Stories published in May, 2012

Columnists vs burger babies: And the winner is…

Imran Khan and the PTI’s ‘tsunami’ are both ever present in today’s online, print and social media society in Pakistan. Views vary but it is two groups in particular that I will speak about in my post today. On one hand, you have Pakistan’s regular columnists who heavily criticise the Tehreek-e-Insaf, and on the other, you have PTI Facebook fans and Twitterati – the newly politicised urban youth or famously titled ‘burger-baby revolutionaries’ that support and defend the party. I don’t want to generalise, so just to be clear when I say columnists, it includes a newspaper regular who has ...

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No IPL cheerleaders for hypocrites

IPL never appealed to me as a concept; I pretty much perceived it as a cheap rip off of the English Premier League. As it happened, I watched an innings in which both Chris Gayle and A B De Villiers were on the field and, well, I got hooked. With time the awareness sunk in that IPL was nothing like EPL. The recent off-field drama has brought IPL into the lime light much more than the on-field performances. These include antics from Bollywood superstars along with allegations of spot fixing. With all the glamour and dazzle of the IPL, it is ...

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Coke Studio should try being less like itself

After the great letdown of a listless and overproduced episode one, one wondered if episode two of Coke Studio would be any better. Bilal Khan would be there with his viral, pop appeal, Atif Aslam, the top star of the industry with a solo track, and perhaps this time around, one hoped, some edgier material might sneak through. And one track most remarkably did. Khabaram Raseeda by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad is stunning. It is at its basic best – passionate, raw qawwali and the Coke treatment for once adds much to it. It seems ...

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Kashmir: When the dogs came marching in

In ‘When the Ants Came’ (Leiningen Versus the Ants) Carl Stephenson (1893-1954) pitched Leningen against the invasion of mighty ants that ‘are the size of a man’s thumb consuming everything in their path and can pick the flesh of a horse in six minutes.’ Stephenson wrote (the invading swath of ants is), “Ten miles long, two miles wide – ants, nothing but ants!” Replace the ants by dogs and you have this story replicated in Kashmir, without of course any Leningen to fight this invasion. The invasion of dogs in Kashmir may have already started; on April 23 at least 51 people were ...

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Education must not be ignored in the next budget

Recently, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced the government’s top priorities for the next budget. Electricity and employment top the list. Although this is all good news, I would like to ask our premier, what about education?  Without a doubt, the electricity crisis is the most important issue Pakistan is facing right now. The country is suffering immeasurably due to shortage of electric power and our economic wheel has stopped. However, this issue is as old as our current government. Four years have gone by, but our government has yet to take serious notice of the crisis. As elections are expected during the ...

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My initiation into a morally bankrupt society

A few days back, taking advantage of my weekly holiday, I decided to renew my passport. Fearing that a late arrival at the passport office would lead to having to wait in a never ending line, I made sure I reached the premises at around 8 am. Having paid the renewal fee of Rs3,000, I joined a few others, who also wanted to take advantage of the early hours. At the same time, there were many ‘shady’ agents outside, who were keen on offering their ‘expertise’ for down-the-table payment. I brushed them off, thinking that after all; it was only a ...

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Revisiting the Gojra tragedy

Religious minorities are facing numerous hardships and increasing insecurity in Pakistan. According to an official report, over 96% of Pakistan’s population is Muslim, the remaining consisting of religious minorities such as Christians, Hindus, Ahmadiyas, Parsis, Buddhists and Sikhs.  One such incident of religious violence against the minorities is the Gojra incident; when a group of Muslims in 2009 set the establishments on fire and looted the Catholic church in the Gojra district of Toba Tek Singh. Eight Christians were killed as a result of this incident, while many were injured. Later, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a report which stated that ...

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The Singaporean Rice saga

Karachi wedding receptions are very different from those in any other region of Pakistan. While the bride and groom are (supposed to be) the main attraction, it’s the food that takes the limelight. A menu can either make or break a wedding, and you’d be darned if you selected something the guests end up hating – and don’t even get me started on the menu-bashing uncles and aunties who’ll torture you for weeks (and even months) to come! Keeping in view Karachiite’s mindsets, caterers try adding new and exciting dishes to their portfolios, giving the gossip-mongers something positive to talk about. Fish ...

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Changing times: ‘I always wanted a daughter’

Chandini is only about four feet, nine inches tall. Her body seems to have naturally bent from the strain of having carried four children, one after another, on her waist for about a decade now. She had her first child when she was 17-years-old.   She ruefully points at her first born, a boy, who was desperately trying to reattach a broken arm to a doll’s body, and says: I took one look at the child, and I couldn’t stop my tears She had wanted a daughter. Jagat, Chandini’s husband, earns his living by screening the trash and selling what is possible to the scarp ...

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The misery of being a Pakistani sports reporter

Often I think about what I would write in my suicide note. I can’t really write that I killed myself out of boredom or the fact that being a sports journalist in Pakistan is equal to being dead. But you can’t kill something that is already dead, so I’d say that being a sports journalist is like being undead. I realised I’m undead last week right in the middle of the dancing and celebrating with my fellow Chelsea supporters, when I felt the need to kill myself, understanding that covering Pakistani football for two years has never given me a ...

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