gulraiz.khan

Gulraiz Khan

A sub-editor on the business desk of The Express Tribune who is interested in visual journalism and hopes to turn newspapers in to works of art

Even the mighty fall

The stage is a dark, treacherous place where under the glare of the spotlight, the bait doesn’t realise when it becomes the catch. Or so happened to a military analyst who, as a moderator of discussion on electronic media, impressed upon her panellists to not attempt and be an authority on subjects they have little command over. It started all too innocently with a joke on tables being turned. On the judgment day, Marilyn Monroe was found to be in Zia’s lap. Befuddled observers were informed that this is not Zia’s reward, but Monroe’s punishment. Likewise, the moderator Ayesha Siddiqa said, the sharp ...

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On the shores of the Bosphorus

In a photograph laced with references, thirty-odd men, and two women, squint at the glaring sun as they pose on the European shores of Istanbul, the Asian side of the city rising over the choppy Bosphorus in the background. The subjects in the photograph were foreign ministers and representatives of 20 countries that participated in the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan this past week. Pakistan stands out in the setting not just metaphorically, given its regional role post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but also quite literally — its foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, is one of the two women, and possibly the ...

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Teahouse conversations

One of the perils of working for a newspaper is that whoever you meet, feels entitled to discuss the state of affairs with you. They must tell you that these are the worst of times, that the current government is the most corrupt ever (citing some ballpark figures and rupee-dollar conversion rate as irrefutable evidence), that there are maps of a dismembered Pakistan circulating on the internet, and that the Chief Justice was an “epic fail” because he ran back to Islamabad instead of delivering a verdict on the Karachi suo motu case. They would then heave a deep sigh, condemn ...

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Friends, presidents, captains

The pulse of popular opinion can be gauged at the city’s cafes and teahouses; whether it’s the ‘absconding’ president or the swelling ranks of Kaptaan’s party. Now that most, save the absolute haters, have reconciled with the fact that the president is here to live, the question debated is where he will live. He’s not coming back, says the self-assured one. His days are counted; the khakis have had it, he adds, with a sense of smugness inversely proportional to his political insight. Maybe he’s just really ill and that’s about it, I hurl, as a conspiracy spoiler. Bah, I’m dismissed. ...

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The bag that worked

Not surprisingly, Hina Rabbani Khar has captured the popular imagination. The bag, the shades, the pearls and the chiffon. No news article about the Pak-India dialogue was complete without a reference to all of them. And while every major news outlet did precisely that on Wednesday, Thursday brought the bashing. Why is the media fixated by the bling, and not the brawn, they asked? Khar-the-celebrity overshadowed Khar-the-politician, they said. The media should differentiate between stars and politicians, they recommended. Why the holier-than-thou attitude, I ask? Besides the exchange of most-wanted terror lists and general accusations, no major breakthrough had been made ...

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Functional cities need mass transit

Much has been said and written about lack of predictable and efficient public transport system in Pakistan’s major cities – to no avail. Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, who built a swirling network of flyovers and signal-free corridors during his four-year tenure, was smarter than that to realise, and voice, that adding more roads was only a short-term solution. True unclogging of our major cities’ blocked arteries would happen when you remove a significant number of vehicles from the road, which is only possible when you provide commuters with a viable public transport option. But the argument for a mass ...

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At home, in Abbottabad

Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani was at the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in Abbottabad on April 24 where he told the graduating cadets of this prestigious military institution that the country will soon overcome the problem of terrorism. And from the events of May 1 and 2, it seems that Osama bin Laden wasn’t all that far away as the general made his speech to the PMA cadets. Now whether what the army chief said was prophetic or not, there are several questions that I, as a Pakistani, would like to have answered. Our military and intelligence agencies ...

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Pakistan Day: What are we celebrating?

March 23 is a tricky day. For years I believed we marked the day to commemorate the Lahore Resolution passed in 1940 at the location where the Minar-e-Pakistan now stands. Friends from Islamabad shared their fascination at attending the impressive military parades at the Constitution Avenue, the ones we woke up early to watch on television. But is March 23 really about the Lahore Resolution? And how did the military take ownership of the day? A fascinating story I learnt only recently (and I’ve received 16 years of schooling) was that March 23 has not always been Pakistan Day. Our first constitution, the ...

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Mubarak’s departure: Triumph of the citizen

Three Fridays, eighteen days. There is no greater testament to the power of people, ordinary people that is, than what the Egyptians have achieved yesterday. Overthrowing Mubarak is historical, not just for the overthrowing of a deeply entrenched dictator, but because the revolution straddles both, the present and the future of the idea of social aggregation. Present in its ability to rid a society of autocracy and futuristic in its ability to do so without revolutionary leaders, this, and the Tunisian revolution, has shown the world that age-old notion of heroes rescuing troubled damsels in distress is just that – ...

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Should Taseer’s death be in vain?

I would be lying if I said I’m shocked by Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination. Ever since he announced support for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death over blasphemy allegations, religious zealots had been calling for his head, on the streets, on Facebook groups and in fiery Friday sermons. Of course, no one took that seriously. His own political party deserted him when Prime Minister Gilani, shamelessly playing to the religious right to save the coalition government and his seat, vehemently claimed he would never even think of amending the blasphemy laws. One would expect the prime minister ...

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