Stories published in August, 2013

The US war on Afghanistan is over. Syria is the new project

“He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties….” You might be thinking that this is an excerpt from an Obama press conference citing the reasons for a strike against Bashar al Assad’s Syria. Yet, these words were spoken by George W Bush at the United Nations on 13 September 2002, and the above quote ends with…, “Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.” Some things never change. With the UN weapons inspectors pulling out of Syria with the “possible” evidence of chemical attacks, it ...

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Pakistanis – as charitable as we are corrupt!

What could I write about? I thought to myself, while taking a long drive down the smog filled roads of Sea View in Karachi, my birthplace and a city I keep returning to. Corruption, violence, poverty, slave labour, child abuse, acid victims, rape, gender discrimination. The possibilities are endless because we are an under-developed country with a plethora of topics ranging from the manic to the incredibly insane making lives quite exciting for photographers, journalists, documentary-makers and writers. Photo: Reuters Then, something remarkable happened. I was passing by one of the food stalls erected away from the beach area. A boy, barely eight-years-old, holding ...

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The most shameful defeat in the history of Pakistan hockey

To say that August 30, 2013, was the darkest day in Pakistan’s hockey history would not be an exaggeration. As the founders of the Hockey World Cup and four time world champions (in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994), it’s a shame that Pakistan could not even qualify to play in the 13th edition of the world cup matches this year. This is a terribly painful situation for a team which had once been a master of this game. Pakistan had a smooth passage into the last four Asia Cup tournaments, which was refreshing for the nation but then, as it ...

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What is inside a woman’s heart?

Take a peek inside a woman’s heart, A cluster of emotions, God’s masterpiece of art. It nurtures, cherishes and cares in love, Nothing else does it place before or above. Regard your mother and her affection, For she will put your happiness before her own without any condition. Have you seen inside your woman’s eyes? Your attention is all she seeks; it is for you that she sighs. Value your daughter the same way as you would your son, Educate and empower her; she too can be a big gun, For your adoration and applause, she will always love you, As a daddy’s girl, she will make you proud which shall ...

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Photojournalist Farrukh: A true inspiration!

I first met Farrukh when I was speaking at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) event in Karachi. I saw him sitting there on his motorised chair smiling and listening attentively. As soon as I was done speaking, I stepped down from the podium and went straight over to him to sit down and talk. Farrukh is an inspirational human being because he has not allowed his physical disability to slow him down. Below his neck, he only has command over one hand, with the rest of his body paralysed. However, he is a photojournalist who just had his first exhibition this year. Farrukh’s family ...

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Art gallery in Ahmedabad attacked: Are Pakistani artists no longer welcome in India?

Radical Hindu right groups – like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal – are known for their hooliganism and rabid communalism. It is therefore not surprising that they vandalise paintings and other works of art as well as burn literature when they find them not subscribing to their taste and political ideology. The recent attack on the art gallery in Ahmedabad, where the exhibition of a Pakistani artist’s paintings were on display, is the latest in their long list of criminality.  What is surprising, however, is the silence of the mainstream and liberal India. Apart from normal reports in newspapers, no ...

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What if Miley Cyrus was Pakistani?

First, it was Half-Life 3. Next, it was Ben Affleck. Now, it is Miley Cyrus’ turn. Over the last few days, my social media feeds have exploded with news of Miley’s raunchy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), where she shed her ‘good girl’ Hannah Montana image by performing some overly sexual dance moves while dressed in skimpy clothing. Although official sources reported that parents – especially those whose children had grown up idolising the Disney star – had filed numerous complaints, the reactions on my Facebook were packed with hilarious memes parodying the young American female singer/actress. As I scrolled through ...

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Bring the Army to Karachi!

Recently issued statements by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and the subsequent debate on the floor of the National Assembly have brought forward a plethora of concerns for citizens of Karachi. The ruling party, Pakistan Peoples Party, instead of giving hope and a plan to stabilise the worsening law and order situation in the city, has started pointing towards the 30-year-old violent history of this beautiful port city. Instead of showing resolve to eliminate criminal elements, the information minister for Sindh government, Sharjeel Memon, accused the MQM of hatching a conspiracy alongside the Pakistan Army. Allegations are ...

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Our loss to Zimbabwe: Strap our team financially too, until they learn from Zimbabwe!

Our recent defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe was somehow expected since the team had just won a low profile T20 series against the same team, and as such had become overconfident. The nation was expecting a clean sweep in the ODIs. After the Indian team whitewashed the financially strapped Zimbabwean team – which at this point could only afford to travel by public transport – Pakistan too, was expecting a clean sweep. Unfortunately, and predictably, this was not the case and our very well equipped team, that had recently been awarded an Eid bonus and a good performance bonus in ...

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Attacked for wearing a Hijab: What is religious freedom to the West?

On August 16, 2013, a pregnant Swedish Muslim woman was attacked, because she donned the hijab. It was near midnight when this young woman approached her car. She was not only harassed with racial slurs and taunts, but was assaulted in multiple forms including her scarf being ripped off from her head. This violence left her suffering from a concussion. The attack took place in suburban Farsta, which is in the south of Stockholm. Swedish police are treating the incident as a hate crime, though no arrests have been made yet. The attacker, a male, made what the Swedish media ...

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