Stories about office

Remembering Ashfaq Ahmed: Through his stories, he will live forever in our hearts

On September 7, 2004, while sitting in my office and doing my routine work, I received a call from a close friend. Without the usual ‘Salam dua’ he exclaimed, “Ashfaq sahib is no more; just got the news.” It was a short sentence, but it had many aspects attached to it. The feeling of a great loss, sweet memories of so many stories, dramas and plays, of colourful travelogues, funny incidents, thought-provoking quotes of Sufis and other baabay (mystics); nostalgic recollections of a life well spent, and fully lived. So much came to mind and passed like a breeze, leaving me numb and motionless ...

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Negotiating with the Afghan Taliban is a good idea

Recent news of the Taliban opening an office to facilitate negotiations captured headlines across the world. First, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai reacted with indignity to the decision made by the Taliban leadership to open an office under the banner of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. Karzai then announced that Afghanistan will not be participating in peace negotiations with the Taliban. What followed was last week’s bombing by the Taliban at the Presidential Compound, believed to be the most secure area in Afghanistan. The negotiations so far have been inconsequential. No prisoners swapped, no eleventh-hour deal, no power-sharing agreement. There exist only desperate pleas from Secretary Kerry ...

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My experience at the not-so-swift NADRA offices

“What’s so special about this special Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC)?” I asked. The man wearing the volunteer card replied, “It will give you small privileges over the rest of the people.” “Such as?” I asked, curious. “You won’t have to wait in any long lines, for instance, and all of your work will be done on fast track.” Having visited a National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office once before, I had learned not to trust any claim of this agency. But this was not any Nadra office — it was a camp organised by an NGO at a local university in Karachi for ...

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Why butcher the English language? Just speak in Urdu

Walking towards the Select mart at the petrol pump today, I saw a sign on the wall that read “Select Gate” with an arrow pointing towards the right. It took me a while to figure out that they really meant that the door (the “gate”) was to the right. The writers of this sign may be excused for being uneducated people who are unfamiliar with the English language. Being an avid reader and a writer, however, like Henry Higgins, I am particularly sensitive to the abuse of the English language, especially when it comes from someone who really should know ...

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Sexual harassment: Stop whining and do something about it!

“Where are you, ‘baby’? I am waiting.” No, this is not an SMS from someone’s fiancé, husband or boyfriend. This was sent by a colleague to another colleague of mine. After a few minutes of disbelief, she was engulfed by anger and replied, “Are you in your senses? What kind of an SMS is that?” To her utter astonishment his reply was: “Err.. Is mein kia tha?” (What was wrong in that SMS?) The reply indicated how casually men take their behaviour towards the fairer sex. No, I do not want to re-emphasise here how often we have to face difficult workplace situations. No, I ...

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The life of a business reporter

“Journalism is writing,” columnist Aakar Patel once told me, saying I should write more to justifiably be called a journalist. I was then a sub-editor on the Op-Ed desk of The News. After spending four years on that job, I knew I had become lazy, self-satisfied and highly opinionated – characteristics of a typical sub-editor. So I decided to become a business reporter after coming back from a one-year break that I took to do a Master’s degree in Journalism. If you think a business reporter’s job is a piece of cake, try having a direct conversation with a businessman. Ask him about his ...

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The president’s immunity

The question of whether President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity against criminal or civil proceedings requires an analysis of Article 248 of the Constitution. This states that: Article 248 (1) : The president shall not be answerable to any court….for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions. The article goes on to state that: Article 248 (2): No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office. Article 248(3): No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the ...

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Paying taxes shouldn’t be this hard

Since my BBA program finished, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home. Taking advantage of the situation, my dad asked me to go and pay the car tax a few days ago. Attempt # 1 Still in vacation mode, I dragged myself to the nearest National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) tax-payable branch at 12:45pm. Here, I was welcomed by a long line out in the sun. I was to be number 12 in the line. Not having much planned for the day, I waited for my turn admiring a stray cat that seemed to be in heat as it ...

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What you need to know about Hina Rabbani Khar

After keeping the slot of Foreign Minister vacant for more than five months, the government has finally woken up and decided to appoint Hina Rabbani Khar as the next Foreign Minister of Pakistan. It will not be an alien territory for Ms Khar, as she has been performing her duties as the Junior State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs till now. But, there will be an additional set of responsibilities that will come with the promotion. Even though she is familiar with the portfolio, it will be very difficult to speculate, at this stage, how much she would ...

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10 things I learnt as an intern

At some companies ‘intern’ is just a word for ‘sastay mazdoor’ or cheap labour. So  interns, you should be glad if you’re given some decent work to do. Or else, you might have to go pick up pastries from the bakery for a newly promoted employee. Here are a few facts I learned during my internship 1. The photocopier is your best friend. 2. Cafeteria food will always taste bland and yet there will be a mad dash for biryani every Friday. 3. While interning, nine to five will be the only time you will get to do your home work, assignments and ...

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