musabmemon

Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

News, nights and nightmares…

Pakistan. Pkaistan. No! What? Did I just spell my country’s name wrong? Oh wait. No, I not only spelled it wrong, I printed it wrong. Printed it wrong on a newspaper — a national daily newspaper. The entire country is laughing at me. My career is over. I’m switching my phone off. Hibernation. When I wake up, I try to gather the strength to pull myself out of bed. It’s 4:30am. I go outside my apartment door and there is no newspaper. I take a sigh of relief and then I’m simply angry at myself. How can a rational human being let one dream, ...

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In Karachi, fear is always your faithful companion

We are the sons of Karachi. We grew up knowing danger like knowing how to ride a bicycle – memories that refuse to wear down with time. We have lived our lives with fear as a close companion. We boast the epitome of valour. One too many a time, for one too many of us, it has taken away more than it can give back – notwithstanding, we love Karachi. Uncertainty has taken a firm hold on our hearts – and it taught us how to live despite that. We heard bullets and hid under the table when we were kids. Then we lay sleepless ...

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Letters from abroad: Shame on you, you are Pakistani

Suvarnabhumi Aiport, Check-in Counter 1, Row W: I’m at the check-in counter of a low-cost budget airline with an indemnity form staring at me – as if mocking me, telling me you had this coming. There are four women and three men, all discussing in detail, what I believe are my passport details, in indiscriminate Thai language. At one hand, I see wrinkles on the foreheads of my flight’s cabin crew and immigration personnel, and on the other hand, the sheer architectural beauty of the Bangkok airport refuses to wear down my excitement. The schism and ambivalence is uncanny. After nine splendid ...

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Photoshopping the prime minister

A photograph circulated by the Press Information Department across newsrooms recently had Yousaf Raza Gilani standing in the middle, chatting with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General Khalid Shameem Wynne, with his fingers stationed uncomfortably near his chest — a pose we normally won’t stand in. But then again he is the prime minister. A sub-editor’s journalistic curiosity and an acute eye for detail led to a legitimate inquiry. Experts were called in. Professional advice was sought. No one could figure out this enigmatic conundrum: What happened to the prime minister’s fingers? “They are hiding something,” screamed one over-worked editor. ...

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America loves me, America loves me not

It seems the world has moved on. While Europe is busy trying to save its drowning economies and make sure the Euro doesn’t fall, Middle Eastern states are basking in the light of Arab Spring. But almost a decade on, we are still floating in the abyss created by the war against terror. Let’s face it: Pakistan is a conundrum for the US. We are like the US’ illegitimate relationship which it cannot live with or without. Pakistan’s geopolitical value makes it a clinical yet irritable factor in this war against terror. What the US needs to understand is that it will ...

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Afridi out, rhythm broken

Shahid Afridi might be a heartthrob who stars in fancy Pepsi commercials, and flaunts his hair in a shampoo ad campaign, but he is much more than that. Our nation loves him because he is bold. He violates conformity, embraces flamboyance and transmits synergy characteristics found in successful leaders. He led Pakistan to a laudable campaign in the 2011 World Cup, given the instability and chaos that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was in. We lost to archrivals India in the semi-finals in Mohali. We hated it. But we forgot that it was just not Afridi’s fall to take. Yesterday the ...

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Don’t ask, don’t tell

Summers in Lahore are not a cup of tea for us Karachiites. Here in Karachi your face is perpetually damp with humidity. Come Lahore, there’s no sweat, parched lips and your throat’s begging for fluids. Naturally, flights in this disapproving season are not a merry affair. But as I collect my luggage and walk towards the small office to rent a cab back home, the only soothing thought is lying down in bed and feeling at home. However, my cab driver seems to be oblivious to the testing surrounding conditions. He is hyperactive. He flashes me a warm smile. I ...

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They return as heroes

It was a match that will live long in my memory. Pakistan slipped out of the World Cup after a nerve-wracking loss to archrivals India.They now return home as heroes nonetheless. The defeat is not under debate: we lost fair and square. However, the team that returns home is now a special one. They are special because they wore green and marched into the yard in Mohali, with their heads high, sending shock waves of intimidation to their opponents. Shahid Afridi’s leadership and the team’s performance in the 2011 World Cup was awe-inspiring. They continued to defy all odds, defeating the unlikeliest ...

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Ripples of liberation: Will Libya and Bahrain go Egypt’s way?

The Egyptian army had to face a choice when people took to the streets against a three-decade-long autocratic rule:  make a change or gun down your own people. Both options worked against the repressive regime; shooting its own people would have further diminished their legitimacy, while allowing a democratic transition would effectively end their power circle. Eventually, history was made. The liberated Egyptians walked tall; the corrupt leader succumbed to the power of the masses. The dream of democracy now seems not too far. However, history, as glorious as it seems to be for the Egyptians, reveals that democratic transitions whether ...

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Let us cheer for our team, please!

Three talented Pakistan players were banned from all cricketing activities this week. The most horrifying was letting go of Mohammad Amir, the 18-year-old pacer who had the potential to become one of cricket’s finest bowlers. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dealt with one blow after the other — be it losing matches successively, or being driven into court on corruption allegations. With three players snatched away – a ban that effectively ended their careers – the PCB was shaken right to its core. All cricket fans hoped against all odds that a devastating incident like this would spark off ...

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