Stories about journalist

It’s our own damn fault!

After an attack on Jinnah International Airport just two days ago, you would think we have some practice in dealing with the situation. We don’t; in fact, we just keep getting better at failure. The second attack takes place at the ASF training camp, which is in close proximity to the high-alert, already bruised airport. The events that followed post breaking the news were something to see, perhaps as a training manual for What-Not-To-Do-In-An-Emergency-For-The-Second-Time. Within minutes you felt like you were actually there as reporters tried to take us foot by foot with the commandos holding weapons. It began with a few ...

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One-on-one with Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain

The phone rings… Me: “Hello?” Person 1: “Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain aap sey baat karain ge.” (Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain would like to speak with you.) Me: “Okay.” Maintains a calm tone while jumping around Phone on-hold, music plays… Person 2: “Baat kijiye Chaudhry sahab se.” (Talk to Mr Chaudhry please) Me: “Okay.” Still jumping… Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (Sen CSH): “Assalamu Alaikum, kaisi hain aap?” (May peace be upon you, how are you?) Me: “Walaikum Assalam. Main bilkul theek hoon. Aap kaise hain?” (I’m perfectly fine, how are you?) Sen CSH: “Theek. Bohat hee acha article likha hai aapne.” (I’m fine. The article you wrote was very good.) Me: “Thank you so much for your appreciation.” Sen CSH: “Jo hum apne initiative ke through message dena chah rahe thay, aapne bilkul sahi tarha woh logon tak ...

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Maya Angelou – An enlightened glow in the world of literature

When I read the news about Maya Angelou’s death yesterday, I felt a small ache in my heart. Our world lost another great laureate this year, Gabriel Garcia Marquez being the first. Angelou’s work is commendable. For me, she was a woman who had seen all facades of life and with her vast intellect, she enriched our literary world. She has published seven autobiographies and various books of poetry. Her books give a deep insight to her childhood and early adult experiences. Her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 which was a narrative of her life till she ...

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Journalism in Pakistan: Where the sword is mightier than the pen…

“How was your weekend?” a colleague asked me. “Terrible.” I answered. “Oh! Why so?” he inquired. I was sad and nostalgic. I told him that on Friday evening, I had received a message on Skype which said that the late Arif Shafi would have turned 38-years-old and that was when my mood had changed and become so gloomy. Confused, my colleague asked, “But who was Arif Shafi?” I didn’t know how to answer him. The fact is that I had never known Shafi personally. He and I had exchanged a few emails two years back while he was working on a feature story on the ...

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Love in the time of Marquez

I woke up today and switched on my cell, a morning ritual. The first ping was a WhatsApp message from fellow journalist and dear friend Shai Venkatraman, “Marquez is dead!” It was followed by an emoticon denoting sadness. I sat up, partly due to disbelief. Illogical disbelief. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was 87-years-old. He was sick and frail. Reports of Alzheimer’s pointed in the direction that the beautiful mind that had given us works that pulled us through our years of solitude had exhausted its reservoir of memories. He had done his job. He had given enough to this world. It was his ...

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Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

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10 things I hate about being attacked at work

1. The fear. The fear that whoever is chucking grenades and has been firing bullets for the last 10 minutes is about to enter the building. Should I be hiding under my desk? Or should I be leading my team somewhere? Or should I follow my gut and run screaming up and down the hallway? 2. Watching your colleagues run terrified out of an emergency back exit, only to hear another hail of bullets echo in the dark street outside the office. The anxiety as the door they ran out of is slammed shut by those panicking inside. 3. Crouching low and kicking yourself multiple ...

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Tehelka controversy: Can powerful editors get away with sexual harassment?

For more than a decade now, Tehelka magazine has been respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of illegal defence deals, land rights issues, gender equality and communalism. Then, what happened two weeks ago in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Goa that not only shattered the reputation of the magazine, but blacklisted it for a long time to come? Tarun Tejpal, the patron of Tehelka, is said to have sexually assaulted a female colleague during the annual THiNK fest that Tehelka organises every November. He sent an email yesterday afternoon to the Managing Editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury saying that he has ‘recused’ ...

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How to write an article on Pakistan (for the foreign press)

Dear journalist, blogger, columnist or on-again, off-again writer, congratulations! You have chosen to cover Pakistan in an article aimed at a global audience and (fingers crossed) paid for by a foreign news service/agency. Your guide awaits you below – check off your game plan and repeat ad nauseum. STEP 1: Choose your topic A: I want to write on terrorism, the impact of the US exit from Afghanistan, drone attacks, the tribal badlands, ‘Nuclear-armed’ dangers and Pakistan’s foreign policy in general. Pros: I can be an expert on all the above thanks to Google and many hours of spare time. Cons: There is ...

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Ansar Abbas: The blast tore his arms but not his spirit

Pakistan has been a hotbed of terrorism and militancy for almost a decade now. In this period of time, more than 50,000 people have become victims of terrorism with the north western areas being especially vulnerable to militancy and bloodshed. Many Pakistanis see the country’s future as dark and hopeless, however, Ansar Abbas is not one of them. Syed Ansar Abbas, aged 30, is one of the many victims of terrorism that has plagued Pakistan. He lost both his arms in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan. However, despite such a grave and life-altering tragedy, he is still hopeful and ...

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