Stories published in January, 2014

MohenjoDaro may not be the same after the Sindh Festival gets done with it!

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Sometimes, those words carry a sense of agony and irony.  Such was the case when I came across a picture depicting the historic mound of MohenjoDaro, surrounded by wooden scaffolding and construction crews. My first reaction was to do a double take. I thought I surely had been mistaken for why would anyone allow such an archaeological wonder to go under the proverbial knife and in such a daring fashion? Upon reading the associated article, I was informed that preparations were afoot to hold the opening ceremony of the Sindh Festival at this heritage site. The festival ...

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Three transgender people employed, well done Sindh government!

As I scanned through the multitude of headlines splashed across some of Pakistan’s e-papers on January 30, 2014 one headline caught my eye. The Sindh government has employed three transgender persons as full-time employees. The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that this issue was not carried across every e-paper and it was limited to only a handful of news reporting websites in Pakistan. The term ‘transgender’ encompasses a wide array of definitions. To put it in the simplest of terms, it is when the state of one’s gender identity does not match one’s assigned gender. This includes a person whose ...

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I wish I didn’t feel like such a foreigner

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t born in such a big house Didn’t watch so many Disney cartoons, Or read so much Enid Blyton, when I was young… Didn’t go to the poshest all-girls private school in town, Or eat at the best foreign restaurants Hadn’t ever been on a plane, Ever outside the country Didn’t know the words to every English song on the radio Didn’t have a big air-conditioned car Didn’t live in Defence Didn’t always get what I wanted. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t feel like such a foreigner In my own country Among my own people That I wouldn’t be polite, Embarrassed, awkward That Punjabi or Urdu would flow from my mouth As effortlessly as ...

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Veena Malik and her never-ending ‘dramas’

Veena Malik has found a new claim to fame. And this time it is at the opposite end of the pendulum. Suddenly modelling, acting, dancing and all showbiz-related content has been deemed un-Islamic. By Veena Malik. Yes, Veena Malik. Don’t believe me? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against practicing one’s faith but no one can publicly criticise another’s profession in the name of religion. No one can have the audacity to turn on someone or something that made you who you are. Not even Veena Malik. Who is she to decide about the sanctity of the showbiz industry? Yes, people can change; they can become ...

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Here is why breastfeeding your child is important

Hooray! The Balochistan Assembly finally enacted the Balochistan Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2014 on January 18, 2014. This is truly a progressive step towards a healthier province and a healthier Pakistan. However, the real test for the provincial government will be to effectively implement this bill, in letter and in spirit. I say this because, even though the Protection of Breastfeeding and Young Child Nutrition Ordinance 2002 is very much present on the statute books since its approval, its implementation  continues to remain a distant dream. As most of us know, Pakistan is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal ...

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Is India’s BCCI planning a cricket coup with the ICC?

As old colleagues renew acquaintances at the current cricket board moot at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai, they will share uneasy stares – the big elephant in the room is nothing short of a flashback to the colonial days, where might was right. The ‘Big Three’ – India, Australia and England – based on their financial muscle and certainly not on merit, will table a proposal to take over the reins of the cricket world. I should point out that the word ‘proposal’ is only a misnomer. This document, in substance, is an ultimatum and shall be treated as one. The gist of this document ...

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Modi cannot become India’s prime minister

Hindu nationalist leader and Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has a fantastic dream – a dream to rid India of the Indian National Congress. “Mahatma Gandhi’s last wish was that the Congress party should be disbanded. The time has come to fulfil his wish. We must work towards building a Congress free India,” said Modi while addressing a public rally. The Gujarat chief minister has reiterated this desire of his on several occasions. Agreed, the Congress is corrupt to the hilt and it definitely deserves to be punished. The party’s extremely poor performance in the recently held assembly polls in five states does ...

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Jai Ho: Salman Khan, the new Sunny Deol?

Jai Ho has been the most anticipated movie of 2013 and 2014 as it was announced to be released initially at the end of 2013 by Sohail Khan under the name of ‘Sher Khan’ and later as ‘Mental’. The name was eventually finalised as ‘Jai Ho’. The movie is a remake of the movie Stalin, a Tollywood film inspired by Pay It Forward (2000). The movie has a lot to offer to the common man, the ‘aam janta’ as they call it. It has drama, action, romance, comedy, weird songs, Salman Khan’s very own dancing style and, of course, Bollywood masala. Salman ...

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Spotflux blocked in Pakistan, what’s next?

George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four describes a dystopic nightmare set in a totalitarian one-party state called Oceania. Its ruler – Big Brother – is omnipresent with telescreens monitoring the private and public lives of every individual. It controls the populace by ensuring that access to any independent opinion is denied. The official government slogan is, “Ignorance is strength.” It seems that the Government of Pakistan has decided to bring this slogan into practice. By expanding the scope of online content censorship, the state is not only limiting the free flow of information to Pakistani web surfers one URL at a time, it is also diluting the ...

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Pride and prejudice: The case of Abdus Salam

Pakistan’s collective diary has had quite a few pages ruthlessly torn out of it. The chapter of Abdus Salam is also one of those classic tragedies that are symptomatic of deeper ills pervading our society. The story of his rapid descent from the position of an honourable presidential advisor to that of a heretic in exile speaks volumes about a number of issues – the value we place on education and science, the heroes we pick and choose, and the treatment meted out to minorities in this country – each one of these being as relevant on his 88th birth anniversary today ...

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