Stories published in May, 2017

This Ramazan, let’s make sure that converts are as much part of the faith as us

Ramazan and I are old friends. From a young age, mother would always let me stay up well into the night to fold samosas (fried dish with savoury filling) and fatayer (Middle Eastern meat pie) for the next day. For me, Ramazan means sleepy eyes, knowing smiles, and a month of eating on the floor with my family and praying with friends at the mosque I grew up in. More than anything, Ramazan means coming home – back to my community, back to my mama’s kitchen, and back to the One who sustains me. We are the lucky ones, those of us who have those deep traditions to fall ...

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Sangat proves that mothers will always force their daughters to stay silent about abuse

Written by Zafar Mairaj who has also recently penned down Muqabil, another drama that deals with a victim of sexual abuse, Sangat has hundreds of snags and a few redeeming points. The plot Ashi (Saba Qamar) is a cheerful, bright woman married to Adnan (Mikaal Zulfiqar) and lives with him in their house along with her sister-in-law, Farah (Kiran Haq) and mother-in-law (Samina Ahmed). It’s all hunky dory. Adnan is a doting husband, Ashi is a dutiful wife. But they can’t have kids because Adnan needs to undergo medical treatment in order for Ashi to conceive, a matter which he is delaying. ...

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But who will stand up for Balochistan’s Jibran Jogezai?

Muhammad Jibran Khan Jogezai first came to our house in Karachi somewhere in 2006, courtesy of his classmate and my brother, Muhammad Saad. He had a heart of gold, a handsome countenance, a million dollar smile, and laughter encompassed him. He was an instant hit across three generations of our family (the only one to achieve that) and we loved him. Today, he is no more. He was martyred in Qilla Saifullah, mainland Balochistan, over property disputes involving ancestral property. It was a gun attack, they say. Three bullets, furthered by a dilapidated road and hospital infrastructure, ensured that he was no more. Jibran was one ...

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Mob justice is a slippery slope that India must not slide down from

As much as India is the land of dharma, the Buddha, Ashoka, and Gandhi, it is also a land that has been witness to untold violence and bloodshed over the centuries. There have been bloody invasions, conquests, internal clashes, and social divisions, all of which have perhaps left as much of an imprint on the collective psyche of Indian society as the great saints and yogis who preached their message of peace and love. This dichotomy manifests itself in modern India as well. At one level, 1.2 billion people co-exist relatively peacefully amidst scarcity, inequality, and intense competition for resources. On the other hand, there are ...

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Why honest policemen can’t survive under the existing Sindh set-up

The following is an old joke about the police in Karachi. The police chiefs of London, Tokyo and Karachi were discussing how they tackle crime in their cities. The London police chief said, “When a robbery occurs in my city, we solve the crime within 24 hours.” The Tokyo police chief said, “We catch the thieves within 12 hours.” The Karachi police chief responded with, “We cannot arrest anyone, as it’s our policemen who commit most of the crimes in Karachi.” In 1984, I visited a police station in Karachi to see someone who had been arrested. As we were talking, the phone rang and the SHO picked ...

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‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’: Exploring the death of creativity through education

Shahid Siddiqui’s ‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’ is like a tangible dream you can hold in your hands. You are a part of a chain and a constellation of dreams, only if you believe in the beauty of the imagination. This novel is a dazzling critique of educational practices in Pakistan. It distinguishes itself from other contemporary Urdu fiction through its content, diction, and style. The story follows the journey of a devoted teacher, Saharan Rai, who is selfless and gallant, and uses his heart and soul to fulfil his dreams. This is where it gets interesting. Rai’s dreams are universal and he illustrates the same desire that many ...

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Is Antonio Conte the reason behind Chelsea’s success?

Fans had enormous expectations as the 2016 football season started since they knew the Premier League would be featuring some of the world’s best managers. The league would prove to be a battlefield with the likes of Pep Guardiola and José Mourhino fighting for the title. The summer transfer window was filled with rumours and signings that broke record after record. It’s safe to say it lived up to expectations with no money spared to improve the two Manchester squads. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (L) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (R) Photo: AFP As the season took off, Guardiola showed the world why ...

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Hindi Medium: It is Saba Qamar’s world, and we all just live in it

When was the last time you saw a Pakistani actress killing it in Bollywood? Mahira Khan, you say? I consider her a part of the production design for Raees and not the cast, since she was nothing more than a pretty looking prop in a movie dominated by Shah Rukh Khan and narrative absurdities. Hmm, so your comeback is Humaima Malick? Ever wondered why she is rarely seen anywhere on screen after the disaster that was Raja Natwarlal? Next up, Meera ji? Oh so you are being funny now, you cheeky bugger you. Mawra Hocane?  Like seriously, are you kidding me? I am not even going to dignify that with a response. But ...

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Trump may be doing the right thing siding by Saudi instead of Iran

Political pundits around the world are trying to analyse the impact of President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his speech to the leaders of some 50 Muslim countries in Riyadh. Some are saying that it is full of contradictions as compared to his pre-election rhetoric against Muslims. Others say that his clear tilt towards Sunni’s and his siding with the Saudis on their stand vis à vis Iran is illogical and counter-productive to the USA’s fight against ISIS. On one hand, the fountainhead of the theological underpinnings of ISIS is the Saudi Arabian sponsored Wahabi/Takfiri ideology and its main support comes from ...

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Why is breast milk being substituted with formula?

Human beings are probably the only mammals on earth not benefiting from the precious elixir of life – breast milk. The epidemic of bottle feeding, powerful marketing by milk companies and unjustified formula feed prescriptions portray breast milk substitutes as power packed energy sources. Moreover, everyone is looking to benefit from these useless powders instead of the precious gift of nature. Breast milk is the first form of immunisation for a child and it is a potent caloric source that is in accordance with the need of the baby with no risk of contamination and, the best part is, it doesn’t cost a penny. From ...

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