Stories published in February, 2012

Why we hate Misbah

First of all, let me apologize for the misleading headline. This is not a hate article about Misbahul Haq, nor is it one which supports him. When Pakistan lost to England, almost all of us decided to blame him for the defeat. Like all of our country’s misfortunes and losses, we decided to make our captain the scapegoat. Let us recall the events that culminated in Pakistan’s defeat. We had an opener (Hafeez) who didn’t score a single run, Afridi who got run out for three and didn’t take any wickets, Umar Gul who got hit around by Pietersen, a pitch as dead ...

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Mob rule wins again

We are peaceful people and we act with the administration’s approval, were the words of one of the clerics leading the charge to shut down an Ahmadi religious centre in Rawalpindi. Surprise, surprise, they succeeded last week. So is it safe to assume that the administration approves of violence against minorities? Stupid me, that question was already answered a month back, when a police officer decided to side with the mob instead of the law. In true testament to the competence and dedication to duty of the Punjab police, he lied to innocent victims of a mob threatening violence and ...

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What the Oscar means for Pakistan and Iran

When the name Asghar Farhadi was called out as the winner of the prestigious award in the category for Best Foreign Language Film, for his film ‘A separation’, I immediately texted my best friend, who happens to be Iranian, congratulating her, while doing a little dance of happiness for a fellow Muslim country’s achievement. Many of my Muslim friends also updated their statuses, even though they were not Iranians. However, when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s name was called for Pakistan, in the category Best Documentary, Short Subject for her film “Saving Face”, my entire Facebook feed flooded ...

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Who wins the lawn war?

Elsewhere in the tropics the cold season is followed by a season of pleasant temperatures before the heat of the summer hits. However, in our part of the world (read Pakistan), temperatures shoot up early in the year as a gazillion brands of lawn engage in a heated battle and try to outdo each other with psychedelic prints and flamboyant campaigns. There are the Icons and the Crescents, the originals and the not-so-originals; there are those who can afford to have Indian celebrities as endorsers and those who get by by hiring local anorexics. For mere spectators like us, this ...

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The Oscar conundrum

Pakistan’s first Oscar moment was momentous, to say the least. That one of our own was blessed enough to walk in front of the best of the best of the world cinema and claim her place within their ranks is a testament to the resolve of the Pakistani spirit, and an ovation to our limitless talent. At the same time it has been mired in the fact that it does portray a side that we would rather brush under the carpet. There is some truth to both sides of the story. To walk up and be awarded the golden statue, which ...

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Outlandish Kamran Shahid

I’ll be honest; I don’t like Kamran Shahid one bit. He’s brash, uncouth and thoroughly ungentlemanly; and if I were a woman, I’d make a deal with the devil before allowing myself to be found within a 100 meter radius of the guy who conducts a “serious” journalistic talk-show with his chest hair on display like it’s still the 70s. Seriously. A man who seems to have made it his “purpose” to make women cry on cable television is not the kind of man I was brought up to respect. I’m positively tickled by the fact that of all the people ...

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Maya Khan, apology not accepted

Call her a vigil-aunty, call her a vapid morning show host, call her what you must, you have to admire the sheer tenacity of Maya Khan in her refusal to back down, lay low and do the one thing she needs to do to end her misery – apologize for a mistake. I had hoped never to see Maya appear on a TV screen again – in any other country, she would have been fined (along with her producers and the media group) faced a legal inquiry and been banned from TV. Unfortunately, in Express News’ desire to produce “the greatest ...

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What to learn from the series against England

The Pakistan vs England series has finally concluded in the UAE and as the records state, we managed to beat England 3-0 in the Test series. However, England were good enough to beat us 4-0 in the ODIs and also 2-1 in the T-20s. Sadly, the latest defeats have spoiled the show for us big time. The losses have undoubtedly exposed our batting line up. If we look at the stats, we owe the Test series win to our spin bowling and the England side’s inability to play our bowlers. But here is what we have been doing in the batting department ...

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Feeling regret in the markets of Parachinar

I cautiously embarked upon my journey through the tribal area in FATA, this was my first visit to the Kurram Agency. I stayed in Parachinar for six days, an area that had succumbed to sectarian violence, and was now trying to recuperate. Although the community has inflicted much of this violence upon itself, I was impressed by what they had learnt from their trials and how they were shaping their lives now. Having heard so much about the violence that prevailed in Parachinar, I assumed a guarded pose upon reaching the disputed area. To my surprise, the Kohat-Parachinar road, once ...

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Debt and taxes: PPP’s planned loss

Elections are around the corner and the political heat is building-up. Soon there will be rallies, corner meetings and slogan chanting. Despite issues of massive magnitude, PPP’s coalition government will, hopefully, complete its term. But they might not wish to win the next general elections. The case I am trying to make is based on economic realities. Let’s analyse why. In the past four years of government, Pakistan’s economy faced tough challenges; two floods, financial mismanagement and lack of governance in all aspects of government functions, pushing the country into a deep economic crisis. Pakistan’s total public debt, which was Rs.6 trillion ...

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