Stories published in September, 2013

Imran Khan: Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Imran Khan is a dying phenomenon. He seems to be losing the fan base that he had gathered up in the last five to six years. His supporters and voters seem to be losing hope in him and the young generation, especially first-time voters, feel like they have been left in limbo with nowhere else to go. There was nothing surprising about Imran’s ascent in the political arena. People were tired of the same old faces, the same broken promises and needed a new ideal to latch on to. Consequently, most people followed Imran blindly, without giving any consideration to his ...

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Steps that can save your life during a hostage situation or a bomb blast

In an emergency situation regarding terrorism, being prepared can make a difference between life and death. Such events can turn from a scarring memory to a compelling  anecdote which you can share with your friends, if you know how to react. Here are some guidelines that will help you ensure that if, God forbid, such an event does come up, you are prepared to handle it. 1. The immediate response to an attack a. First and foremost, keep your distance from the source of the blast or attack. Avoid standing in large crowds after an attack, as there is always a ...

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Crispy, tangy and delicious: Baked Red snapper with tamarind sauce

The sheer joy of eating fish without prejudice against summer months or any imaginary effects on skin tone has been an important part of my childhood, and I hope to pass this tradition on to my children. I especially love Red snapper and Sea bass and would like to share a tried and tested recipe, which has been much loved and in demand at my house for the last five years. Although fish-and-chips remain an old favourite (and will always save the day when my nerves are wrecked and I run out of food stocked in my freezer) but as ...

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Lessons from the US: Be kind to animals!

The first time I fell in love, I was a mere child. My first love was not a person but the numerous animals surrounding me, and as I grew older, this love and interest in the animal kingdom only grew. Photo: Reuters Hence, it was no surprise to anyone that my favourite television programme was the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to All Animals (SPCA) documentary on the Animal Planet channel. SPCA is an NGO based in the United States which works for animal rights and raises its voice against cruelty to animals. Their television program showed ...

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Peace talks won’t work. If they kill two, we must kill four

The year was 1989, I can’t remember the month though, but it was winter. I was 13-years-old, studying in Aitchison College Lahore. My late father, a brigadier of the Pakistan army, was commanding the Tenth Corps Artillery which was headquartered at Chaklala, Rawalpindi. I used to live in a boarding facility at the time and would visit our military home during vacations. I can’t help mentioning that those were very peaceful times, although it sounds a repetition in our country these days – everybody who is aged 30 and above says that quite often. I wish we could rewind or invent a ...

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The war within and the war outside

It is early morning, The sky is still dark outside, The house is silent. I take my cup of tea And turn on the computer, Scanning different news sites, From around the world. My eyes run over the headlines, In that hope of finding, Some evidence of humanity, Somewhere.   But there is none.   The advanced technology, That brings the world to my fingertips, By encasing it on the keyboard, Has yet to find solutions, Or resolutions, For the dreary, never-ending disputes, Between nations and its people.   The weary world continues to be at war.   I turn off the computer, And walk to the television, Hope a little sparked, That it might bring me, Better news, From some corner of the world. A sliver, a hint of harmony, amity, ...

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‘Don’t hate us, know us’, but PTA disagrees: Pakistan’s first gay website banned

If you’re happy and they know it, then you’re probably not clapping anymore. However, as your claps fade, you may hear the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s (PTA) celebrations begin. They stole the legendary pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and that’s reason enough to pat each other on the back – of course in a strictly heterosexual manner. Allegedly the gold they found is labelled ‘silence’ and they are guarding this treasure with their lives by refusing to waste golden words on ‘non-issues’ like the Pakistani gay community. However, we’re not Iran and moderate enlightenment blessed us with a split personality disorder; one side-effect of ...

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Can Ireland really have a cricket team if England keeps stealing their players?

It was on March 17, 2007 when world cricket started taking minnows seriously. A few days before Saint Patrick’s Day, the Irish cricket team had caused arguably the biggest upset in World Cup history. On a green Sabina Park pitch, Trent Johnston, Ireland’s captain won the toss and invited Inzamam’s boys to bat. The Irish bowling line-up swept away Pakistan’s batting order and bowled them out for a dreadful score of 132 runs. Although Pakistan showed some fight when they came on to the field, they were unable to prevent defeat. A clean 72 runs from wicket keeper-batsman Niall O’Brien helped Ireland ...

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I asked my Imam to condemn the Peshawar Church Blast, will you?

Like most people around me, I was shocked, disgusted and angry at the Peshawar Church Blast incident; a terrorist attack during Sunday Mass. The tragedy came at a time when people were reaching out to God, sharing  fears, worries, emotions and secrets. Just to imagine that one cannot even have this personal time with God Almighty anymore is disturbing.  The first thought that came to my mind was that a vigil should be held to pay respect to the departed. Hence I decided to initiate it. On Tuesday, a mere 40 people joined me outside the press club. We lit candles, ...

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Is it fair to blame Imran Khan for the Peshawar Church Blast?

The church blast in Peshawer took away more than 80 innocent lives. People had gone there to pray, not knowing their funeral prayers would follow soon. As always, the shock had subsided the day after the blast, but there was sadness – a constant dull ache that refused to recede. A recurring realisation existed that so many had lost their lives just because they prayed differently. Nothing seemed to help. Tweeting and facebooking allowed people to vent and rave temporarily, but frankly, social media acts as temporary anaesthesia. It numbs the pain for a bit, but the pain and anger ...

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