Stories published in January, 2015

When will the suffering of the sugarcane farmers in Sindh end?

Pakistan is still primarily considered an agrarian economy. The on-going sugarcane pricing row between sugar mill owners and sugarcane growers in Sindh will only have damaging, if not destructive, consequences towards the rural economic backbone of Pakistan; especially in Sindh, in terms of agriculture. Personally, as an agriculturist and as a sugarcane crop grower, it is becoming increasingly exasperating and vexing to exhibit restrain when one has to deal with the indifferent and apathetic attitude of the Sindh government and the cartel of the sugar mill owners. To understand where it all began, one has to comprehend the political dynamics of Sindh, where a ...

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Do you know How To Get Away With Murder?

Murders are easy to commit but hard to cover up these days. That’s what I thought until I started watching the new mystery-thriller drama, How to Get Away with Murder. This new thriller has not only revolutionised the television landscape but contradicts my humble statement completely.

The series is about five freshman college students and their mysterious criminal law professor who get embroiled in a dangerous murder plot. The show stars Academy award nominee, Viola Davis, as Professor Annalise Keating, a sophisticated defence attorney who runs her own law firm. The series also stars Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King and Karla Souza. [caption id="" ...

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Through the eyes of a fanatic: Pakistan, the World Cup enigma

Cricket is a game for the fanatic. You don’t like the sport, you love it. You sacrifice sleep, plead for divine intervention, wield undying beliefs and hold faith that despite needing eight runs of the last ball, a simple wide can make magic happen. Such is the power of a bat and ball. Such is the nature of the game that despite our efforts to turn predictions into facts and to drown ourselves in a frenzy of statistics, the sport remains as unpredictable as it was in 1992. It has been four years since India won the World Cup, 23 since Australia ...

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Oh Daraz.pk, why you do me like that?

A few days ago, a friend called me to check the availability of the iPhone 6 in Karachi. As the phone has not officially launched in Pakistan, and because our market has been deeply infiltrated by sellers who put bogus phones on sale as ‘original’, he did not want to be conned and thus asked me for help. Daraz.pk was the first place that came to my mind and I told him to order online from them instead of risking the market. To me, they were the most trusted online retailers. And to prove my faith in them, I ...

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Five reasons Obama prodded Modi about religious tolerance

After murdering King Duncan of Scotland in his sleep, Macbeth returns to his wife with his hands smeared in crimson blood. He exclaims, “How is it with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this, my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.” Later, Lady Macbeth, in a fit of madness whilst walking in her sleep and rubbing her hands, says, “Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten ...

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“No one in the Pakistani government is interested in change”

So, Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar has finally resigned as the governor of Punjab. This has not been exactly unexpected. Rumours had been circulated for many months that he was deeply unhappy with those that surrounded him at the top of Pakistan’s political power structure. I can also explain just why he has become so disillusioned. My first experience in high-level policy making taught me an invaluable lesson about Pakistani politics. Many years ago, when I was but a wide-eyed PhD researcher starting my fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School, I managed to secure a private meeting with a Pakistan cabinet minister who ...

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Bridge kay us par

As a child growing up in Karachi, in PECHS, I just had one dream, one day I will go bridge kay us par (across the bridge, to the other side). The Kala pull was the Berlin wall of my world. Every rickety road I travelled on only strengthened my desire. Every night I slept with a pillow on my rear end, dreaming of the perfectly paved roads on the other side of the bridge. I even wrote a poem, “I have a dream that one day we will live in a city where we will not be divided by the imperfections in our roads ...

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Not forgotten but forgiven: The prodigy returns

It was on a typically overcast London afternoon that the nation saw its first glimpse of young Muhammad Amir, who had just turned 17 a few months earlier. It took him all of two balls to win over the thousands of Pakistani supporters at The Oval and the millions at home watching their side take on England in the 2009 World Twenty20. Ravi Bopara’s uppish drive was well held by Shoaib Malik at backward point and Amir wheeled away in joy, baring all of his uneven teeth. That was the moment the nation fell in love with the precociously talented ...

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A nation that forgets its heroes will itself soon be forgotten

 American president, Calvin Coolidge, once said, “A nation that forgets its heroes will itself soon be forgotten.” It was a moment of relief and glory for Pakistanis when a hero, who was later turned into a ‘villain’ by conspiracy theorists, won the noble peace laureate on October 9, 2014. Yes, it is our brave Malala who is the youngest recipient in the world to have received this prestigious award. She will continue to be despised by those who consider anyone getting an international acclaim a ‘yahoodi agent’ (Jewish agent), ‘ghaddar’ (traitor), ‘kafir/ mashriq’ (non-Muslim/ Western) or a ‘drama’. However, whenever someone mentions Malala and the Nobel ...

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Did America make a bigger deal about Michelle Obama being unveiled than Saudi?

International media may have you believe that the Saudis are marching through Jeddah with pitchforks over the sight of Mrs Obama’s undraped head. A closer inspection of social media trends, however, suggests shrewd political theatre. A few days ago, major news networks broke the story of a strong “backlash” in the wake of a friendly visit to Saudi Arabia by the First Lady and her dupatta-less head. Personalities as politically charged as the ‘Leader of the Free World’ and his wife, do not make sartorial gaffes, or obvious cultural faux pas. It may seem almost comical to imagine the White House ...

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