Stories about journalist

The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Not all Indians are rapists just like not all Pakistanis are terrorists

As a Pakistani, I always thought of the Indian media as anti-Pakistani and excessively nationalistic. So when I recently got the opportunity to work with Indian journalists, I was not sure what to expect. I was on my way to London for the Chevening/South Asia Journalism Fellowship. The program brought 17 leading journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to live and work together in London for two months. Getting off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I wondered what it would be like to have a frank conversation with an Indian journalist. India is almost four times the size of Pakistan, yet their news media seem to be obsessed ...

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Thank you Abba, for making me the woman I am

It’s been almost nine years since Abba left us. I have written much about Ammi since then, about how she did not take his going so well, about her dementia. But I have somehow avoided writing about my father. Perhaps there is too much to write and it is difficult, even for someone like me, for whom words come easy. In the last few years of his life, his health was flailing and he knew. He started to wrap things up, though he loved life and fought for it till the end. In that twilight phase, what came up repeatedly was ...

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The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

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Aligarh: Gay love in the time of Bollywood

All right, I am holding my hands up and I admit I was a homophobe back in the day. Like any typical Pakistani youngster, a lot of my cussing and swearing involved slurs against the gay community. Even the word ‘gay’ itself turns pejorative since it’s used with a derisive attitude in our society and considered as a general term of disparagement amongst Pakistani youth and ashamedly, I was no different. But for me personally, my days as a typical homophobic youngster changed for good when I happened to stumble upon Brokeback Mountain (2005). I am not a big fan of movies ...

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This time, it was Zaman Mehsud’s turn to be silenced

This time it was Zaman Mehsud’s turn. The 40-year-old journalist was sprayed with bullets as he rode his motorbike in Tank district yesterday, November 3, 2015, a day after the world observed the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’. He was shot in the chest, arm and leg. He succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.  Mehsud worked for the Daily Ummat and was also associated, in the capacity of a coordinator, with a local human rights organisation. The details available regarding his cold blooded murder are customary. The reason he was silenced mercilessly is also anyone’s guess. It is interesting to note, however, that the ...

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1965: You didn’t win the war India, but neither did we, Pakistan

There is no doubt that the 1965 Indo-Pak war over the status of Jammu and Kashmir ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated truce that compelled India to accept the ceasefire on September 21, 1965 while Pakistan agreed to it on September 22, 1965. The Tashkent peace agreement constrained Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan to quit all territorial claims and pull back their armies from the disputed terrain to pre-conflict positions by February 25, 1966. Although it is also evident that the conflict was halted with a truce due to the policies of the US and the Soviet Union – who were engaged in the Cold War at ...

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Dear Faisal Qureshi, just stop the hypocrisy. Please.

Dear Faisal Qureshi, Let me start by saying that while I am a film critic whose reviews are published weekly in Pakistan, I rarely watch Bollywood ‘films’. In fact, the last time I tried, my brain snapped shut, and I vomited uncontrollably for a few minutes. Later, I was diagnosed with Post Bollywood Stress Disorder (PBSD), a mental health condition provoked by a shockingly bad Bollywood film. I was sure I would never watch something as horrific again, until I saw your video response to Indian actor Saif Ali Khan’s comments on the Pakistani ban on his film, Phantom.

Now, I must admit, at the very least, you ...

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She wanted fortune, and he wanted love

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The frivolity with which Mehr sat in the Nadia Coffee Shop at the Marriot hotel in her revealing red sari earned a scorn or two from the passing ladies. Little did the ladies know that their husband’s enjoyed scantily clad Mehr’s sight as much as they despised it. She clutched her bag, a fake DKNY, peeked inside the pockets and then ordered a glass of lime water. Her calm countenance faded as her phone kept ringing. Her eyes scanned the men at the shop, separating the suitable ones from the ...

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Misplaced priorities: Why do you lose your mind when it comes to Imran Khan?

 As a journalist I have always been impartial towards political parties; experience shows that while all of them promise the world, none of them deliver. Lately, however, the dynamic of politics in Pakistan have changed. Ever since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has come into power in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), many women started taking an interest in Pakistani politics. The women are now seen constituting a majority of the supporters participating in various sit-ins that take place in cities across the country. For many it is the aura that Imran Khan emanates that becomes the primary reason for support, while for others it ...

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