Haider Rifaat

Haider Rifaat

'Born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, The author is a model, actor and writer for fashion magazines HELLO! Pakistan and Grazia and a contributor for Daily Times and Pakistan Today. He tweets @HaiderRifaat (twitter.com/HaiderRifaat).

Up close and personal with Ghana Ali, Pakistan’s rising star who demands recognition

In a matter of only three years, Ghana Ali has established herself as one of Pakistan’s most promising leading ladies in films and on television. She is determined to portray diverse characters in the future, and is also working on two television projects at the moment. Ghana secured a role and got noticed in last year’s Rangreza; though not commercially successful, she persevered in the recent comedy, Maan Jao Na. Alongside these developments, the glamorous 24-year-old spoke about her forthcoming film. She hasn’t disclosed anything pertinent about it yet, but I will surely dig into it! Till then, let’s hear it ...

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Up close and personal with the graceful and effortless Aamina Sheikh and why ‘Cake’ is going to be one delicious treat!

Actress Aamina Sheikh is set to grace the big screen with her dramatic role as Zareen in the upcoming drama film ‘Cake’, which is set to release this March. Her command on acting and dialogue delivery is impeccable! The depth of characters she portrays effortlessly on screen is unconventional for Pakistani dramas and films. I chatted with Sheikh and talked about her upcoming film, how she juggles her personal and professional life, and her experience working on Miss Veet, Pakistan. How did you venture into acting? Throughout my academic career, I did theatre as an extracurricular. I was always involved in the ...

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Up close and personal with Parchi’s Ahmed Ali Akbar: “You cannot pull people down if they are more talented than you; you have to push them up”

It was an absolute pleasure to join Ahmed Ali Akbar, from the cast of Parchi, in Islamabad. Akbar is known for his roles in films such as Karachi Se Lahore and Siyaah, and his experimentation with diverse genres is a testament to his versatility as an actor. A one-on-one conversation with Akbar, however, is enough to determine that not only is he a good actor, but an amazing human being inside out as well! I sat down with Akbar to talk about his upcoming film Parchi, his latest projects and more in an exclusive conversation that will definitely keep you thoroughly entertained! How did you start off as ...

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Getting to know the handsome and talented Mikaal Zulfiqar

I recently interviewed model turned actor Mikaal Zulfiqar and discussed his early life, career and upcoming projects. Believe it when I say, you do not want to miss this interview. H: How did you start off as an actor? M: Initially, I began my career as a model and gradually transitioned into an actor. I started modelling for commercials and videos which were relevant to acting. Later, I received a few offers for television and eventually moved on to films. I believe acting happened to me rather than me happening to acting. So along the way, I self-educated myself on how ...

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Divided States of America: Donald Trump will not condemn the Charlottesville attackers because they are the ones who voted for him

Donald Trump’s vicious win as the 45th president of the United States caused quite an upheaval in the country. He spoke outrageously and millions applauded. However, in wake of the recent Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy, a new wave of hate crimes and violence has taken charge – and it is doing us more harm than good. The incident in Charlottesville is a perfect example of it. However, this time it shook me to my bones as the tragic event took place in my home state, Virginia. A group of anti-far right protesters gathered in Charlottesville for a demonstration which ultimately led to an innocent civilian’s death, and ...

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I was sexually abused as a child. But I moved on.

As each day passes by, it becomes increasingly difficult to come to terms with my dark past. It amazes me how some individuals blatantly cry out, “my life is a mess” or “I can’t get over a relationship”. Those are not incidents to contemplate over for long. They are not worth your happiness. I had always been outgoing. When I was younger, I was the chirpy child, the boy who always had a smile plastered across his face – but that changed one day. I lived in a small neighbourhood in Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU). I was always becoming acquainted with people through my ...

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US presidential elections: What is the role of the media?

Given the current disposition of the 2016 US elections, shows like Scandal have rightfully depicted and drawn inspiration from the onscreen presence of many real political leaders and their quest for winning the presidential seat in the months to come. The media continues to play a significant role in shaping public opinion based on the rhetoric many television networks oppose or support, thereof.  The recent episode of the political-thriller show Scandal titled ‘The Miseducation of Susan Ross’ portrayed a rather realistic presidential debate among the nominees with characters emulating the real contenders for the US presidential election. One contender is Mellie Grant, the former First Lady, and ...

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Hina Rabbani Khar on Al Jazeera and the battle of media ethics

It would be a rather unfair statement if I assumed that virtually all Pakistani politicians lack the charisma to wholeheartedly defend their nation but without question, Hina Rabbani Khar’s recent interview in Aljazeera’s ‘Head to Head’ with Mehdi Hasan was one such exception. The former foreign minister of Pakistan, Khar, passionately defended Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) and Asif Ali Zardari’s controversial regime that recently took the social media by storm. Hasan, the host of ‘Head to Head’ posed some controversial yet intriguing questions at Khar, however, in the end, it all boiled down to a good, hot-headed debate. The former ...

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Are we purposely ignoring child sexual abuse in Pakistan (and our homes)?

The Pakistani media’s convincing rhetoric regarding the term sexual abuse and heart wrenching words such as ‘rape’ and ‘molestation’ have rightly highlighted the unjust practices that continue to affect our society. However, at times (or always) the hidden truth remains buried in the ground and the untold stories of millions are seldom brought to light. How many of you had the slightest idea that your helpless seven-year-old son, who wholeheartedly recited the Holy Quran alongside his so-called honest and unadulterated qaari sahib, was being sexually abused continuously in a barricaded room? We enjoy labelling ourselves as humble and modest beings when in truth we are the ...

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Move over, Shaan: Dear Lollywood, please stop with your nepotistic ways

Nepotism has a new face in Pakistan. Can you guess who it is? No, it’s not Nawaz Sharif. It’s not the Bhutto clan. It’s not the politicians or the bureaucracy. All those institutions have been swept aside by that new lady in town. We fondly call her ‘Lollywood’, but she’s more formally known as Pakistan’s film industry. She isn’t really new, but her recently acquired contemporary ornaments have taken years off her face. She wears Bol around her neck, carries Bin Roye under her arm and has crowned her head with Waar. In step with her is her entourage; a horde of uncles and aunties, brothers ...

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