natasha.raheel

Natasha Raheel

A Karachi-based sports reporter for The Express Tribune.

This August 14, I learnt patriotism from Hindu Marwari children

This year, covering a sports event on August 14 changed my perspective on what the word ‘hope’ really means. I never thought that amateur football players belonging to the poor Hindu Marwari community could teach me such an important lesson, but they did. They were playing an exhibition match with the Muslim Marwaris’ on Independence Day and how they played for Pakistan! The event that I covered is a mere news story; it can only serve the purpose of informing readers and cannot reflect the true emotions of these people unless you go out there and witness it for yourself. Their story is bigger ...

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Why I cancelled my vote

You know that awkward personal moment right after offering your prayers, when you are supposed to say a dua, ask for something and you really can’t come up with anything. So you say, “Allah Mian, you know what I need”, before wrapping up the janemaz. My voting experience could not have been any different from this; it was pretty much like saying my Namaz. Until that awkward moment arrived. Suddenly the most attractive box on the ballot papers was the last one filled with horizontal and vertical lines. I thought “well isn’t this representing how I feel? Aren’t we a nation ...

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Anti-Islam provocation and protest: Why react?

Last week’s attack at the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad over the US-made anti-Islam video brought back the memories of disappointment. It took me back to my Karachi University (KU) days in 2005, to the cartoon controversy and the frenzy it generated among Muslims. Students would come to classes only to be sent back home, while other students joined the cause and protest. Of course, KU protests were not as violent as the ones in Islamabad, but the intensity was the same. While it was evident that the protesters were hurt, I failed to understand why they further hurt themselves. We lost ...

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PTF’s lax attitude is Aisam’s Olympic loss

“It’s great Pakistani sprinters and swimmers are going to the Olympics. I wish Aisam could have made it too,” a friend had lamented about Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s miss on the tennis wild card entry. It’s true; while sprinters, swimmers, shooters and our glory-faded hockey team still get a chance to perform at the Olympics, for Aisam, probably the most successful Pakistani athlete in individual sport this year, maybe the saying “hard work always pays” doesn’t hold true. I’ve spoken to Aisam regularly regarding different tournaments in his quest to book a place in London. Having seen firsthand the effort he put in, ...

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The misery of being a Pakistani sports reporter

Often I think about what I would write in my suicide note. I can’t really write that I killed myself out of boredom or the fact that being a sports journalist in Pakistan is equal to being dead. But you can’t kill something that is already dead, so I’d say that being a sports journalist is like being undead. I realised I’m undead last week right in the middle of the dancing and celebrating with my fellow Chelsea supporters, when I felt the need to kill myself, understanding that covering Pakistani football for two years has never given me a ...

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December 13, 2011
TOPICS

The fast and the furious donkeys

“My donkey is better than any horse,” exclaimed Ghulam Mohammad, also known as Jami, after he crossed the finish line on his donkey cart. Jami earns his living transporting goods in Karachi. The donkey-cart racing is not just a way of entertainment for him, letting loose after a week of hard-earned labour. It’s also a means of easy money — a win earning him anything from Rs 3,000 to Rs 40,000. Living by his four rules to success after participating in over 60 races, the 28-year-old – with a special bond with his donkey – loves the last race the most. “A ...

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Can Kabaddi ever be taken seriously?

Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. Dope, dope, dope. The biggest highlight of the Kabaddi World Cup 2011 earlier this month was not that India won the tournament but the fact that 45 players failed the dope test in a single event. The tournament featured 14 teams, but by the time it finished there were only 12 teams officially named at the closing ceremony. This is primarily because Australia was expelled as five of its players were tested positive for dope. The organisers, additionally, banned the US from the tournament before the semifinals as three of its players refused to take the dope test ...

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Why should I live in Pakistan?

It’s not okay when you switch on the TV to find out that someone you know has become a victim of target killing. It’s not okay to see that because it leaves you with a hundred unanswered questions about why you are still living in this country. That’s how I felt yesterday when I heard the news that Wali Khan Babar, a fellow reporter and my senior in university, was shot dead in an incident of target killing. As the news kept flashing images of him over and over again, I was reminded of him – clad in huge sunglasses and ...

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Pakistan’s hungry children: The struggle to survive

On a recent visit to the house of my aunt’s friend this week, I realised the severity of helplessness some of us are subjected to as Pakistanis. Being a university teacher and living in a respectable neighbourhood, I assumed – rather took for granted – that my host lived a comfortable life like many of us do. However, what I witnessed in reality was far from my initial judgement. During the visit I couldn’t help but notice that her sons who had just returned from school would not eat lunch; rather they stayed away from the dining room completely. Her two daughters, ...

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October 24, 2010
TOPICS

Floods: Being aware of our responsibility

The floods have come and gone, and it seems only two kinds of people remember what exactly happened. The first are the victims, of course, since they lost pretty much everything they owned. The others are those who think they did a remarkable job by contributing and volunteering in the relief activities. That is not to say that many individuals and organisations have not gone beyond the call of duty to help out their fellow human beings. But as the affected population returns to their washed and in some cases waterlogged land, some who take pride in their contributions are ...

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