Sylvester Stallone is a great actor, especially after he’s had a few punches to his jaw. If you were a kid growing up in the 80s, Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the primary Hollywood heroes giving young men around the world bodybuilding goals. It was, of course, better to watch them than the flogging of criminals on national television during the Ziaul Haq era. One particularly provocative Stallone film which turned out to be a cult classic over the years was Judge Dredd. The idea that a police officer had the authority to carry out justice on the streets – ...Read Full Post
Bakra Eid or Eidul Azha is here. With the new government being sworn in, there is more news coverage of the political situation in the country rather than the festival which always garners great interest in Pakistan. One serious issue, which pops its head every year during Eidul Azha, is of course of the collection and utilisation of animal hides. As early as food stalls pop up all over the city, volunteers from different organisations start visiting houses, requesting the donation of the animal hides to their ‘deserving’ organisation. As mundane as this sounds, anyone living in Pakistan knows ...Read Full Post
With elections around the corner, every party is looking to up the ante with rhetoric and political noise. It’s raining slogans and promises, not to mention accusations as well. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems like the only party with any traction at the moment, and I am shockingly surprised to see PTI as the only party making waves as far as election campaigning is concerned. Taking the opportunity to see what they were promising this year, I went through their manifesto – being professionally involved in both editorials and political writing for quite some time, it was more curiosity than anything ...Read Full Post
Ours is a great country. We love our politics as much as we love our curry with laal mirch masala (red chilli powder). Perhaps one of the primary reasons we are as emotional as we are is because of the laal mirch (read laal, hari, peeli mirch) in our food. It makes us exciting, passionate and restless. A little moderation in our masala intake might make us more tolerant and peaceful, and this definitely is the case for most of the nations of the subcontinent. Seems like at this moment the greatest need for moderation is in Islamabad, where judicial activism is at its ...Read Full Post
Life is a system to cycles; it ebbs and flows. To sound more dramatic, everything that rises must fall, or in the words of George RR Martin, “Valar Morghulis” – all men must die. Men, or mankind rather, tend to forget simple facts in life; chiefly, the fact of death and the eventual perishing of one’s existence. People tend to forget that once they are gone, all their attempts to undermine others will be gone as well. The reason why I must apprise my readers with such boring things, which they have probably heard of numerous times before, is that ...Read Full Post
The great comedian Umer Sharif once said that Karachi only has two seasons – summer, and hotter summer. Given the U-turn Karachi’s weather has taken over the past few weeks, from extreme cold winds to sweaty afternoons, he was right. Similarly, Pakistan also has two kinds of political seasons – elections and political turmoil. Another element similar between the two is that the first season transitions into the other only for a short while, and then swiftly returns back to its default setting. Since the 2013 General Election, Pakistan has been in a state of political and administrative commotion. The government ...Read Full Post
Nawaz Sharif will not go out without a fight, but is he willing to sacrifice a few pawns in this selfish game of politics?
It’s December already, the reflective month of the year where everyone looks forward to ending the current year on a high note and making some resolutions for the year ahead. This year was satisfactorily distinctive for Pakistan – politically speaking – especially for the government and its cohorts. It was also by that direct correlation, quite ecstatic for the opposition as well. As a disclaimer, I would like to warn my readers to take everything with a bit of caution. If you did not understand the statement – conspiracy theory alert! This year has been quiet tumultuous for the Pakistan Muslim ...Read Full Post
Last week, when I was planning a trip to Quetta for training, Mujeeb Hashmi, a friend from work, asked me to wear shalwar kameez, not only to the airport but also whenever I went out and about in the city. Hashmi, being a veteran filmmaker, has been to almost every habitable area of Pakistan – so I had to pay heed. He also warned me to be wary of certain localities within the city such as Hazara Town and Alamdar Road, given the violence witnessed by the city in the past. He was right. Quetta made a great first impression on me – ...Read Full Post
Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was carefully planned, politically motivated and amply funded – but who did it?
Every movie buff has their favourite action movie star – mine is Mark Wahlberg. He has acted in several high octane, action-packed and successful movies. For our purpose, I’d like to remind my readers of one of his more subdued films, Shooter. The film follows the story of a sniper living in exile who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the president of the US. Unbeknownst to him, the people who brought him in to help them are the ones who were involved in the whole conspiracy to begin with. If you haven’t seen the ...Read Full Post
Ziaul Haq’s legacy consists less of his own policies and more of the actions successive governments have taken to undo their effects
Throughout human history, there have been numerous individuals whose existence and actions have adversely affected the course of a nation or the world on a whole. They have been the cause of great pain and suffering directly such as Joseph Stalin with his agricultural program or Adolf Hitler’s war on Jews and the minorities of Germany and later on, the rest of the world. Pakistan too has had its fair share of such individuals but none of them stand out in comparison to the man who sowed the seeds of dissension, discord, sectarianism and extremism in our country – General Ziaul Haq. On the ...Read Full Post