Sakina Hassan

Sakina Hassan

The author is currently studying for an Mphil degree at the Centre of Excellence in Solid State Physics.

If Pakistani films from 2014 had political versions they would look like this…

It’d be only be fair to say that 2014 was a roller coaster ride – if roller coasters came with 10 times the vomit inducing vertigo and none of the fun. The political sphere in our country has had a stranglehold on our television screens for way too long. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to bid the one-four goodbye and what better way to do so than by explaining exactly what we don’t want to see on our screens ever again. Here is a list of some famous Pakistani movies that would look like this if they ...

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14 hours without power and teetering at the edge of sanity

I recently experienced something that almost every Pakistani is familiar with: a prolonged power outage. It came on the heels of a public announcement that the government cannot vanquish the great beast ‘Power Shortage’ and the good people of this country must grit their teeth and hunker down for the collapse of civilisation. Notice the use of the word ‘almost’ in my first sentence? Yes, the people responsible for doing something about the crisis do not experience it at all. Maybe that’s why their actions, not to mention their comments to news agencies, lack a sense of urgency. Perhaps they no ...

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Parkour boys of Quetta: Fighting fear… like a boss

I didn’t really know what parkour was, until I came across a recent article about some boys from Quetta’s Hazara town who practise this activity. I had come across references to free running (a more acrobatic version of parkour) on television previously, but since I’m the kind of old soul who believes that doing anything which might result in a serious injury is a cry for attention, I never gave it any. It had an aura of belonging to the seedy world of graffiti, tattoos, drugs and gangs and I am, as I mentioned earlier, an old soul. After reading the article and watching ...

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What if there was a blanket ban on advertisements in Pakistan?

Everywhere we turn, all we see is advertising; on the television, the radio, newspapers, magazines and social media. What with all the hoardings everywhere, buildings are no longer recognisable. Motorists are continuously bombarded with blown up images of different products and photoshopped models, trying to get them to pay attention to what they’re selling instead of what is on the road in front of them. And just when we began to think that the giant, teetering, 3D monstrosities on our billboards were the limit, advertisements started to grow, like mushrooms, on green belts, dividers and roundabouts, and hang like bats from ...

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Aao bacho sair karain tumko Pakistan ki: Not an ordinary nursery rhyme…

There is a very famous poem, by a very famous poet, written in a more hopeful and exuberant time. It has been set to wonderful, cheerful music and is taught to children everywhere. And in the video below, a child sings something that sounds very much like it. But listen carefully. The music has the same happy lilt, but the words are horribly different. So different, in fact, that a few people I showed this video to were seriously offended at what they consider to be a serious perversion of a great piece of art. The original poem and its English translation ...

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Lahore: No gas to turn on the heat, so if I froze to death, would I be a martyr?

I woke up this morning and found out that, for the fourth consecutive day, there was no gas at home – none whatsoever. The stove fluttered to life for merely a second before going out and I understood that turning on the heater would be a waste of time. The equation was simple – no gas, no heat. I would have to resign myself to a cup of tea. I knew that as long as we have our electric kettle and chai (tea) – the answer to all Pakistani problems – we would survive. The key word here is electric, of course. There was no electricity either. And this ...

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Asylum seekers: Why should Australia shoulder our burden?

Australia has recently come under fire for its new policy regarding asylum seekers attempting to enter the country without a visa. According to their prime minister, this policy is an attempt to ‘curtail the record number of people attempting the dangerous boat journey to claim asylum’. From now on, people arriving on refugee boats at Christmas Island will not be allowed to disembark and begin the procedure for resettlement in Australia but instead will be sent on to Papua New Guinea; a third world country, improvished with completely different asylum laws. Many of these refugees arrive from countries such as Pakistan, ...

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