Shaheryar Popalzai

Shaheryar Popalzai

A sub-editor on the web desk of The Express Tribune.

When Twitter gets it wrong

I spend an average of 14 hours online every day. During this time, I monitor stories on different news sites, wires stories, Twitter and various other sources. Being in the news business, you can gauge where the news is wrong and where factual inaccuracies are coming from, which (newsflash) happens often. From politicians to opinion makers to senior journalists, factual errors and incorrect news is nothing new but it isn’t only media folk who are to blame. The online community itself is also part of this phenomenon. While ordinary citizens are never short of spreading rumors or incorrect news online ...

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Dear dictator, your rally really sucked

Dear dictator, Your ‘show of power’ in Karachi was, if I may respectfully say disappointing and anti-climatic. Despite all your tall claims of having massive public support, and an equally large Facebook following, you did not garner enough support to draw even close to 10,000 people at your rally. Leaders from your party proudly boasted that your rally would be bigger than Imran Khan’s, yet one can only wonder what happened and where you went wrong. Maybe if the attendees were paid more than Rs1,000 and a plate of biryani, you would have been able to fill the ground.  Not only ...

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More provinces – or not?

While provincial assemblies discuss and political parties sloganeer to muster support for the formation of new provinces — I can’t help wonder what’s the point? The ethnic division, as demanded by the PPP and the PML-Q, of Punjab and the division on administrative grounds by the PML-N both seem to be recipes for disaster. Let us start by considering the division of provinces on ethnic lines. While this option will be feasible for Punjab, Balochistan and even Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the division of Sindh on ethnic grounds could prove to be dangerous. Karachi and Hyderabad are cities where people from various ethnicities live ...

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Naval base attack: When will we learn?

Pakistan has a habit of not learning from its mistakes. We are stubborn and arrogant, and we scoff at others when they tell us we’re wrong, and let’s not forget, we believe our armed forces are brilliant and unstoppable. In 2009, ten terrorists managed to enter the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and killed 11 soldiers and two civilians. The terrorists were dressed in army uniforms when they entered the base. Fast forward to two years later – More than ten terrorists enter PNS Mehran, the air support base of Pakistan’s Navy, and destroy two air surveillance aircrafts worth $36 million each. Once ...

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The big bra brouhaha

Working in the online news world helps you develop a certain knack for determining viral stories. Words like sex, death, rape, religion and blast call out to you from the screen. So, when a headline like “Padded Bras are Devil’s Cushions says Council of Islamic Ideology” pops up in the wires I can understand why a bored sub-editor would sit up and take notice. Here’s a story about extremist mullahs from terror infested Pakistan cracking down on a symbol of women’s sexual liberation – it’s so perfectly cliché, it’s almost funny. The small story soon found its way to international websites, ...

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The colourful world of comments

“Don’t you have anything better to write about?” is the response you get when you do a story that does not cover pressing issues or one that would be ‘making a difference’. If you do get a story on topics along the lines of corruption, rape or violence, the reaction you get is, “Stop maligning the name of the country! What will others think when they read this?” Working for The Express Tribune Web Desk, I have come across a very diverse group of comments – everyone seems to have something to say, whether you like it or not. There are the ‘something ...

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December 14, 2010
TOPICS

Salmaan Taseer: The case of the missing governor

Sound the alarms! Inform the Army! The governor is missing…again! Armed with his designer sunglasses and iPad, Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer managed to slip from under the provincial government’s radar for the second time in a row. Television channels ran tickers on the governor’s absence today, while the governor tweeted that he hadn’t gone anywhere (not to mention taking out the time to slam the Punjab government and a certain media group for the hype around his alleged ‘exit’). Known for his outrageous comments and responses to political opponents, Mr Taseer never fails to surprise us. From defending minorities in Pakistan ...

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I’m from KGS and I can’t study next to… a big building?

When you live in Pakistan, you are never short of burning issues that you can spend hours debating. There are floods, corruption and the rising cost of living  – but for a select few there is another far more pressing concern – the construction of a high rise building next to Karachi Grammar School. Parents have been protesting and taking to the streets to stop the construction that is to take place right next to their children’s private school. Their concern you ask? The building, they say, is a security risk and an environmental hazard. Environmental hazard? KGS is located next to a nullah, but obviously the ...

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Why should I pay a flood tax?

As the flood waters start to recede and the government gears up for rehabilitation, it plans on putting the burden on the tax paying segment of the public. It will be people like you and me who are going to pay flood tax while our friends riding around in SUVs will have a good laugh. The government planned a one time tax that would be deducted from the taxpayers’ salary via property tax, while the 98.4 per cent of the non tax paying population will get away with more than just not paying tax. I, for one, am not in favor of ...

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Victims need action not rhetoric

According to the government, around 800 people have died in floods that have struck Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Around 270,000 people have been affected by floods in Balochistan, more than 15,000 houses have been destroyed and 25,000 families in Naseerabad are homeless. While we sit in the comfort of our homes up to 300,000 people remain without food and shelter, struggling to get to higher ground with what little is left of their belongings. I can only wonder what we are to do for our brothers and sisters who no longer have homes to go back to, who are without food and ...

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