Stories published in March, 2014

Governments should encourage sports, not sports festivals

While the world develops sports through long term planning and investment, in Pakistan, it is still stuck within an outdated system – a system where everything is done to boost the government’s reputation, much like a communist state. This system has become more evident nowadays, with provincial governments taking it to next level to prop up their image and use sports as a propaganda tool. Sport, like many other important issues of this country – health and education, for instance – have been made provincial subjects under the landmark 18th Amendment. Since then onwards, sports has seen a steady decline at national level ...

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Jinn: Bringing a bit of Pakistan to American cinema

According to Islamic mythology, the Arabic word jinn refers to a class of spirits, lower than angels who are capable of appearing in human and animal forms, and influencing humankind towards good and evil. Stories about the existence of angels in the human world seem to have captured our imagination, washing away evidence of a third race, created by fire which we call jinn. But as much as we fantasise about the existence of these ‘other worldly’ creations, do we really believe in them? Jinn also happens to be the name of the new supernatural thriller by the Pakistani American movie director, Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad, set to release ...

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Sawan Masih: Another injustice in the name of justice!

It appears that the public would rather Sawan jaey, than Sawan aaey. Sawan Masih, 26-years-old, a poor cleaner and the father of two, was arrested last year for allegedly uttering blasphemous remarks during an argument.  He protested his innocence saying that there was a property dispute concealed under the accusation of blasphemy but to no avail. Sawan and his family lived in Lahore’s Joseph Colony with other Christian families, clustered together for safety. Unfortunately, the numbers on ‘the other side’ were far greater. When the above event occurred, a mob composed of some 3,000 people attacked Joseph Colony for several days, forcing the inhabitants to leave. When this mob destroyed a hundred ...

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Don’t tell me to ‘stop being negative’ about Pakistani affairs

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been mocked for raging on the blogosphere about Pakistani matters. And many like myself have been repeatedly prescribed a ‘positive attitude’. These patronising suggestions need to stop. One of the leading complaints against liberal writers and media outlets is that they allegedly ‘focus on the negativity’ and fail to provide sufficient coverage to the saccharine, more palatable details of our country. Such ‘positivity’ is the staple diet of nationalists who are easily irked by information of our national imperfection and the blessed opium of the ignoramuses who cannot conceive the astronomical depths to ...

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The rise of the rupee: A politically potent economical stupidity

Last week I received a call from a friend in Karachi. “What is going on with the dollar?! Should I buy dollars? Why is it falling like this?”  My answer was simple. “The dollar isn’t falling; it’s the rupee that is rising.” What’s the difference? Difference is its implication. Hailing from a regime that had made promises of ending load shedding within 90 days of coming to power, the fact that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made good on his December 2013 promise to bring the dollar down to Rs98 deserves an applause. While those who consider the currency exchange rate as something of a competitive sport where appreciation ...

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Advani’s predicament: Has BJP become a one-man party?

The way the Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) old stager Lal Krishna Advani and other senior leaders have been left out in the cold, in the run-up to the 2014 general elections, and meted out with a shabby treatment by Narendra Modi and his obsequious, lackey followers, reminds me of the case of the cuckoo. For those who are not aware of what a cuckoo is, it’s a medium sized, slender bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. For instance, let’s assume that a cuckoo has laid an egg in the nest of a hedge-sparrow. When the egg hatches, the sparrow feeds the ...

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Whitewashing

Our names will never roll around their tongues, With the delicacy and finesse, Of the mothers who named us. After 14 hours of birth, Sweaty, sticky, spicy, sweet, tangy names with stories and secrets. Our names in foreign mouths Are like spices with unexpected Sharp thorny flavours, Spat out in discomfort, Pronounced with pain, And anglicised quickly like a cool drink of water.   So that Dureshawar becomes Rey, And my own name In my mouth Feels like a dry, flavourless biscuit. And they laugh when I can’t recognise Myself being announced at banquets. When I cannot recognise my placard On the table; When they demand I leave by the backdoor. It is always by my father’s name.   Our names will ...

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Cheeekh-Speak Up: Plagiarism in the name of ‘freedom of expression’

Freedom of speech is a much touted phenomenon in the society today. However, along with this freedom comes the responsibility to recognise original content as well as the conscientious use of someone else’s opinion. Surfing on the internet one day, I came across a post shared on Facebook by a non-profit organisation called Cheeekh-Speak Up. Skimming through, I was shocked to see a post from my personal blog site published there as a contribution. What was even more appalling was that it had been published without any credit or link to my page, making it seem as if I myself had contributed ...

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Yesterday was Raza Rumi, today it could be you

I remember it was May 10, 2013 as I sat in front of my television waiting for the 9pm news bulletin. I knew what had been happening in my country for the last 20 days but I was still waiting for the news. The clock struck nine and the headlines came on, “Bomb blast in Quetta and North Waziristan – 10 killed, 15 injured.” Three political parties had been targeted by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while the rest had been given free passage to participate in the ‘un-Islamic election’ as they liked to call the general elections to be held in that month. ...

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Lettuce Bee Kids: Giving kids the opportunity to be kids!

One night, unable to sleep, I decided to aimlessly surf through Facebook. The curiosity of the human mind landed me on a girl’s profile who seemed quite patriotic. She had commented on one of the posts which intrigued me to click on her profile and read her status updates. There wasn’t much to be seen, just some stories of how people change over time. This all seemed very typical, until I came across a certain video on her profile. That very video is the reason behind this blog. It was an interview between the US Alumni Network and a young lady, ...

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