Stories published in January, 2017

Are the voices of the world enough to end the absurdity behind the #MuslimBan?

The media went on overdrive when Donald Trump, immediately after inauguration, followed through on his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims”. The New York Times reported:  “The president’s order… suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” When The Express Tribune asked if I wanted to write a blog on the Muslim ban, I started taking notes, and by the time I finished a draft, ...

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Imran’s misguided brain-drain solution

Most things that come out of Imran Khan’s mouth are emotional statements bereft of nuanced thought or judgment. This one was no exception. Like most things Imran Khan, the intention and underlying thought might well have been good, but the execution came out looking all kinds of dumb. Imran Khan stated he was praying that Trump bans Pakistanis from travelling/immigrating to the US. The reason: It would prevent the brain drain and compel people to travel back to Pakistan to fix the country. Now let’s be fair, the intention here is good. Pakistan definitely has a brain drain problem. The ...

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Why was Khabaristan Times blocked?

Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint”. Seems simple enough but caught between the war between the liberals and conservatives in Pakistan – two words which mean entirely something else here – it is more about making a chutney out of it or a yoyo or rather a squishy ball that can be thrown at anyone’s face to win any argument. A certain TV show anchor/religious scholar/ Ghalib movie fan/ two-week PHD prodigy/ game show host/mango seller/actor was taken off air by PEMRA after numerous complaints were made. On his show, he ...

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Australian Open 2017: The legendary victory of a sport called tennis

I was one of those kids who would sit in class and wait for the home-time bell to ring, not because I didn’t like studying, but because my day would start when that bell would ring. Straight after school I would rush home for lunch and then cycle all the way to the squash courts, where I would play a few games with some friends. And then would go to the badminton courts to play there. Occasionally, I would go to the golf course and practice my Tee shot while waiting for my dad. Usually, I would spend the ...

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Why are our advertisements advertising stereotypes and not the product?

Just recently, whilst watching a talk show on a news channel, I came across something horrific. Don’t worry, I am not delivering horrible news, we have plenty of news channels to do that already. It was just an advertisement for washing powder. What was wrong with it, you ask? Take a look and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So the advertisement, like all ads, aims to sell a product. However, the way they’re trying to sell it isn’t all that ordinary. It starts off with two women chatting: “Aray aaj kal ki larkian karti hi kya hain… yeh machine chalati ...

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If you’re a die-hard Hrithik Roshan fan, watch Kaabil

The plot is simple. The clichés are common. There is an A-list actor in the lead. The Bollywood formula is locked and loaded. Aim at a public holiday and fire. Kaabil hit the screens on Indian Republic Day and gathered around 20 crores in its first week. *Minor spoilers ahead* Directed by Sanjay Gupta, of the Kaante (faintly copied from Reservoir Dogs), Zinda (Old Boy) and Jazbaa (the Korean film, Seven Days) fame, comes Kaabil which seems to be loosely adapted around the Korean film, Broken, where the protagonist’s teenage daughter is raped and murdered. In Kaabil, Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) vows ...

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Is Shyamalan caught in a Split between his one hit wonder and the rest of his films?

Once upon a time, there was a young talented filmmaker who created a cinematic masterpiece despite merely being in his 20s. This particular piece of his can rightly claim to have one of the most shocking twist endings ever in the history of cinema. A couple of movies later, he was still churning out decent thrillers but the decline in his craft was starting to show. But now it has gotten to a point that whenever his name and filmmaking are mentioned in the same sentence, rather than gasping in unison with anticipation, the audience just simply walks away from ...

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She is six and her name is Sarima

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a little princess called Sarima*. But wait, this is not a fairy tale. This is a slap in the face of a society that greatly lacks humanity. In this tale of woe, Sarima is a 6-year-old girl whose body was found in a dirty drain in Karachi’s Korangi Crossing area. She had been raped, mutilated and left for dead. When her lifeless body was located and taken to the Civil Hospital, it was a miracle she was still breathing. No one thought she would make it, but she did. God ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 2 ‘Life’s gift of giving… and taking’

Thanks to Dada Baba, I had a bit of a charmed life. I had experienced enough in life to know what was true for other people but was still inexperienced to know what was true for me. Nothing too traumatic had happened to me. That is until one day I realised that the story of my life had been the calm before the storm all along. For the first time in over two decades, I wasn’t woken up by the cheerful voice of Dada Baba. Instead, I was woken up by his painful groans, coming from his room which was right ...

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Grieving Abdus Salam and the Muslim age of darkness

“There is no question, but today, of all civilisations on this planet, science is the weakest in the lands of Islam. The dangers of this weakness cannot be over-emphasised since honourable survival of a society depends directly on strength in science and technology in the conditions of the present age.” – Abdus Salam It was last year, on December 5, when I woke up to the news that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had approved the proposal to rename the National Centre for Physics (NCP) as the Abdus Salam Centre for Physics (ASCP), along with five PhD fellowships annually in Abdus Salam’s name. This was a pleasant ...

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