Stories published in May, 2017

As PPP dries up in Punjab, Firdous Awan looks towards PTI’s (hypocritical) greener pastures

In a recent development, the former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is not the first time Awan has changed her loyalties, as she had originally been elected on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket in 2002 and then joined PPP in 2008 just before the elections. Her most recent switch indicates two things. First, the claims of PTI of representing something new and of being a harbinger of change have little truth in them. Second, PPP’s fortunes in Punjab are grim and it is doubtful that it is going to make any impact in ...

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Pakistan’s first ever pro-wrestling event was a success, but does it have a future here?

It was back in the 80s when the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) visited Pakistan and conducted three shows at the Liaquat Gymnasium in Islamabad. This was the first ever contact pro-wrestling match with a Pakistani audience. Unfortunately, due to the political and security situation of our country, we were cut off from wrestling tours in the future. We then began to rely on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for our dose of wrestling. Sure, legendary Antonio Inoki and his crew visited Pakistan back in 2012 and conducted a show under the banner of the Punjab Youth Festival but that was, let’s face it, more of a political gathering as ...

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Instead of playing political games, BJP should keep the Indian army in its own democratic boundary

Civil supremacy over the military, a necessary adjunct of the parliamentary form of government, stands firmly established in India, making the army a political neutral institution of the state. Over the decades, the Indian army has played a crucial role in preserving the democracy of India – first by serving the nation with professionalism, and second by keeping itself away from politics. However, off late, post the Narendra Modi government at the centre, there is angst that the military is being politicised. The infatuation between the government and the army is quite evident. The government, time and again, has been advertising cross border operations and ...

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Remembering my father, Salmaan Taseer, and his love for pranks on his 73rd birthday

At last I’m able to laugh about my father, Salmaan Taseer, and remember the good times without anger and sadness. More than six years after his death, I found myself at a dinner table with the company coiled in helpless laughter over my Abba’s stories. As today would be his 73rd birthday, I’m happy to share his light-hearted side and humour. Abba had the most wicked sense of humour. Friends, relatives or his children were not immune from his tricks, pranks and one-liners, and all who knew him will attest to his fun and vivacious side. He always managed to spontaneously highlight the comical side ...

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Nothing can save ‘The Circle’ from its circle of destruction

With the advent of information technology, the debate about privacy protection has raised numerous questions concerning law, policy making and moral principles. The disclosures of Edward Snowden have proven that privacy threats are genuine. The internet and social media are also being frequently used for global electronic surveillance programs.  The 21st century cinema is thrilled to cover stories of global scandals and the risks associated with the use of advanced technology. The various techno-thrillers and sci-fi dramas, with near-future science imaginary tales have already covered plentiful digital conspiracy and apocalyptic stories. The Spectacular Now (2013) and The End Of The Tour (2015) famed film director and screenwriter, James Ponsoldt’s latest venture is also about ...

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Maybe Humpty Dumpty was never meant to be put back together again

People believe falling makes you stronger. These people were clearly never witness to the Great Ski Hazard of 2002. Let me elaborate. I grew up in Canada. When I was in the fourth grade, my school had the bright idea to take a bunch of clueless, over-excited nine-year-olds on a ski trip. Naturally, I was ecstatic. At the time, I never thought twice about slipping and sliding down snow-covered hills with two measly pieces of wood stuck on my feet. I didn’t grasp just how daunting the prospect of skiing would be until I stepped off the bus at the resort. I remember my stomach ...

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Why Uzma Ahmed’s narrative of her stay in the “well of death” is as fishy as it gets

Whether Uzma Ahmed’s story is true or a farrago of  a distortion of facts, misrepresentation and outright lies (Hail Shashi Tharoor ji), still remains a mystery. While she has her own version of the story, the videos shown in the Pakistan media of her nikkah prove otherwise. Besides, there are lot of questions and missing links. However, out of all the things, the one that is bothering me the most is her attitude towards Pakistan as a nation. Interestingly, even when the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked Pakistan for the safe return of Uzma despite the troubled bilateral political relations between the two countries, ...

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Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Homecoming King’ tackles racism, bullying and the effects of 9/11 on desis one joke at a time

Hasan Minhaj is a writer, comedian and actor, but he is mainly known for his political satire. He is a senior correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and recently hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) for which he got much applause since it was a hard gig to pull off without the presence of President Donald Trump himself. Homecoming King is his first stand-up special aired on Netflix, in which he mainly talks about what it is like to be an immigrant in America. The show is the story of his life, lit with photos and seasoned with Urdu/Hindi phrases which make it all the more entertaining. From the pressure of immigrant parents to being bullied at ...

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When Trump met the pope…

On May 19, 2017, Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia, to mark his first series of international appearances as the President of the United States of America. The itinerary read as follows; Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican City, Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) leaders meeting and finally Sicily for the G7 summit. As one would expect, there were a myriad of talking points, just hours after Trump left his Mar-a-lago comfort zone. Firstly, from a journalistic point of view it was exceedingly hard to cover this trip. In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation is still at an all-time ...

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Is the road to development leading Multan somewhere else?

For centuries, Multan has stayed true to its reputation as the land of graveyards and beggars, heat and dust. Despite the sprawling mango orchards across the district, the terrain retains a semi-arid feel, a situation that only promises to get worse in the face of looming water scarcity and unscientific crop management. If tree cover in the country, in general, is significantly less than ideal, it is critically low in the Upper Indus Plain comprising southern Punjab. For decades, Pakistan’s ruling elite have favoured one mode of development above all else; build roads and prosperity will follow. From local politicians to national leaders, ...

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