Stories published in December, 2016

Dear Twitterati, Pakistan thanks you for making 2016 bearable

Decades later… in classrooms… with high speed internet (if PTCL ever catches up), children will be studying the history of our beloved homeland, Pakistan. With pride, they will be taught how our country boasts strengths like having the most formidable army in the world (take that India! Hope you’re not thinking of another hopeless ‘surgical’ operation), having nukes (yes India, at least ours work), the quietest president in the history of the world and, of course, having the sassiest sense of humour on the face of this earth. Ours is a nation with a strappy sense of resilience that stands smiling in the face of relentless ...

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Why did the Indian film industry churn out such horrendous movies in 2016?

The be all and end all of movies for some, while a bad joke masquerading as cinema for others, Bollywood is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. But yet, every single year, it manages to churn out films that are indisputably bad and 2016 was no different. So, in no particular order, let the bashing begin. 1) Fan: Rather watch a ceiling fan Fan is Shah Rukh Khan’s attempt to marry the only two characters he could act out, the wacky (Darr etc.) and the silly (Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa etc.), before he became the irritatingly tiresome Rahul and the tediously boring ...

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Can Donald Trump emulate, let alone surpass, Barack Obama’s legacy?

The US foreign policy will turn upside down when President Barack Obama leaves the Oval Office on January 20, 2017, and Donald Trump takes over as the 45th President of the United States of America. The baton will change hands from a president – who can be characterised as a statesman, pacifist and, above all, a person who believed in inclusion – to a person who is considered egotist, racist, sexist, aggressive, and above all, self-centred. Trump’s elevation to the highest office has caused trepidation among many countries, partly due to the foreign policy he is likely to adopt. Will he continue Obama’s legacy or will he ...

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If you thought Lollywood was booming, let 2016 remind you why it’s not

Compiling a list of the worst Pakistani movies of 2016 is a daunting task, and not only because it is guaranteed to increase the number of one’s enemies in show business. It is a real challenge because keeping the list down to 10 items is a formidable task when the number of the year’s bad films is much larger. Much, much larger. A total of about 30Urdu films were released in 2016. A few, such as Mah-e-Mir, Ho Mann Jahaan and Actor-in-Law, were actually good but the vast majority failed to deliver on the promise of the resurgent Pakistani film industry, whose revival is the subject ...

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Why has Umar Akmal disappeared from Test cricket?

In 2009, I watched a 19-year-old batsman score a century during his Test debut in New Zealand. He took on the likes of Shane Bond, and made it look relatively easy. Umar Akmal blitzed his way through to 129 on debut, and followed it up with 75 in the second innings. A star was born, or so I thought. Fast-forward seven years and the same cricketer is struggling to score runs in the Bangladesh Premier League. How times change. It saddens me to see such a talent being wasted, especially considering Pakistan’s batting stocks are so low. But how did ...

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Assassin’s Creed is an average effort that had the potential to be much more

This December came with the release of Assassin’s Creed, a movie based on the videogame franchise and series of the same name. This feature film is directed by Justin Kurzel and casts Michael Fassbender as the lead protagonist. The movie chronicles the path being traversed by two assassins, both of whom are played by Fassbender.  One of the assassins is named Aguilar de Nerha, based during the Spanish inquisition in the 15th century, while his far-off and distant progeny is Callum Lynch from the present time. Callum is a convicted prisoner sentenced to death and gets sent back in time through Animus when Abstergo Industries find ...

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Why is Pakistan so quick to speak about nukes, Khawaja Asif?

Sitting in his jail cell secretly armed with a cellular phone, a British mobile SIM, and the contact details of world leaders, a murderous psychotic terrorist, in the hopes of killing countless, sat plotting nuclear war. His plans were so ludicrous that you’d think this was a work of fiction straight out of a bad spy novel, but I assure you that this incident was frighteningly real. First, he called a nuclear-powered nation itching to retaliate to fresh terrorist attacks on its soil, pretending to be the head of state of a nation whose countrymen were allegedly responsible for the ...

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Are you ready for what awaits you in 2017, Pakistan?

The year 2016 has been a rollercoaster for the world over. From Brexit to Trump, there have been setbacks aplenty. But while the world has gone topsy-turvy this year, I feel that 2016 has been a better year for Pakistan. Due to the operations taking place in various areas of the country, crime rate has decreased exponentially; terrorism attacks have been fewer and far between and Pakistan has established itself as a growing nation, both in terms of international relations as well as economics. Keeping this in mind, I cannot help but feel positive about the year ahead. Here are the top 10 things Pakistanis can look forward to in 2017: 1. The ...

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After Benazir, PPP is no longer representative of all of Pakistan the way it used to be

I still remember that moment. I had just entered the Cuckoo’s Den, the famed restaurant in Lahore, overlooking the monumental Badshahi Mosque. That was my first visit to the restaurant and I had brought two of my office colleagues with me. It was early evening and the restaurant was slightly deserted. The phone rang. It was my younger brother on the line. “Raza, where are you? Please come back home immediately. Benazir has been assassinated,” he said in a very distressed voice. I almost fainted as I could not believe the news. I had to gather myself and inform my friends. We all agreed ...

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Is the killing of Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’ or Muslim genocide?

A campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims is being carried out by Burmese authorities in the western state of Arakan. The Burmese troops have slaughtered children, raped women, as well as killed and shot men. They have burned and looted houses. They have forced people to cross the river into Bangladesh, which is one of Burma’s neighbouring countries. The Rohingya group, numbering about 1.1 million people, is seen as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. A huge number of people from the community have poured across the border for several years to seek asylum in one of the refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. Moreover, ...

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