Stories published in April, 2012

The beginning and end of Anders Breivik

In this day and age of Islamophobia, Anders Breivik’s recent trial marks a significant shift in the way the word ‘terrorist’ is perceived. My perceived image of a ‘terrorist’ stems from my own country. Unfortunately, there is irrefutable evidence to prove this – be it the incidents external to Pakistan, such as the July 2005 London bombings and the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, or the list of internal suicide bombings. Since the 9/11 attacks, certain prominent characteristics have come to be associated with the word ‘terrorists’ including but not limited to: ‘Muslim’, ‘Pakistani’, ‘rightist’, ‘conservative’, ‘extremist’, ‘young’, ‘male’ and many others. July 22, ...

Read Full Post

My priority list for PCB

Undoubtedly, the new Pakistan Cricket Board management has been proactive in solving problems. Unexpectedly, it has been our new PCB Chairman who has come to the rescue. Zaka Ashraf seems to be more serious about his priorities than the previous management, but there remain issues that need immediate attention. So here’s my list of what should be top on the priority list: 1. International tours For more than a year, the Pakistani cricket team has not played at any venue outside of the Asian continent. Other than hosting a series in the UAE, we have had no practice on international pitches like Australia, England, South Africa and ...

Read Full Post

Saving Face: A masterpiece documentary

With a runtime of barely 40 minutes, Saving Face is short for a documentary, but it has the might to touch the soul with the potency of a powerful full length feature. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, this 2012 Academy Award winner for ‘Best Documentary (Short Subject)’ is a glimpse into the lives of several acid attack victims in Pakistan, their tormentors, and the good people fighting to help them find some light in the haunting darkness of their situation. One of these Good Samaritans is Dr Mohammad Jawad, a ...

Read Full Post

Nasreen’s dismembered body didn’t scare me

Female body parts were found from different parts of Karachi, including Soldier Bazaar and Guru Mandar. One of the victims, whose body parts were found in the Guru Mandar area, was identified as Nasreen. As I looked at Nasreen’s body chopped into pieces that lay on separate tables in a smelly morgue, I did not shudder. Any normal person would have trembled, I think. I spent 15 minutes in that very room where her skinned parts were being inspected by medico legal officers (MLO). I roamed around, looking at her body for details; if I had not seen the body, I ...

Read Full Post

Professional beggars: More greedy than needy

Allah keh naam par 10 rupay dey dey beta. (Please give me Rs10 in God’s name, son.) Roti khila dey, tujhey ek naik aur khubsurat biwi miley. (Give me bread to eat and you will find a beautiful, decent wife) How many times have we heard this and cringed from deep within? Such phrases are played like rhythmic rhetoric every time you park your car on a signal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a feudal lord’s son who will throw acid on his wife, neither do I commute in a chauffeur driven, air-conditioned SUV. I’m a common Pakistani who walks the same streets like millions other ...

Read Full Post

It’s the law, stupid!

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s conviction for refusing to reopen a corruption investigation against the president consequently made him the first serving prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be convicted by a court. In a country like Pakistan, the list of firsts seems never ending. Regrettably, most firsts don’t give our people an opportunity to gloat. And yet yesterday, the Supreme Court gave us a first we can, or let me rephrase, we should take pride in. Some would question my assertion of believing that we have good reason to revel in our prime minister’s conviction. But this is bigger than ...

Read Full Post

Treat her like a lady, not a baby-making machine

Kaneez* has five young children with a small age difference between them. She works full-time as a domestic maid and takes short, rushed breaks in order to nurse her youngest child, a five-month-old infant. If her break becomes longer than the expected five minutes, she is severely rebuked by her employer.  Life is hard for Kaneez. Not only does her husband expect her to make ends meet, but also wants her to keep adding more children to the brood. Her children fight all the time, demand clothes and toys when she takes them grocery shopping and throw tantrums when their ...

Read Full Post

Celebrate with a light chocolate cake

When you are a follower of a club like Chelsea FC, you don’t come across many reasons to celebrate. However, this week in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final at Camp Nou, Chelsea against all odds beat the Spanish giants Barcelona to the final. Overjoyed by the victory of my club, I instantaneously decided to celebrate and came up with this interesting version of a chocolate cake. You can call it an imitation of chocolate fudge cake because of the exclusion of butter and sour cream, which have been replaced by corn oil and buttermilk, respectively. This recipe is ...

Read Full Post

Pul-e-Jawan in India: How talks can bring peace

The Pul-e-Jawan country forum in India, organised by the Citizen Media Network, convened in Delhi on April 14. It was a follow-up to an event in Kabul where citizen journalists and young peacemakers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India had met in February. This  event was organised just two days after the Pul-e-Jawan forum in Pakistan, which was hosted by Bytes for All in Islamabad on April 11 and April 12. So, where does the name Pul-e-Jawan come from and what is its aim? As their website states, “Pul-e-Jawan literally means ‘Bridges of Youth’ in Dari, as well as in Urdu and Hindi. The aim of Pul-e-Jawan is to transform the conflict in ...

Read Full Post

A reporter’s eye: Inside the Supreme Court

Among heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies and hovering helicopters, a horde of people marched towards the Supreme Court yesterday. As they crossed countless walk-through security gates with special entry cards in their hands, they looked excited about catching a glimpse of the soon-to-be-convicted prime minister. While it is totally in keeping with local tradition to create such a scene, at the contempt hearing yesterday, goras (foreigners) too joined us at the forefront. Inside courtroom number 4, the environment was electric. All seats in the courtroom were filled hours before the proceedings began. Besides lawyers, the room was packed with federal ...

Read Full Post