Stories published in April, 2016

If not Trump, what?

Donald Trump now looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee. So for those of us appalled by this prospect — what are we supposed to do? Well, not what the leaders of the Republican Party are doing. They’re going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter. The better course for all of us — Republican, Democrat and independent — is to step ...

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Pakistan: A democracy abducted

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent exposure in the Mossack Fonseca Scandal comes as no surprise to those familiar with Pakistan’s perennial opportunities for corruption amongst her ruling classes. While enraging much of the nation, the surfacing of these ugly realities has inspired its Islamist clergy. Painting themselves even more ‘holier than thou’, Pakistan’s religious clerics are uniting in extraordinary consensus. Seizing on Sharif’s suddenly weakened position, they gather to oppose the Anti-Honour Killing amendment bill, the Anti-Rape amendment bill and the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act presented in Pakistan’s joint parliamentary session last month. Apparently laws containing ‘remedies for victims of violence’, criminalising ‘all forms of violence against women’ ...

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Who is responsible for the maintenance of the neglected Abbottabad to Mansehra road?

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently visited Mansehra and Abbottabad. In his visit, he promised to build the first university for women in the area, introduce a gas supply system and launch the second phase of the motorway. This announcement was much needed. But what needs more attention is the terrible condition of the road from Abbottabad to Mansehra. This road connects the northern areas to the rest of Pakistan. Considering it is a widely used road, it deserves to be in immaculate condition. Over 10 years have passed and not a single plan has been made to ameliorate the road conditions. Furthermore, matters ...

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Has Pakistan already turned its back on Afridi?

Pakistani cricket is facing yet another controversy, but this time around it isn’t related to the players or the board, it involves the corporate world as well. Fake Account of Pervaiz KhattakPhoto: Twitter This unique controversy began taking shape when a fake Twitter account impersonating  Pervez Khattak, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) tweeted the K-P Government was granting honorary citizenship to the West Indian skipper, Darren Sammy. Apparently, this was done on Peshawar Zalmi’s owner, Javed Afridi’s, request. Needless to say, the tweet went viral which resulted in the K-P government clarifying that only the federal government has the authority ...

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Why are we banning Maalik when it’s a fictitious portrayal?

A lot has been said and discussed about the newly released Lollywood film Maalik. For me, there were two things about the film that made me want to watch it. Firstly, the fact that it was directed and written by Ashir Azeem, popular for his super-hit drama serial Dhuwan. Secondly, the tagline of the film ‘Main Pakistan ka shehri, Pakistan ka Maalik hun’ (I am the citizen of Pakistan and the owner of Pakistan) which made me realise that this film was definitely going to have more substance to it rather than a typical masala movie. I decided to watch it at a local cinema. After a few days, the ...

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Why are C-sections becoming more common than natural birth?

Upon a recent visit to a private hospital, I was perplexed by the quirky change in nature’s playground; almost every second birth happened to be a caesarean. Were indulgent mothers insisting on it, or were they being brainwashed into it by unscrupulous doctors? Apparently, neither. These cases indicated a very genuine need for a caesarean. Regardless of how hard the medical staff tried, the stubborn baby simply refused to come out. Cocktails of hormones and solutions were provided to induce the contractions; however, it was all in vain. In such defeat, one had to resort to the machine and deeper, more invasive measures ...

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Suno! mirrors the dark reality of tackling mental illness

For a Pakistani play to tackle the taboo subject of mental health is commendable. But, for it to execute the show so effectively is a terrific accomplishment. Written and directed by the talented Hamza Bangash (Baraf Paani), Suno! is a sublime drama running at the Karachi Arts Council that holds up a mirror to our society. Let’s be honest. We all know someone who has battled mental health issues. We also know how the subject is treated like a massive elephant in the living room that everyone refuses to acknowledge. Often, the manner in which Pakistani society reacts to mental health ...

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Shami kebabs: Deeply satisfying and authentically Pakistani

We Pakistanis love various types of kebabs in our food; shami kebabs being one example. They are served with almost any main course on a Pakistani dinner table. Be it with daal chawal, with paratha and achaar, a shami kebab sandwich, with mattar (peas) or chicken pulao or even with our afternoon tea. In some way, directly or indirectly, shami kebabs have been an integral part of our favourite home-cooked meals. These kebabs used to be a part of the sandwich in my school lunchbox for the longest of time and were simply known as shami kebab sandwich. Now, even ...

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The long road home: A journey from Chitral to Islamabad

It’s a journey that gives perspective to your life. The endlessness of the Qaqlasht mountain meadows, the sky and the snow-capped peaks make you feel very small. The story of Qurban, an illiterate lady in the village of Booni – who runs three shops and supports the education of her nieces and nephews despite having been threatened by an acid attack, makes you realise how quotidian your own challenges are. And the cancellation of the flight to Islamabad with the prospect of being stranded in a dark, brown, tube-lit, hotel room in Chitral – beautiful though the town is ...

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This Coke advertisement makes us smile over a stereotypical concern

Coming from a joint family system, I’ve closely observed different kinds of relationships. Yet, being the only child, I’ve never had the privilege to experience what being a sister feels like. Don’t get me wrong, being the only child has its perks. But, watching this advertisement made me realise just how much I’ve missed out. The bond that siblings share is complicated, yet it’s one of the purest; one moment, they can be the best of friends, and the next minute they’ll turn into the worst of enemies. A point to highlight is that the younger sibling always looks up to the elder one; something that can also be seen ...

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