Stories published in March, 2012

An open letter to Nawaz Sharif

My dear Mian sahib, Once, when George Bush was sitting in his plush chair with lights illuminating every nook and cranny of the White House, he asked Musharraf – yes the one who dethroned you when your delusional state of mind made you believe that you were the next Khalifa of the Ummah (Muslim nation) – a question very similar to the one I have for you today. “Whose side are you on?” “Your side, Mr President,” replied Musharraf, loud and clear without giving it a second thought. I am no George Bush and unlike him, my house is in doom and gloom ...

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When will project Jihad end?

Another man, another terrorist incident, another country and another trail of blood-laden footprints leading back to Pakistan. Mohammed Merah, the French citizen of Algerian extraction finally gave himself up and, for better or for worse, was shot dead at the hands of French forces after a prolonged siege at a housing estate. The 23-year-old killed seven Frenchmen, including three solders, to “avenge Palestinian children” and protest against French military interventions overseas. According to media reports, Mohammad, just like so many others before him, visited Pakistan twice before going on his killing spree. The purpose, presumably, was to freshen up his shooting ...

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Mohammad Hafeez: The real Boom Boom

When Pakistan cricket was hit by the spot-fixing scandal two years ago, many thought it was going to be the cause of demise of cricket in the region. We felt humiliated when two of our best bowlers and the captain were found guilty of deliberately bowling two no-balls against England at Lord’s. However, soon after that Pakistan not only managed to reach the semi-finals of 2011 World Cup but also managed to destroy the number one Test side England by white-washing them 3-0. Pakistan’s success in the World Cup has been attributed to the sharp but sometimes erratic leadership of Shahid Afridi, ...

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Is Shahid Afridi above the law?

I joined in, wholeheartedly, as millions of Pakistanis rejoiced over our recent triumph on the cricket ground against Bangladesh. In a nation where cricket is followed with religious fervour, it is no surprise that cricket heroes like Shahid Afridi are exalted to the level of saints. This may be the reason Afridi’s recent outburst, at the Karachi Airport, was swiftly brushed aside as justified, with no official follow-up save for a brief statement issued by the cricketer that implicitly condoned his actions. The public’s acceptance of his actions is disturbing to say the least. Granted, Afridi’s consistent contributions on the cricket ...

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A disappointed Pakistani Christian

Dear Pakistani Muslims, Pakistan has been hell for my family and I. Yes, we get Christmas and have a few churches here and there and attend the same schools as the rest of you, but life as Christian minorities has been torture for us. I had to carpool  in a public van to a convent school that had the richest and most influential of Pakistani Muslims in attendance. I shared class rooms with the most spoilt and unforgiving spawn of business tycoons, politicians, smugglers and architects who called me a “karanti”. A karanti is a derogatory, slang term for dark Christians, because of course ...

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Pawnay 14 August: Silence for brilliance

A theatre play about Pakistan, revolving around the theme of August 14 which sports characters like Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Dr Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Maulana Shaukat Ali Johar does not sound like your average musical advocating freedom of sexual orientation – and thus, it perhaps does not warrant the same media attention. Even I would not have attended it had it not been for a violent strike that paralysed the city and left me looking for some aesthetic relief. To my surprise, I was told that the play is not only running but pulling packed audiences. I was lucky ...

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Pakistani diplomats and misplaced priorities

Every year one or two groups representing the German Journalists Centre visit Pakistan on a trip sponsored by the Pakistan Embassy. Information such as the aim of the visit, its outcome and the selection criteria is, however, kept confidential.  Before their departure, the group is introduced to the history and culture of Pakistan, along with the ongoing developments in the country, the serious challenges they can face while there and ways to handle them. Recently, Mr Mazhar Javed, the acting ambassador of Pakistan in Germany, accompanied by Mr Ghulam Haider, Press Counselor Pakistan Embassy Berlin, briefed a group of such journalists who ...

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My dream for Pakistan

A couple of months ago I witnessed an elderly man, approximately 70 years old, being violently shoved off the side of the road by a policeman who was clearing the way for a 10-car protocol of a federal minister. Incidents like these are not rare and it seems as though we have grown accustomed to them. But that doesn’t mean we don’t think they are wrong. You often hear people arguing about ‘which hidden arm’ is behind specific problems in our country; whether it’s the politicians, RAW, or the army - it’s an endless debate. But in truth, the average Pakistani just wants to ...

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Why you need to cut us some slack

Stress is hoping against hope that the History notes you have been reading till 1 am, with your brain telling you to go to sleep, will somehow show up on the examination paper tomorrow. Stress is a row of kids sitting in an examination room, suddenly turning around in their seats to laugh – nobody has any idea what the numbers swirling on the Math paper actually mean. Stress is the sleeplessness of many a youngster, whose parents expect them to churn out just as brilliant results as their older siblings have had done in their student life. Stress is trying to ...

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Why the Pakistan Army makes state policies

It is difficult to assess whether the Pakistan Army is naïve or strategically calculated to step in the Supreme Court on the Memogate scandal. Obvious, however, is the fact that the critical step has brought the Army out in public, where previously only politicians and bureaucrats were mocked and sorted out. The Pandora’s box has popped open and an influx of articles criticising the unlimited power of the armed forces on defense, foreign and domestic political policies of Pakistan have been unleashed. While political pundits have declared the notion that the army makes the foreign, defense and domestic political policies of Pakistan as a ‘fact’– ...

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