Brawl in the susral: Is Faryal Makhdoom really as innocent as she claims to be?

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! And welcome to the main event; the fifth monthly featherweight bout between the susral and the bahu for the Pakistani masses. We’d like to thanks our judges for tonight; social media, bad journalism and you! The people-with-nothing-better-to-do! The stakes have never been higher! The winner of this match will receive a tea-cup full of sasti shaurat (cheap fame) and absolutely no title belt what so ever, because this is not important! Now, introducing first: In the red corner, we have the upholder of moral values, the traditional immigrant sob-story, the clean, the mean, the Khan ...

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Why can’t we have Pakistani bands, DJs, and solo artists with massive fan bases in our own country?

Pakistan is home to a large population. It is harbouring so many talented musicians, some who we may never hear of, and Coke Studio hits. Then why is our music-loving population either humming Bollywood hits or songs from the Billboard Top 40 chart? This is because there is a lack of opportunities and exposure for local artists. Pakistan only has a handful of record labels that are famous for not promoting “unknown artists” and for taking away all creative control from the performer. One prime example of this is the now discontinued Fire Records that at one point managed every mainstream Pakistani artist with any notable fame. ...

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I’m masculine enough to admit that I love watching Pakistani dramas, are you?

Being the eldest in the family, I have always been very close to my mother. This is perhaps why I hold a keen interest in watching dramas. Usually, watching Pakistani dramas is seen as a “fluff” activity – something that is specific to women. But I remain unapologetic about being a drama buff and see no harm to it. Pakistani society, at large, is messed up about its values. We are okay with men being physically abusive, but we are not accepting when a woman answers us back. We proudly succumb to societal pressures and gender stereotypes, but we are not okay with a man being ...

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Junaid Jamshed is Pakistan: Absurdly talented yet seriously flawed

Capping off a year already filled with terrible news was yesterday’s tragic incident. A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral, killing 48 people on board and leaving the country in shock. To start with, the pain being faced by the families of these lost 48 lives must be incalculable. To lose a loved one so abruptly without closure is a terrible ordeal. At the very least, the loved ones should be provided with grief-counselling by the government at the earliest, though the chances of this happening are low. There must also be questions asked about ...

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I refused a sexual relationship with my boss, he refused to pay me for my work

If you’re working as a freelance writer, you’re bound to meet and work with people belonging to different cultures and mentalities. To maintain a healthy business in a professional manner, especially now when technology and virtual communication is integral to any business, it’s important to set certain restrictions and guidelines, leaving room for flexibility. But in all cases, be careful about who you trust because this is what happened to me when I let myself trust a ‘big name’. Two months ago, I chose to work for a well-known journalist, Wajahat Kazmi – one of those personalities who have a ...

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Why is the Bangladeshi or Indian narrative the only acceptable narrative for 1971?

The year 2016 is ending on a somewhat positive note for Pakistan with a lower number of terror-related casualties compared to 2015. Yet there is one date that always affects Pakistanis aware of the 1971 partition of East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. That date is the December 16th. December 16th is marked as Victory Day in Bangladesh, signifying not only its independence from West Pakistan (now Pakistan), but also its apparent victory over the Pakistani military. On this day every year, social media, not only in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in neighbouring India is abuzz with different narratives, opinions, and sentiments. #16December A historical day for India, the Day ...

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Our first transgender model and other milestones for Pakistan

As Indian activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi stomped the runway at the Lakme Fashion Week, US athlete Chris Mosier appeared in a Nike advertisement, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared an iftar meal with a transgender celebrity, a change has been brewing globally this year. But there’s still so much activism, action and inertia that is still needed in Pakistan. Let’s recount some of the trailblazing moments that shook the Pakistani society, empowering the notions surrounding transgender persons: June 2009 In order to ensure their rights, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the first census for transgender people to take place. However, ...

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Does the on-going Kashmir “movement” lack a plan of action?

In Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail?, an article published in the New York Times last year, Ivan Krastev couches his set of arguments in a thought-provoking manner by referring to history. He writes that, immediately after the 1851 Paris coup by Napoleon, some of the greatest political minds from Europe, including Karl Marx (a communist), Pierre Joseph Proudhon (an anarchist), Victor Hugo (a romantic), Alexis de Tocqueville and Walter Bagehot (the liberals) hustled to their reading rooms to understand the Paris coup and draw philosophical conclusions out of such events. To quote Ivan, “Their interpretations of the coup were as different ...

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Dear Pakistan, try not to get scammed this Black Friday

Picture this – post Thanksgiving America gearing up for Black Friday. An event like none other; adults stealing from children, fist fights, arrests, and all in all, pure mayhem. Now imagine a ‘desi-fied’ version of the same event. No, I am not referring to posh aunties pulling each others hair for a piece of lawn, but rather, the whole hoopla surrounding these online Black Friday sales. Last year, one of the biggest retailers in Pakistan pulled the black Friday stunt, and as expected, everybody else followed suit. The sale ended up breaking records but as a consumer, I felt it was a dud. Now don’t ...

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Dr Abdus Salam, forgotten but not forgiven by Pakistan

The hush silence that marked Doctor Abdus Salam’s death anniversary this year was palpable. It is fairly difficult for most of my compatriots to honour the services of a Pakistani if he happens to be an Ahmadi. However, there is a lot more to Salam than merely winning a Nobel Prize or being ostracised as a pariah for his religious affiliation. A befitting gesture on my part would be to clear some of the hazy aura and the lesser known Sisyphean struggle that makes him unique and inspirational. Missed out on a Nobel Prize, but never gave up Where the world is still in awe for Salam winning a Nobel Prize in Physics, ...

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