Stories published in August, 2014

FCR: Man playing god with the people of Fata

FATA is home to approximately 10 million people. These people may be called ‘Pakistani’ citizens, but the reality is – they are not. Even after 67 years of independence, despite being a strategic part of Pakistan, the constitution of the country simply does not apply here. Why? Good question. What is worse is that the laws that do, in fact, apply are a set of colonial laws formulated and enacted by the British more than a century ago! Some of these date all the way back to 1893, when the Durand Line was drawn by colonialists. A single visit to Fata will demonstrate ...

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Can an older woman marry a younger man in Pakistan?

“I got a very nice proposal,” said a friend who was at a stage in life where she wanted to settle down in marriage. “But there is an issue. I am 31. And he is 26. I am five years older. I really like him but my mom says that in another five years mein uski maa lagoon gi (I will look like his mother). I will have to say no,” she said with resigned acceptance. But fate had other plans. The “boy” liked the “woman” very seriously it seemed. He pursued her. Her heart relented. They got married and are now in the seventh ...

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How to fall in love with a city: Embrace the adventure, Marco Polo ki aulad!

As I sit on the plane headed for Pakistan before moving to Paris, I silently grieve for what was home for two years and go over some of my most memorable moments as well as my mental notes about the place. Suddenly, on the jazz music channel (thank you, noise-cancelling headphones) I hear Carmen McRae crooning ‘The loveliness of Paris…’ and then Ella Fitzgerald ‘April in Paris’. All I needed was this nudge from the universe to begin to look forward to a new adventure. Sometimes we do things right instinctively. Sometimes we need a teacher. Sometimes we need to make a ...

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Balochistan, a tale of singular narratives

My fellow journalist, Irshad Ahmed Mastoi Baloch, was killed in broad daylight at his office in Quetta. He was one, of few, brave journalists who would criticise the establishment’s unjust policies towards Balochistan. His fellow trainee reporter, Abdul Ghulam Rasool, and a serving accountant, Mohammed Younus, also lost their lives in the incident. I cannot believe or understand how an incident of this magnitude could have occurred in a sovereign, democratic country. He was doing his job, work that he was hired to do and obviously doing well. But he was, they were all, killed for merely performing their professional obligations. The ...

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How Hollywood reacts to Gaza: Welcome to the dark side

Since the early 20th century, Hollywood has been persistently flourishing and progressing towards better and greater dimensions; shaping filmmaking trends for rest of the world’s leading film industries to follow. One of its achievements remains its ability to manage a global diversity of artists, producers, directors, technical teams, supporting staff and crew members, and how it enables all of them to render their services on the single platform of Hollywood. This film fraternity has produced a galaxy of legends and stars who have earned intriguing rewards in terms of name, fame, money, career, passion and self-attainment. The lustrous charm of this industry and the overall ...

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‘The Wandering Falcon’: Understanding Balochistan, the literary way

Jamil Ahmad’s The Wandering Falcon cruised into my bucket list when it was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and Commonwealth Book Prize, but that was not the sole reason for it clicking with me. It was the debut work of the author at the age of 78 and was written long before we mired our stream of consciousness by replacing people with numbers and empathy with stock language for the tribal people of Pakistan. Penned down some 34 years ago, the work of fiction has become extremely relevant to the current global situation rampant with discourse of convenience. The short stories shot to ...

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It’s okay to be a failure

Two years ago I had a breakthrough in life; I failed my finals. It was my first experience of failing in a major way; and my teachers and peers were not helpful. They would judge me and taunt me, and at times, pity me as well. But I was never the loser, ever. How did I, being an exemplary student all my life, fail the exams and become the lowest of the low? Nobody had even taught me how to handle a situation like this. I was left broken, and since I did not know what to do, it disturbed further two ...

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Is Imran Khan being ‘democratically correct’?

The political storm that has stirred in Islamabad has left many stunned and reeling to see what lies ahead. Among this intricately complex political dilemma, many senior politicians have put on their mediation caps and tried to return to more chartered waters. But despite all efforts, the emboldened and resilient figure of Imran Khan has stood in the way, reiterating his poetic calls for justice and reform. Delivering those highly charged speeches, come rain or shine, he has shown his commitment to his cause that surpasses the usual, disengaged approach of most politicians. Apart from his individual qualities, his recent political decisions have ...

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She embodies the spirit of the seas and the souls of the desert winds, viva Karachi!

The face of the Regal Chowk glows from behind the heavy makeup of smoke, grime and dust gathered from the decadent, yet utilitarian vanity of decades. It tries to shine through and reflect on the stories it wrote over the years; the story of sunshine and happiness; the story of grey skies and heady days when the sky almost fell with rain and anarchy; the story of limited affluence and large-heartedness; the story of the inhabitants and the tale of the dream and the dreamer. Yes, the Regal Chowk is privy to all that and more; and if you are lucky ...

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The clash of civilisations: Is the ISIS promoting Islamophobia in Europe?

The Islamic State or IS (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS) was born during the turmoil of Iraq – which was a melting pot of jihadist movements – in 2003 after the American invasion. However, it was only in June when the world really took notice of this eccentric organisation after militants with black flags took the strategically important city of Mosul and claimed it to be a part of their ‘caliphate’, defeating the Iraqi Army almost at will. According to conservative figures, the current number of IS fighters is estimated to be somewhere around 20,000 ...

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