Stories published in February, 2017

Pakistan may be poor, but it has a rich culture – much richer than any country in the west

As I grew up in the 90s, every couple of months I would see my mom and dad pack up their bags and go on official tours around the world; America, Europe, you name it. My sister and I would eagerly await their return, not because we wanted to see our parents, but because we wanted to open up their suitcases full of goodies. They would be stuffed with clothes, toys, chocolates and things that we apparently couldn’t buy in Pakistan. We would wear these international clothes with pride and we felt “better” than everyone else, because we had ...

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Rangoon is an example of how a gifted director is wasting his talent

There’s a line in the film where Saif Ali Khan tells a British officer, “We’re actors; we know how to convince people.” I am sorry to burst your bubble here Chote Nawab, but regrettably your statement falls completely flat on its face if the said performers are asked to work with a wearingly long and complicatedly patchy screenplay. Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon (2017)Photo: IMDb At 167 minutes, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon isn’t just a drag but also tediously stuffed with a hotchpotch of multiple storylines. Rangoon takes us back to 1940s Hindustan, against the backdrop of contrasting independence ideologies of dovish Mahatma Gandhi and hawkish Subhash Chandra ...

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To stand validated in Trump’s America, you have to be Caucasian and Christian

It was just last summer when my buddies and I – three from the Jewish faith, one Afro-American Christian and one agnostic (that’s the closest I can describe myself in terms of a ‘belief system’) – were having a conversation (not trash talking like Donald Trump)  in a squash club’s locker room. To my disbelief, the oldest of us who had experienced the dreadful times when Jews were blatantly discriminated against, emphatically announced, “Come November, if Trump becomes the president, everyone in this room should prepare themselves to kiss goodbye to their civil liberties and peaceful lives.” At that time, Trump didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to succeed. There was more going ...

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Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices to its transgender community

Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices onto minority groups residing in its country. We all are aware of the recent violent acts that have taken place against the transgender community, all thanks to social media for spreading awareness on the issue. Donald Trump’s win as the 45th president of the United States has brought about many conservative and anti-human rights thoughts, which seem to retract the liberal and more inclusive laws set in motion by the former democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama ordered public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use bathrooms according to their chosen identity, further threatening to hold back federal funding if ...

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Is Pakistan ready for mock drills in malls and hospitals?

Imagine you are a cardiac patient lying on a hospital bed, waiting for a specialist to decide whether you are fit enough to undergo triple bypass surgery. All of a sudden there’s commotion and you see people running around and someone shouts, “Bomb, bomb! Run outside!” There is pandemonium everywhere. You see patients being taken away by hospital attendants, and you almost have a heart attack, waiting for someone to carry you to safety. You pass out and when you come back to your senses, you find out it was just a mock drill, carried out by “experts” to find out how the hospital ...

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On March 5th, passion will overlook sanity at the Qaddafi Stadium

February 25, 2017: It’s 7pm here in Lahore and I sit glued to the TV screen surrounded by the people I love most, my friends and my family. But that’s not what’s important here. It’s Kieron Pollard on strike. Fourteen runs required off the last over. It’s do or die for my team, the Karachi Kings (how ironic). Either we go big or we go home. Kieron Pollard celebrates the winning runs with a set of push-ups, Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars, PSL 2016-17, Dubai, February 25, 2017Photo: PCB/PSL Aamer Yamin, the young medium pacer from the Lahore Qalandars, bowls decent four deliveries to both Imad Wasim and ...

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Why #OscarFail is just human error and not a conspiracy

The 89th Academy Awards are over, and after an embarrassing mix-up during the ‘Best Picture’ winner announcement, the Twitterati are at it again, terming it a conspiracy. The actual events of last nights #Oscars pic.twitter.com/0b3vkn4JqZ — Chloe Hughes (@ChloeHughes92) February 27, 2017 #Oscars mistake? Yeah right, it's all about ratings. #fakeoscars — Sir Prof (@foppish_dandy) February 27, 2017 That reaction though… #BestPicture #WarrenBeatty #Oscars pic.twitter.com/ci0KHjjbXW — Jireh Advincula (@beastmodejireh) February 27, 2017 Amusingly, it always seems to be easier for us to believe it is a collusion (though admittedly, conspiracies are more fun) than believe in the fortunate and unfortunate happenstances of life. Well, just because ...

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“The media has needed Trump like a crack addict needs a hit!”

Remember the time when Donald Trump’s chances of winning the elections were as promising as minorities in Pakistan gaining equal rights? A year ago, no one could have imagined that Trump would win the 2016 Presidential Elections. But win he did and I believe the media, in its quest for ratings, played a crucial part in mainstreaming him. I used to be an avid reader of  The New York Times, and during election season, all I would see were stories either covering one of his many erroneous claims (in a bid for ratings), or magnanimous praises for Hillary Clinton’s “pragmatic” politics over the “idealised” politics of Bernie Sanders. Bernie was ...

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Who is the real winner in Af-Pak tensions?

Recently, when Pakistan decided to move heavy artillery towards the Afghan border, many wondered if a full-scale war was about to be initiated between the two countries. Surprisingly, Kabul refrained from retaliating when Pakistani forces shelled terror camps on the other side of the border. It was hard to fathom such an action as Afghanistan has always been considered “a brotherly neighbour”. Where India has always remained our nemesis, Afghanistan now might well be pilfering the former’s title of being our “arch rival”. So how did we end up in this mess where brothers have turned into fierce rivals? Firstly, since 2001, both the countries have fuelled a never-ending cycle of blame game. This ...

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The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

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