bilal.memon

Bilal Memon

The author is the business editor of The Express Tribune.

Is the new Vitara worth the money?

It’s said that the car you choose to buy depends on, well, your budget. But the condition you maintain it in depicts your personality and love for it. The way you drive it is a reflection of your state of mind. So who exactly would want to buy Suzuki’s latest attempt to transform itself in the eyes of the Pakistani public? Perhaps, that is the reason why it’s labelling it as a “game-changer”. After all, its signature product, the Mehran, has remained static, passing onto the next generation like a family heirloom no one wants. A comparison is unfair, though. If one could ...

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All talk, little action by PCB

Despite a series of lengthy, tall claims, it wasn’t the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that was able to invite foreign players to tour Pakistan. Every time the return of top-flight international cricket is mentioned, the board has been quick to deliver the clichés that has made covering press conferences such a monotonous task at times. Regardless of their boring, good-for-nothing statements, some action did take place at the National Stadium, Karachi. The fact that it was due to another official is another matter. While the exhibition matches, held over the weekend, may have been the first crawling steps towards the revival, staging high-profile ...

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Pakistan, you are not ready to host

For years I would argue endlessly trying to defend my country, citing the actions and examples of other places to justify my point. In some cases, diverting the discussion seemed logical and changing topics the best solution. But over time, the arguments have become much more serious. The country’s inability to progress and, worst of all, no light at the end of the tunnel has made it all the more excruciating to bear. One of the rare sources of joy was sports and there was nothing better than to throng the stadiums when the national cricket team took the field for ...

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Misbah is not the problem

If attack is the best form of defence, Misbahul Haq surely doesn’t believe in it. He is a calm character whose presence on the field is barely felt at times and – on some occasions – hardly even matters. He’s patient so he waits until he gets a chance to pounce and at times, it backfires. But he has built a reputation, and a good one, to steer Pakistan past many obstacles in dire circumstances and, while the adrenaline levels remain low, fans ought to be proud of the results ‘captain cool’ has achieved since he has taken charge. The criticism ...

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Is Pakistan ready to host again?

In 2009 when the Sri Lankan team arrived in Lahore, much was said about their security, or the lack of it, after armed men were able to ambush their vehicle with ease. At the time of their arrival at the airport, the security protocol suggested that improvement was needed. But at that point the most worrying aspect was being hoarded by fans’ excitement or the media. Few thought a gun attack was in the making that would cause casualties and injuries. But it happened and, despite ‘intelligent’ reports, a targeted and planned attack was to take away international cricket and the ...

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Some security should trump freedom

For a long time after 9/11, the US was faced with the question: how much should it be willing to sacrifice its liberty to keep its citizens safe? The US Patriot Act was signed into law rather hastily, riding on the fear that America was under threat and drastic measures were needed to counter it. There was invasion of privacy, arrests were made on suspicion alone and let’s not even discuss Guantanamo Bay. Law enforcement agencies were criticised, abused and, in some cases justifiably so, after incidents of torture and misuse of authority became common. In Pakistan, all of this happens ...

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Nusrat Bhutto didn’t need a public holiday

It seems declaring a public holiday is one chore the government does best. Any opportunity or the slightest of pretext is grabbed by both hands – and feet – that have now become so lethargic that a two-day weekend is effectively achieved. Political parties find it almost routine to declare a public holiday when they please and shutter-down strikes seem to be observed every other day. Let alone the loss businesses or labour suffers, it casts a doubt on the country’s ability to be productive and sends out a wrong message to impressionable youth who believe it’s alright to slack ...

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So what does a strike achieve?

I’m one of those employed people who get one day off a week. Naturally, plans are made beforehand and the day off is reserved a week in advance. So when suddenly, a political party gets off its ‘lazyboy’ couch and calls a shutter-down strike on that day, it messes up my hormones. Directing me to stay indoors to effectively put off scheduled doctor appointments to the next week is a pain, literally, let alone an inconvenience. But who is to explain to an old person — in excruciating pain — to hold it in for another day at least. Ok, so ...

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A clash of mighty egos

It is hard to accept but celebrated all-rounder Shahid Afridi has decided to put a full-stop to an illustrious career – at least for the time being. The 31-year-old, followed by millions across the globe, said his decision was prompted by the “humiliation” meted out to him by the Pakistan Cricket Board. So what’s new? We have a habit of not honouring our national heroes. And Afridi, maybe you’re not such a hero after all. Irresponsible, immature attitude exhibited off and on during the 15-year career led to your downfall, and still you haven’t learnt. Throwing away your wicket when ...

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To leave or not to leave Pakistan

As a kid, I had made up my mind to not leave this country even if it was falling apart. But then again, the biggest worry at that time was whether it was safe to stay out late at night. Things have changed now and that, too, rapidly and drastically.  Now the situation is such that there’s no guarantee that even when you go to pray, you’ll come back alive. The past few days put things in better perspective. On Monday, while everyone only sang OBL tunes, Karachi was set ablaze. Vehicles were torched as if they were for free, people killed ...

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