Stories published in March, 2017

Unafraid

“Sir, it’s him again” “How many times has he come already?” “This is the seventh time, sir”. “Okay, might as well listen to him now. Bring him in”. “Yes, sir”. The man that came had a hunched back, as if the world around him had shrunk and he had adjusted accordingly. Adjusted perfectly, actually. It was the most comfortable hunch he had seen. “Salam sahib”. “Haan, what can we do for you?” “It’s about my son, he’s been detained by the police for over three months, and he hasn’t committed a crime. We just need your help sahib”. His personal assistant (PA) flinched around him, “Sir ...

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Why did you read, share, comment and like Daily Pakistan’s story maligning Syeda Ghulam Fatima, Pakistan?

It may seem disingenuous of me to criticise another writer for employing ‘click-bait’. When I contribute to The Express Tribune Blogs, I do suggest attractive titles for my pieces designed to earn reader interest. After all, aside from publishing well-written pieces every editor wants to boost traffic numbers on their publication, while every writer wants their work read. But the difference between an eye-catching title and pure click-bait is like the difference between mixing a few spoons of sugar into your tea versus adding the contents of an entire sugar mill. After all, aside from publishing well-written pieces every editor ...

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In Pakistan, men make decisions and women make dinner

Inequality between men and women is not something exclusive to the subcontinent or the Middle East. For instance, while allowed to participate in the army, women are still not permitted to serve in frontline combat in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Slovakia. In the United States, and other developed nations, women are consistently overlooked for promotions and paid less for doing the same work their male counterparts do. In this part of the world, however, we make a clear distinction. Gender inequality is far from over in the developed world but at least mainstream statements that promote equality and denounce ...

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Why didn’t the FBI disclose the Trump-Putin investigation pre-election?

While my heart goes out to the latest victims of the continuing global mass carnage, here in Washington, the cat is officially out of the bag! With an emphatic ‘yes’ (to Russian hacking) and a firm ‘no’ (to Barack Obama ordering Donald Trump’s wiretapping), FBI Director James Comey sealed the deal of what could turn out to be the most controversial presidency in US history. This is not a left-wing conspiracy against Trump. This is not even the fulsome fake news. This is all really real. On March 20th, the FBI director testified in the Congress that Trump has been under investigation for a possible collusion with the Russians who might have helped ...

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Rabi Pirzada’s creepy version of ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ is torture to the ears and eyes

There is nothing more annoying than listening to one of the great classics being slayed by its rendition. One particular example is Rabi Pirzada’s adaptation of Mere Rashke Qamar, originally sung by the king of qawwali, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  Indisputably, Khan’s most popular composition, Mere Rashke Qamar has drawn the attention of many artists throughout the years but none of the renditions have been as bad as this one. The original had the perfect blend of a soothing melody, emotional lyrics and a commanding voice that made it an unforgettable classic. Pirzada’s creepy version, however, has none of these components. It’s an awful attempt ...

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How is Roger Federer managing to pull off such Houdini acts?

Basking in the glory of lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the fifth time in his career, Roger Federer had his crescendo moment in Melbourne when he finally got the monkey of not winning a major tournament in more than four years off his back. By getting one over his nemesis Rafael Nadal, Federer had vanquished the demons of falling at the final hurdle of major tournaments (losing in the Wimbledon finals of 2014 and 2015 and the US Open in 2015 to Novak Djokovic). Furthermore, he had possibly laid to rest the meandering debate amongst countless tennis aficionados of who, between Federer and Nadal, ...

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Why Turkey’s referendum is important

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Besides physical beauty of its architectural heritage and breath-taking landscapes, Turkey also captures the imagination because it is a crossroad of Asia and Europe, and consequently a lovely mix between tradition and modernisation. But what makes Turkey truly fascinating for me is that since the 1920s, it has been a secular as well as a moderate Muslim majority country. Whenever someone wants to prove that a Muslim country can be secular and moderate, they use Turkey as their example.  Turkey was cited by Reza Aslan as an example to counter ...

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Why is there a religion column in advertisements for sweepers anyway?

Whenever a local body like a municipal or town committee advertises for jobs involving ‘dirty work’ (like sweeping floors or cleaning bathrooms), the religion of those applying for the job is also specified. And the advertisement usually mentions that the applicants should be Christians or Hindus (Dalits). Though why sweepers and cleaners have to be non-Muslims is not clear. Who does the dirty work in countries where there are few, or no, Christians or Hindus (like Saudi Arabia for instance)? One such advertisement went viral recently. But this time the advertisement stated that applicants for the job should be “Shia, Hindu/Balmikis or ...

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When pizza meets French toast, love transpires

During my time at LUMS, if there was one thing I looked forward to before going to those early morning classes, it was the Pepsi Dining Center (PDC) French toast with a cup of steaming illaichi chai. Another thing I remember from university was the all-nighter sessions, where pizza was our staple, our means for survival… let’s just say pizza saw us through many a tough one. We owe pizza a lot. I have already done a piece on pizza bread and one on French toast so today, I am going to be very creative and combine the two to turn ...

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Wedding bells

“My dress is going to be whiter than that cloud,” she said to me while we walked down the path in the park. The sky was clear except for a few cotton-sized clouds congregating above us. She pointed at them as she spoke, “It’s going to have this braid that flows down my gown and a net on my back. You’ll like that won’t you?” The sun was playing a mischievous game of hide and seek with the clouds as I tried to envision the gown in my head. “You really want that braid?” I asked. “Yes!” she exclaimed and let go ...

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