Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_ twitter.com/jhaque_

February 23, 2013
TOPICS

Every other rape story in Pakistan

In a small town or village in Pakistan, victim X (perhaps Y and Z too, who may be sisters, mothers or relatives) has [allegedly] been raped, gang-raped, often tortured, sometimes murdered and dumped in a ditch, a well, or close to their home. The actual rape lasts hours, days, weeks or even years. A few lurid, but contained details of the sexual assault go here, with large chunks cut out so as to not offend and/or titillate the readers. Additional details may be dropped because the district reporter’s English is atrocious, and his embellishments are suspect. In fact, the whole story may be ...

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Say yes to Valentine’s day

There is no better indicator to how little Pakistan has done to prevent the nation slipping down the extremism rabbit hole than the increasingly visible outcry against Valentine’s day. Back in the 90s, nobody was concerned with the celebration of Valentine’s day. The general population was unaware of the event, and the few who knew went their merry way with chocolates, cut-out hearts, red balloons and the hope of securing a date or making a loved one feel special. The 2000s have, however seen each Valentine’s day turn increasingly into an ideological battleground between the forces of extremism out to score ...

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How much do you hate Pakistan’s media?

Keeping lists of all aspects of Pakistani activity on Facebook is a manic hobby of mine. I consider myself the tracker of the totality of our online diaspora, which is best represented on Facebook (8 million Pakistanis and growing fast). One list that has been very consistently growing and producing content is my (rather plainly dubbed) Pakistan Media Haters list. Over the last two years I have been diligently adding pages that spew hate (i.e. irrational, cherry-picked critique with dollops of venom, lies, incitement to violence and racism) against the local media. I have also tried to decipher where these pages ...

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Eating Fatburgers in Karachi’s urban badlands

This short story is inspired by the Bloomberg article: Pakistan Loving Fatburger as Fast Food Boom Ignores Drones.   “Jahangir! Fatburger has come to town – it’s time baita, its time…” The mobile phone slipped from his hands. Eight years. Eight years had passed since Jahangir had visited a newly opened foreign fast food chain in the upscale urban badlands of Karachi. Since then, much had changed in the dark metropolis, but as he lay shaking on his bed, Jahangir could still smell French fries gone soggy…with blood. He could still see in his mind’s eye, a jostling dark mass of screaming, orc-like beings with beards as long ...

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, an absolute pleasure!

When Gandalf first appears at Bilbo Baggin’s front door, at least half a dozen screams erupt in the packed cinema hall. These screams continue to be heard (followed by equally loud ‘shhh-es’) sporadically throughout the 169 minute long showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – a film that seems to be director Peter Jackson’s attempt to fulfil all (and I really mean all) his dreams of doing further justice to JRR Tolkien’s detailed vision of Middle-earth. Suffice to say, anyone who has seen and loved the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy (haven’t we all?), read the books, occasionally glanced through the appendices, learnt ...

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How technology in Pakistan should be used safely

The public-private debate in Pakistan is a hard creature to get a handle on. Being a Pakistani male, when I was approached by Take Back the Tech — a Bytes for All Pakistan initiative locally — to develop a set of comic strips for their campaign focused on how concepts of public and private affect ICTs and violence against women, I was initially stumped.  I was told the debate was a wide one, including right to privacy, lines between private and public in online spaces, state surveillance, sexting and more. I wanted to focus on this with an emphasis on technology, media (especially the online space) ...

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Your choice: Top blog posts of 2012

The blog posts below were selected based on the number of visits to individual articles, representing what visitors to the Tribune Blogs considered vital reads for 2012. Over 200,000 views Social media is lying to you about Burma’s Muslim ‘cleansing’ – Faraz Ahmed The post that got Tribune Blogs temporarily banned in India and single-handedly challenged an online propaganda campaign. Over 100,000 views Nudity, Niqab and the illusion of ‘free choice’ – Bina Shah 364 comments later, the niqab debate rages on. Over 50,000 views An open letter to Maya Khan – Mehreen Kasana An online campaign, a real-world change – the internet emerges as the Pakistan’s media ...

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I’m rich, I’m privileged, I’m informed – am I safe?

I guess you could call me one of the 1%. No one ever disputes that Pakistan is an extremely polarised society, but I think we often forget how polarised it is, because we all live in, well, bubbles. These bubbles are made up of all the assumptions we hold dear, from the mundane “I am a good husband and brother” all the way to the abstract “My world view is the correct world view”. Most of the time, I live happily in my bubble, bouncing off other people and life events with the comforting certainty a bubble brings. But then sometimes, very ...

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I sometimes forget how beautiful Pakistan is

I follow the news all day. Its my job, and yes, it makes me bitter and cynical. Thankfully, I have found surprising solace and joy in browsing the wondrous photos of Pakistan shared daily by people using Instagram. For those who have never heard of it, Instagram is a free photo sharing program and social network that was launched in October 2010, and has now gained a considerable following even in Pakistan after it was acquired by Facebook. Throughout my eight hour (and sometimes longer) shift, I find myself turning to my phone, tuning out the news and tuning in to these beautiful, surreal, ...

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November 20, 2012
TOPICS

‘Faiz is a hat?’

For those who do not know (and that number is growing) November 20 is the death anniversary of one of Urdu’s great intellectuals and poets, Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Sadly, the man and his body of work have become increasingly irrelevant for many Pakistanis, including myself. Conversation in the newsroom Me (upon spotting the story on a local news site): “Guys, today is the death anniversary of Faiz – are we covering it?” (Clueless) subeditor: “Isn’t Faiz a hat?” Yes, Fez is a hat. And yes, Faiz has been reduced to token mentions in the print media or online (“Today is Faiz’ birth or ...

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