Stories published in February, 2014

6-year-old child beaten to death in school: Are we teaching our kids to be bullies?

As a parent of a fairly young school-going child, you get a lot of feedback from friends, family, teachers, peers, experts, columnists, TV show ‘analysts’, blogs, books ad infinitum. You get to see a lot of competitive parenting and then you hear of how you need to teach your child how to tie shoelaces, how they need to learn to be independent, how important it is for them to know their ABCs, have the right pencil holding position, etcetera. Lots of parents even brag about how creative a child gets when he or she has to fight another child for their favourite ...

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#WearThatYouCare: Put on those blue denims and support Rare Disease Day today!

My mother passed away exactly seven years ago. She had Huntington’s chorea which she fought for 15 years and it eventually took over her ability to talk, walk, speak and breathe. Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline. The disorder affects the brain and eventually damages mental and motor function and control. The word ‘chorea’ is a Greek word meaning dance since quick movements of the feet or hands are comparable to dancing. Disorders such as these are genetic which means that the patient’s offsprings have a 50% chance of inheriting them. For children of ...

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Gunday: A macho masala from the 70s

Director cum writer, Ali Abbas Zafar waited a couple of years after the release of his debut ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, a comedy hit of 2011, to entice filmgoers with an action packed crime thriller. This time, Zafar has replaced the genre of a light romantic comedy with a nice mash-up of 70s’ action films to present the perfect commercial movie – Gunday. If you are a fan of Amitabh Bachchan, particularly of his angry, young man image and classics like Sholay, Don and Kala Pathar, then Gunday is a big treat for you. It’s all about action, double-dealing, revenge tangled with friendship, deceit, romance and betrayal. The film ...

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A mother’s soliloquy: They ask me if I feel honoured…

People ask me how I feel. Do I feel honoured? Do I feel pride to have given birth to a hero? I would take off my clothes, if you could see the pain that grips my breast. My son died. 17 years and three months 12 days he lived. Add more! Add my nine months of labour; my pain for his life. Consider that night when I delivered him to this cesspool of a world. Where grass is green and the leaves turn brown, but men… huh! Men have been robbed of their old age. And you ask about pride? That the very last thing ...

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What did the US accomplish from the invasion of Afghanistan?

The year 2014 has marked the start of NATO’s withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan, 12 years after the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban began, in the autumn of 2001. Many explanations were given as to why the invasion of Afghanistan was vital – from the necessity of finding and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11, to liberating Afghan women and eradicating the opium trade. Time and again, politicians and the media tried to legitimise the war in the eyes of the public. We were told in the weeks following 9/11 that the invasion was an act of self-defence, by former US president George W ...

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Vital Signs 1: Bringing vitality to Pakistani music since 1987

The generation that grew up listening to Atif has always associated Salman Ahmad with Junoon, completely oblivious to the fact that he was a part of Vital Signs first and had it not been for a bust up with Rohail Hyatt, Junoon might never have come into existence. As pseudo-underground bands cover redundant black and death metal covers in the name of underground music, what most of these bands, and even a large chunk of our biggest musicians remain unaware of is the fact this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest pop albums released by a ...

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Asia Cup 2014: Is Kohli the ideal replacement for Dhoni?

Many might not know this but the upcoming Asia Cup series is not the first time that Virat Kohli’s skills as a captain will be tested. Kohli led the Indian Under-19 (U-19) team in a series in Malaysia in 2008 and it was there that he earned his merit as a leader for the first time. Similarly, he led the Indian team in a series against Zimbabwe in 2013 and was also captain for a few matches against West Indies in the same year. On both occasions, he further reiterated his value as a skipper. India is one country which makes the best use of ...

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Dr Javed Kazi: They killed a teacher, a doctor and a gem of a person

In life you go through a lot of changes – mental, emotional and physical. However, maturity does not come until you break down once under the burden of responsibilities. We all see bad things happening and we sit quietly, mostly because our parents tell us to be politely agreeable. But guess what? Sometimes you just have to speak up. It was 2:05pm on February 17, 2014 when a car left the gates of the Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) and was about to take a turn when two men fired at the person sitting in the car. The driver tried ...

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Help, I am a pedestrian!

While walking in Lahore, I stepped onto the footpath like any other pedestrian. I had only walked for five minutes when I realised that being a pedestrian in Pakistan is the saddest thing that can happen to a person. Apart from the government, that waves away the concerns of pedestrians quite often, car owners also make sure that things are not easy for those walking on the road. This wasn’t the first time I had walked down the street. In fact, I have been a pedestrian for eight years now. I have always been an outdoor person and hence, I enjoy walking and ...

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‘Eye for an eye’: Does capital punishment do justice or encourage vengeance?

Around 140 countries have progressed to becoming abolitionist states in the last 65 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was promulgated. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan oddly stands as a retentionist for over a dozen crimes including blasphemy, drug trafficking, kidnapping and adultery. A sore reminder of this is the recent adjudication by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi that sentenced two men to seven and fourteen years imprisonment followed by a ‘to be hanged till death’ order. In a country that is deeply influenced by a strict and orthodox interpretation of the religion that the majority follows, are we ready ...

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