Stories published in October, 2016

Why is Section 144 only shunning PTI’s voice?

On Thursday evening, during a peaceful protest held in Islamabad, the police stormed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) youth convention in Islamabad and arrested party workers. This has raised some serious legal questions, specifically in regard to the administrative powers of the state. Section 144 of The Criminal Procedure Code is: “Power to issue order absolute at once in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger.” This was first introduced in 1861; the sole purpose was to curb any native, Indian nationalist uprising against the British Sovereign. During the time of the British Raj, we see that this law wasn’t used to uphold the individual rights rather as a tool by ...

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The presence of a Pakistani actor was the least of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s problems

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM); where do I start? First of all, there is disappointment. Not so much with the movie, because I expected very little from it, but with the four star ratings given by NDTV and The Times of India (TOI). Secondly, disappointment regarding the fact that, in this day and age, such immature and ham handed execution of a film is not just being accepted, but is getting lapped up eagerly in this country. The movie itself is pretentious, artificial and inauthentic. It’s trying too hard to be edgy and sophisticated, but is actually just a pathetic rehash of key elements from recent ...

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Is it too risky to host the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore?

“A dream is only a dream until you work hard for it, because when you do, the dream becomes a reality”. In February, 2016, one such dream became a reality; the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was finally a force to be reckoned with. What former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, Zaka Ashraf, saw only as a probability became a reality with the efforts of Chairman Executive Committee, Najam Sethi, and his team. One of the main reasons as to why the PSL came into being in the first place was as a strategy to attract worldwide attention in the hopes that ...

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Sorry Bilawal, Pakistan’s misogyny will always confuse sensitivity with femininity

“Aur tu aur Billo Rani bheebol rahi hai. Asif Zardari sahib, itna haram kamaia aap ne, thora sa Bilawal per lagain aur us ka technical masla theek karain.” (Now even Billo Rani is speaking. Asif Zardari, please devote some of your illegal wealth towards rectifying Bilawal’s technical problem). “Mein ne siyasat mein naheen aana, kyon ke Sheikh Rashid mujhe har roz gandy gandy messages karta hai.” (I don’t want to come into politics because Sheikh Rashid sends me dirty texts every day. The first of the above is an excerpt from Sheikh Rasheed’s speech in 2014, and the latter is one of the Facebook memes I ...

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Will Pakistan ever function as a secular state?

In Pakistan and, in fact, most of the Islamic world, the very concept of secularism is completely misunderstood. Somehow the concept has been thoroughly confused and amalgamated with atheism. An overwhelming majority of politicians, and even intellectuals, often try to defend themselves when “accused” of being secular, particularly on mainstream online media and Urdu print media. To declare oneself as a secular is considered equivalent to being considered an atheist in the public imagination. The entire atmosphere is riddled with severe misconceptions about secularism. Due to fear of being branded an “atheist” and anti-Islamic, the word secular, in both letter and ...

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Tooti, saari ki saari mein

“She sat there, a queen on her heavenly throne, radiating beauty that I had never witnessed before. She seemed flawless, perfect, an embodiment of purity yet powerful enough to evoke awe and wonder. Her hair is a rich shade of black, short but swaying because of the light breeze coming through a slightly ajar window. Those luscious locks complimented her beaming skin. Her straight-edged nose made her look regal, as if any moment she’d place a tiara on her head and walk around with authority. She commands respect; there is an aura of sensuality about her. I can smell her; I can feel her and ...

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Will Cristiano Ronaldo win the Ballon d’Or 2016? I think so!

A 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or was announced this week by ‘France Football’, one of Europe’s most reputable sports magazines, after the world football governing body, FIFA, ended its association with the Ballon d’Or earlier this year. The footballing magazine spent an entire day unveiling the 30-man shortlist for this year’s prize, ahead of the gala awards ceremony in January, with the venue for the occasion yet to be decided. Since 1956, the prestigious award has annually been given out by the French publication and it was awarded to the best European player of the previous footballing season ...

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Child marriage is a misinterpreted and cruel practice that reeks of ignorance

“And Prince Charming and Cinderella got married and they lived happily ever after”… She shut the book and jumped around with blissful glee. Cinderella was her favourite character and she had gotten married too. Mother had given her the news only yesterday. On her next birthday, she would be a bride, just like Cinderella. Cinderella’s wedding dress was white and puffy with beautiful flowers sown on it. So would be hers. Cinderella’s dainty shoes sparkled brightly. So will hers. Hundreds of people in fancy dresses attended Cinderella’s wedding. Her own wedding was to be attended by almost the entire village ...

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The invasion of the Lahori relatives

There are times when one must write. The alternative is to burst – which would be messy. Because they came today, the rellies (relatives), while I was playing Scrabble on Facebook in a pleasant state of mindlessness. Have you ever played Scrabble? It can be exciting but right then the game was slow. I had just played ‘qi’ which, short as it is, often gets well over 30 points but this time I only got 22. Then my opponent somewhere in Australia played ‘hick’ which got him 18. Obviously he wasn’t having a good day either. Then I played ‘koi’ ...

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Will Pakistan forever be indebted to China for CPEC?

Loans are no fun, nor is $51.5 billion coming under the cover of China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is easy to find yourself in debt, but it is hard to get out of it. This leads to the question, how will Pakistan get out of Chinese loans? CPEC has financial arrangements on South-South Cooperation model which don’t just depend on giving aid like the North-South Cooperation. Under this Cooperation, China has made use of four major tactics: investment, aid/grants, joint ventures and equity ratio. And when BOT (build-operate-transfer) is not possible, the next best alternative is opting for soft loans. These loans are comprised of three categories: preferential ...

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