly proceeds to kill a few dozen kids on a ...

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The ‘curse’ of the PPP

Akbar Zaidi, one of the country’s foremost political economists, in his magnum opus ‘Issues in Pakistan’s economy’, discussed at length the Bhutto government of the 1970s.  The writer brought in a new side by delineating the causes for that government’s failure with regard to various aspects of policy making, including the legendary “bad luck” factor. The bad luck dynamic, in Zaidi’s analysis, comprised of some salient factors, both international and domestic, that contributed to the unwrapping of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) socialist economic agenda. These were the oil crisis of 1973 that led to high inflation and balance of ...

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Video blog: Fatima vs Bilawal Bhutto – a brighter future?

This video addresses the two bright youngsters of the Bhutto family, Fatima Bhutto and Bilawal Bhutto. Filmed in a way that encourages comparison, the imperative question asked is which one of the two could lead Pakistan to a better future. The name Bhutto is, most definitely, one that is familiar to each and every Pakistani. With Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Chairman of the PPP, emerged a family that would continue to play a strong role in Pakistani politics. Even though three of his four children were murdered, Fatima Bhutto and Bilawal Bhutto are continuing to carry the family legacy of an active ...

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Pak-US ties: Don’t kick the hornet’s nest!

Pakistan and the United States are currently embroiled in one of their biggest squabbles since the start of the war on terror which has led to intense speculation of American ground troops in Pakistan. Senator Rehman Malik has come out and said that no American troops will be allowed within Pakistan: “Pakistan will not allow boots on our ground, never. Our government is already cooperating with the US …  but they also must respect our sovereignty.” But it’s not like the Americans will listen to Pakistan or care for the sovereignty of one of its ‘allies’, as the Osama bin laden ...

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