If you want to survive in Pakistan, don’t stop at the red light!

A few years back, I stopped at a red light and my car was hit in the rear by a taxi driver. A crowd soon gathered and a traffic policeman came over and blamed me for the accident. “You’re not supposed to stop at traffic signals, even if the light is red,” he said. “You should slow down, look left and right and go across without getting hit, or hitting another car.” “But what about the traffic rules?” I protested. He laughed contemptuously. “Rules are made to be broken. If everyone followed the rules, the country would collapse.” By this time, the crowd was baying for ...

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Hello, I am an Iftarholic and I have a few confessions to make

When Ramazan began, I told myself that I am going to use this opportunity to secure a place in heaven, to achieve a significant share of 72 hooris (nymphs) – the halal way of course – and lose some pounds off my protruding belly. Sadly, my pre-Ramazan resolutions faced the same fate as my new year resolutions do each year. Come Ramazan, the first roza to be precise, I found this insatiable, almost corrupting desire inside me to go crazy on the iftars. No matter who it was arranged by, no matter what the menu was, and no matter how tough the days were, I was thrown into this ‘hunger games’ type of a competition. ...

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Jemima Goldsmith loves Pakistan more than many of us, even Imran Khan

Jemima Goldsmith recently tweeted that she found documents which would prove Imran Khan’s innocence in court regarding the purchase of his Bani Gala residence. The media has been gripped by this tweet and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) fans are ecstatic. On social media, they are raving about Jemima and her loyalty to the great Imran. Finally tracked down 15 yr old bank statements to prove Imran Khan money trail/ innocence in court. Now please go after the real crooks… — Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) June 1, 2017 What’s great about this tweet is not only the fact that it revealed proof to vindicate Imran and showed Jemima’s loyalty to him, but more ...

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Why are students always relying on guess papers instead of following the syllabus?

As a teacher, the most intimidating questioning I am frequently asked is, “Miss, aapka guess paper nahi hai?” (Miss, don’t you have your own guess paper?) On one hand, it makes me feel like a lethargic potato who is probably failing at teaching, but one the other, it also feels like I am not putting enough effort into educating my students. The tragedy I face with not being able to devise a guess paper is exacerbated by my inability to apply my mathematical skills and probabilities to come up with one. This particular question often has its similar counterparts to further drive me into a phase of ...

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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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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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Brace your wallets, Ramazan is coming

I first heard the story many years ago, and every year I hear it at least once.  Most Pakistanis are probably familiar with it, but it bears repeating, for those who’ve never heard it. It goes like this: In the early years of Islam, a preacher from a town sent his assistant to tell the people of a distant village in the mountains about Ramazan. He told them how they would have to get up before daybreak, eat food and drink water, then go without water and food until sunset, beginning with the appearance of the new moon and ending with the appearance of the ...

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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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Millennials and their “my life, my rules” approach

I started out early in the corporate world and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always been motivated. But before I detail my torrid experience with Pakistan’s burgeoning youth, let me state for the record, these views do not represent all the youngsters in the country. This article is merely a reflection of what I have encountered in the field. When I began my first internship during my O’ level days, I did the usual; hang around the office at times, Facebook a lot and extensively read up on European football. I basically enjoyed myself, but there were some things my boss never ...

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Discovering Pakistan’s circumstantial craftsmen

After their father fell seriously ill, two brothers Rameez and Khurram devoted their lives towards pursuing his dream. Their mission was to open their own handicrafts’ shop as their father was fond of wood carving. Rameez, expressing his gratitude towards his father with a smile on his face, said, “I remember the words of my father very clearly. He said when you craft, you create and that creation is all yours. Not only is it satisfactory, it is magical.” The two brothers have set up their own shop in Saddar for over 30 years now. Khurram pointed towards his hands and added, “When a man works, the hands ...

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