Stories published in July, 2017

Game of Thrones S07-E02 was a visual spectacle, proving that this season is on steroids

If there were more than seven episodes in season seven of Game of Thrones (GoT), the second episode could have been more of a ‘set the stage and build the intrigue’ episode. But as I pointed out in my previous review of the season seven premiere, GoT is equipped with a turbocharger and things are escalating pretty quickly. Fans who complained that the season premiere was a let-down won’t be complaining once they watch this week’s episode. The episode kicks off exactly where the last one ended. Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen have a lot of strategising to do, especially if Daenerys wants to become the queen of the seven kingdoms and ...

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Why Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is the war film the world needs today

In one scene in Dunkirk, a young boy lies on the floor of a boat, struck, hurt and unmoving. His friend whispers to him that he needs to get better, because he requires help on deck. The boy replies that he will not be able to help. Because he can no longer see. The war in Dunkirk, comprising of terse battles from the sky, land and water, is in itself like a blind, unseeing force. Blind in its senselessness and blind in its fury. Christopher Nolan’s superb and unusual movie is a metaphor for the blind chaos that war is. Movies often play ...

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Shehbaz Sharif can buy himself a helicopter, but it’s too costly to provide adequate medical facilities in Punjab?

The aftermath of the Bahawalpur tragedy is a harrowing tale of gross incompetence and disregard for human life. Before this, little emphasis has been placed on how the massive loss of life could have been avoided. For instance, Army helicopters had to be called in for transporting the burn victims to the hospital since the rescue services didn’t own one. But here’s a little fact – just three months ago, a Rs2.25 billion Russian helicopter was bought by Shehbaz Sharif for personal use. The question that should be asked here is, whether it was bought with public funds that could have been utilised elsewhere. Numerous lives could have been ...

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England is home to international cricket, despite terror attacks, but Pakistan isn’t?

It will be difficult to forget Pakistan’s ascendancy in the recent ICC Champions Trophy, given the perpetual celebration that has ensued since the country’s improbable victory against India. Mohammad Amir will be one of Pakistan’s bowling mainstays in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Photo: Getty In addition to waxing nostalgia about his personal prowess on the field, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embraced the national cricket team in Islamabad with all the expected pomp and pageantry. This seems justified in a country whose cricketers flourished in England despite the limitations of the system that produced them. Thus, we revelled in Fakhar Zaman’s audacity to challenge premier pace attacks despite inexperience; in Hassan Ali’s guile ...

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Anti-honour killing and acid attacks bills: More laws to be buried in the graveyard of good intentions?

This past week, the Sindh Assembly passed two laws against honour killing and acid attacks. It is a commendable initiative and the first such act against honour killings in all four provinces and territories. The laws are adequately severe with stipulations such as no blood money is allowed to be granted, acid attacks are unbailable offences and suggesting that the capital offence may be given to those killing in the name of honour. Furthermore, they are reflective of a humanistic mind-set and the architects of it will have to do far more than merely draft it and push it through the red tape of senates and assemblies to receive accolades ...

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Dear sexist men, your privileged gender is not an outcome of your “biological” qualities, but of social conditioning

Recently, I wrote an article based on two recent videos which went viral. The main idea behind the article was to showcase two outstanding individuals who challenged gender stereotypes instead of conforming to society’s prescribed gender roles, going on to live their individual dreams. For me, these individuals are heroes and, in fact, trailblazers as they have challenged socially constructed stereotypes. These stereotypes play a large role in determining what is expected of men and women from society. By spelling out these expectations and enforcing them through upbringing and cultural norms, men and women are often regimented into different roles and hence, destinies. These different roles also largely account ...

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Sean Spicer may just be the first in the long list of those quitting on Donald Trump

Change is the only constant in Washington. We know that. However, whereas Fridays are usually on the slower and uneventful side, this past Friday, July 21, 2017, was one hell of an exception. It was anything but slow or uneventful. In fact, it turned out to be one of those Fridays when you know before noon that today is going to be “that” Friday! As if Donald Trump’s New York Times interview earlier in the week was not enough to create a furor, the appointment of Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as the White House (WH) communications director triggered a counter reaction from an otherwise unquestioning and ...

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You should expect nothing

There are days of glee and sorrow, There are days of wonder and freight, There are days of worry, insecurity — Thoughts that you’ve been victimised. There are protruding, menacing, cutting eyes, Staring. They watch your every move. It’s not some higher power or satan or big brother, It’s just all the people who expect something from you. And the days will pass you by. You will find new shores and highways. You will look beyond the roofs of Karachi, and the markets of Lahore. You will breathe in the stink of cities, leaving the Big Apple behind. You will see the world — not really, But it will be enough. They will wonder where you’ve gone, maybe they really do ...

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Saudi Arabia, India or the US – who is conspiring against Nawaz Sharif and why?

At the beginning of this month, the government found itself in something of a pickle. Regardless of a dubious WhatsApp call fiasco and alleged political proclivities of the joint investigation team (JIT) members, the Sharifs had failed miserably in elucidating a tangible money trail for their opulent assets abroad. To truly offset the velocity of the storm they faced, they would have to counter attack with something far more potent and invidious – something powerful enough to offset the damning reality of their inconclusive money trial – a global conspiracy. A conspiracy that was hatched in collusion with the venal folks in the General Headquarters (GHQ), ...

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Comparing a Muslim name to Hitler is not only factually wrong but also boorish

Gone are the days when naming a baby was a simple task. However, the millennial city-bred parents are different. Their babies names are no longer about sounding meaningful, cute or easy to pronounce. In fact, the more difficult the name is to remember, the better. This is the reason why we have names ranging from Viviaan, Aarav, Riyan to Niarra, instead of Amit, Sumit, Rohit and/or Neha. Talking about the celebrity class, well, they are a step ahead of thinking outside the box. This is inherently why they all have babies with such unique names – no cattle class would even dare ...

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