Stories published in March, 2013

Maria Toor Pakay: Defying tradition to play sports

It was in 2009 when the world first learned about Maria Toor Pakay – the brave, talented 22-year-old Pashtun female squash player, who hails from the tribal region of South Waziristan – an area that is considered to be the most conservative, and is hence dubbed as the ‘most treacherous place on earth’. It is not very often, if at all, that we hear about women, especially from this part of the world, who have managed to break strict cultural norms and traditions in order to pursue a career in sports, much less a career in anything. I admit that when I first heard Maria’s ...

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Dear women, equality comes with a price!

Pakistan is now producing more female doctors than male ones and it is not a good sign. According to some of the senior doctors and medical staff, Pakistan’s health system had won the gender equality battle at the cost of productivity. More women are now pursuing medicine, as compared to their male counterparts, which is affecting the health system adversely since a large number of women abandon the profession after completing medical school. Due to the open-merit system introduced by the Supreme Court in 1991, which abolished the 60:40 ratio for male and female students in medical college admissions, men and ...

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Backpacking across Thailand – on a green passport!

While our group of five was contemplating on whether to hit the Maldives, Seychelles or Bora Bora for our hard-earned annual leaves, a cursory look at our budget and the tempting rupee-baht conversion rate made the decision all the more easy! Trip Advisor’s pricey recommendations notwithstanding, the vibrant streets of Bangkok and breezy beaches of Koh Phangan provided an alluring escapade from the noise and din of a fertiliser complex. From an array of water sports to top-of-the-line garments for shopping aficionados, all night beach parties to umpteenth resorts lined with deck-chairs and sun umbrellas, there is a magical appeal to Thailand’s pristine ...

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Pakistan was made for all the right reasons and religious extremism was not one of them!

The discussion regarding the object of the creation of Pakistan, stirred by Mr Yaqoob Khan Bangash and Mr Yasser Latif Hamdani in the recent weeks resulted in very useful and illuminating arguments. Both sides have given solid grounds to prove their point of view. I would like to give my understanding of the issue based on my study of history and analysis of different intellectuals including Mr Bangash and Mr Hamdani. To understand the object of Pakistan and the vision of our founding fathers, we need to keep in view the circumstances which forced the demand of Pakistan and the people who struggled for it. As regard the circumstances, ...

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Pervez Musharraf deserves a second chance, our economy needs him!

Over the last five years, one question that has remained of integral significance amongst political contentions has been; was former military chief Pervez Musharraf better than this current ‘battered but not shattered’ democracy? You can easily find a group of people who believe that his ‘martially-democratic’ epoch from 1999 to 2008 was better than the current democracy we have. There is no doubt about it; his policies were a huge turn on for economic developments and they deserve extolment. But on the way, Mr Commando made some huge mistakes which instigated a drastic series of social and political turmoil. Even if I try to use sasti (insubstantial) ...

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Elections 2013: Make it your decision, vote!

Come election year, political parties bring out the big guns to strengthen their political campaigns and make their case for the right to the electoral mandate. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has offered higher minimum wages in an effort to appeal to the masses, or perhaps, cloud voter decisions with promises of money The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has resigned from the Sindh government because evidently it takes five years to realise that an alliance is dysfunctional. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has shiny new buses and underpasses to show “real development”; even ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf is all set to return and ...

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Gajar ka halwa: A little bit of Pakistan in Minnesota

Finding a desi sweet-dish here in Minnesota is not an easy task, so in order to extinguish that deep craving I had, I decided to make gajar ka halwa at home and fell absolutely in love!  Gajar ka halwa is a traditional Pakistani dessert, made with carrots, milk, butter and sugar. Even with the relatively small list of ingredients, there are different ways of making this dish. Some folks fry the carrots first, and then add the milk. I use my method of cooking the carrots in milk first until the liquid evaporates, simply because that’s how I learned to make it in middle ...

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Nehru and Edwina: A subcontinental love

The relationship between India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Edwina Mountbatten has long been shrouded in mystery and secrecy. It’s a no-go area for the Congress which has always shielded the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty from controversies. Congressmen certainly don’t want it to become a matter of public discourse. However, the details about their intimate relationship are now in public domain in the form of a book. Indian Summer by Alex Von Tunzelmann offers a vivid account of a special bond the couple shared and complex relationship between Edwina and her husband Louis Mountbatten with the latter playing a role of a ...

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Faysal Bank Super Eight T20: Nail-biting excitement!

The third edition of Faysal Bank’s Super Eight T20 tournament is ongoing in Lahore. This tournament along with the usual T20 Cup was discarded in favour of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), but due to the postponement of the PSL, it is once again added to the domestic calendar as the main T20 event. This tournament is important in many ways; not only will it help Pakistan find fresh talent, it will also decide the one player from Pakistan who will qualify for the Champions League in September this year! The format of the tournament is simple. Eight teams are divided into two groups ...

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I’m a sinner because I am left-handed

I am left-handed. I eat with the left hand – always have, always will. I can’t help it! It’s called being “left-handed”, though mercifully enough, it’s still not classified as a transmittable disease…yet! “You’re eating with your left hand, beta!” “Yes, auntie, I know. I’m left-handed”. (Now why do I always speak with an apologetic lilt when replying to aunties who could be better off minding their own businesses?) “Oh, you poor child! I didn’t realise you’re a lefty. I feel so sorry for you, beta. Didn’t your parents teach you its haraam to eat with the left hand”? “Auntie, I’m left-handed.” “Tsk tsk. Bechara (poor lad). ...

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