Stories published in June, 2012

Nadal and Djokovic? Enough with the repetition!

Wimbledon, since you have begun, just one request from an ardent tennis fan. Please, don’t let the final be between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The pattern of the matches between Nadal and Djokovic has become all too familiar, with the latter’s evil victorious smile really getting to me. The last four grand slam finals have only been between these two players and, except the recent French Open, it was Djokovic who ended up winning all matches. While Djokovic beamed and flaunted his trophies and prize money in front of the camera, poor Nadal got photographed with only a shield. While ...

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Educational emergency: Losing ‘Sim Sim Hamara’

Much to our disappointment, just a few weeks ago Pakistan lost the Urdu version of Sesame Street, commonly referred to as “Sim Sim Hamara”. Sadly, Sim Sim is no longer hamara. The USAID had invested over $65 million in “Sesame Street” undertakings in more than one dozen countries for over a decade. In Pakistan alone, the investment was around $20 million and was supposed to span over four years. Out of this $6.7 million has already been spent. It is a shame that the US has reason to believe that funds were mishandled much to the embarrassment of every Pakistani who has ...

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America, apologise!

Let’s cut right to the chase. The US government should apologise for last November’s tragic raid at Salala. I say this for three reasons. Firstly, Pakistani soldiers were killed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) firepower. Though the details remain unclear, and the incident may have been just a terrible accident, regardless of how it happened, the bottom line is that Pakistanis who should not have been killed were in fact killed. When such incidents occur in Afghanistan, and Afghan troops are killed by US or Nato troops, Washington describes them as “friendly fire” accidents and promptly apologises. America’s refusal to ...

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No stupid, banning Indian films will not help Pakistani films

Ayub Khan first banned Indian films in Pakistan in 1965. While it was a developing industry, the protectionist policy had a nationalist undertone rather than a solid economic rationale that would benefit filmmakers. Obscured by a political and nationalistic dimension, the long-term health of Pakistani cinema was ultimately hindered. Today, the debate regarding the ban on Indian films is prevalent amongst the film community. The idea is that through a protectionist policy one can adequately control competition, thus giving an edge to Pakistani films at the box office. The debate has been dominated by hardline filmmakers who insist that they can not only protect the ...

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How can you possibly ignore Veena?

What do you get when you put two Veenas in one place? Well, I would say daal mein zaroor kuch kaala hai!  Not one, but two Veena Maliks are going to star in the upcoming film, “Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai”. Veena has been working on this film since her appearance in the “Big Boss” series on Sony TV. Playing a double role, Veena is to portray a sharp and witty woman that we’re all familiar with as well as a softer side to the ‘always-in-news-for-every-wrong-reason’ diva. Spoiler alert: This comedy flick starts off when Dabu (Anand Balraj) ...

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Why rote learning (unfortunately) works for Pakistan

According to Charles Darwin, collaboration is the key to progress. He once said: It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. Inspired by Dr Ashraf Iqbal, Sugata Mitra and Ken Robinson, I went on to implement various forms of collaborative learning in my own classes to check if this model would be productive in our rigid educational system. I believe that just saying that we need to move away from rote learning is one thing, but actually attempting to do so is an entirely different thing. Having given it a shot, I was quite disappointed in ...

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Karachi’s killing fields: Gunshots that don’t touch our hearts

I met Hafiz Muhammad Waqas a day after he nearly died of gunshot wounds, in a target killing attempt. The electricity was out, Hafiz’s brother led me to a quiet dark room where he lay bandaged on a bed, talking over a cell-phone, assuring a concerned friend on the other side that ‘things were ok’. A single glance at his family, their traumatised looks, told me that things were not ‘ok’.  This brings me to the question I want to ask today: Who do we care for? Our families, friends or friends of friends? Technically speaking, it has a lot to do with ...

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Egging: Future leaders or cruel monsters?

Youth and change seem to be unsettling buzzwords in Pakistan’s political vocabulary amidst the pre-election rhetoric this year. With 63 per cent of its population under 25 years of age, the youth of Pakistan is undeniably the harbinger of this country’s future. But have we prepared our children to bring the change we constantly seek from our leaders? Last night, on a routine drive home from work, I spotted a car with a group of teenage boys perched on the panes of rolled-down car windows, slowly cruising at a busy junction near a bustling market in Islamabad. For a split ...

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My father: Absent but always present

My father, who is hardly ever here, Lines his walls with books As though to prevent them from falling in. The mismatched clothes he likes to wear, They smell like thoughts Of pine trees and topological functions. My father, whenever he is here, Lends me his helpless traits. And I shelve them obediently, my walls mere imitations. My father, when he goes anywhere, Carries his roots with him In the tilt of his head, in the clearing of his throat. My father, who is never here, Gifted me his hands - But not what was in ...

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What flood preparations?

Following predictions of heavy monsoon and subsequent flooding, the Sindh government has started planning for early recovery and relief by declaring emergency in nine sensitive districts. Relief camps are being set up, while ministers and officials concerned stated that “there is no prediction of floods; we have made all arrangements to mitigate the rain emergency”. Sindh has faced floods for the last two years amidst the same statements and promises made by responsible people of the government. Following these promises, the people of Sindh experienced much devastation. Every minister seems to have memorised the following statement: ‘for the last 10 years, ...

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