Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

We all have a Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in us

It happens like clockwork whenever Bilawal Bhutto Zardari makes the news on social media. Invariably, the top Facebook/Twitter comment on any story regarding BBZ is a joke about his supposedly effeminate demeanour. Those who wouldn’t mock someone for other variations in physical characteristics such as skin colour, height, and weight, also join in. It’s an issue with many cultures, but it rears its ugly head often in one as throbbingly pseudo masculine as ours. The jests aren’t only limited to top Facebook comments; Pakistani creators of internet comics often find BBZ’s mannerisms an easy source of entertainment for their easily amused readers. These comics are ...

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Facebook’s internet.org will not work in Pakistan

Facebook’s internet.org is a well-meaning initiative held back by some crippling flaws. The portal is currently usable only via the Telenor network, and allows free access to a very small number of websites. These are websites such as AccuWeather, Facebook, BBC News, Bing, ESPNCricinfo, OLX, Wikipedia, and more, including health related websites, one of which provides information on pregnancy and child care. Sadly, though not surprisingly, YouTube isn’t on the list. Naughty Goat video fans have also been left in the cold.    At first glance, there are some immediate concerns regarding net neutrality. For the uninitiated, net neutrality is a principle that has been hotly ...

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Even Ayyan would be a better choice than Azhar Ali

Not satisfied with having had a poor World Cup campaign and an average limited overs cricket record during their reigns, it seems that both coach Waqar Younis and retired ODI captain Misbahul Haq have decided to leave us with a parting gift. This parting gift exemplifies their horribly defensive mindset which has been a major factor in the Pakistan ODI team’s mediocrity. Various reports state that it was the duo that influenced the PCB into naming Azhar Ali as the new ODI captain. It almost seems like a joke where Pakistan cricket is the punch line. PCB phones Azhar Ali, "Congratulations, you're the new ...

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My interview with Misbahul Haq, Waqar Younis and Moin Khan

For the third time, I check my voice recorder to make sure the device is in operational order.   Yes, it is fine. Of course it is fine. I wipe away my sweaty palms on the fabric of my jeans and allow myself a few deep breaths. This will be the biggest interview I’ve ever conducted. I am sitting in a small conference room at the Pakistan cricket team hotel in Brisbane, Australia, waiting for captain Misbahul Haq, coach Waqar Younis, and chief selector Moin Khan. Determined to put my admiration for these three individuals aside, I try to focus. After all, a cricket ...

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In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

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If you limit freedom of expression, is it still a freedom?

Pope Francis is a man to be admired. Since taking the Papacy in March 2013 and shedding the traditional gold, the Argentinian pope has won hearts across the globe with his wisdom, humbleness and what seems to be an earnest attempt to create a better understanding between cultures and religions.    As the face of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has often released prudent statements after controversial events that, at the very least, are received with quiet acceptance. Such is the pragmatic nature of Pope Francis that one can imagine that even those chastised by him take a moment to ...

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Dear ZaidAliT, stealing jokes isn’t funny

Carrying a Facebook page over two million ‘likes’ strong, it would be safe to say that young Pakistani-Canadian comedian Zaid Ali T has moulded himself into an internet sensation. Each update from the young entertainer earns countless shares, likes and comments within seconds of hitting the internet. His audience is primarily South Asians, though his followers originate from many countries. Zaid’s weapons are his disarming smile and jokes that hilariously channel our exasperation with Asian cultural norms. When I first discovered Zaid, I spent hours combing through his Facebook page, chortling at every one of his shenanigans. His strict father, who gave him ...

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Imran Khan: Always a crowd pleaser

It was September 22nd of last year; one of the blackest days in the history of Pakistan. It was a day when the Taliban targeted a church in Peshawar with a pair of suicide bombers who ripped through a congregation 500 strong. The savage destruction that followed resulted in the death of over 78 Pakistanis with nearly 150 wounded. It was an act of terror in every sense of the word, and casualties included both women and children. We watched in horror on our television screens as tragic images of injured Pakistani worshipers flooded news channels. At first glance the aftermath resembled a butcher shop, ...

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Have a heart, PCB, postpone today’s match

My fellow Pakistanis, there is a cricket match scheduled for today. Yes, you read that right. At 4pm, Pakistan time, our nation will take on New Zealand in the fourth cricket ODI in Abu Dhabi. Needless to say, that such an event is taking place a day after one of the blackest days in Pakistan’s history, just doesn’t feel right. If anything, sport is a celebration – a celebration of athleticism where human beings compete in an arena of onlookers to determine who has more skill. We watch them simply because we can’t do what they can do. They can hit harder, bowl faster, and ...

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O21: Comically bad?

Perhaps the most impressive thing about O21 is that it was made at all. Aside from the fact that this bi-lingual Pakistani film boasts a talented cast of both Pakistani and foreign actors, and is helmed by filmmaker Jamshed Mahmood Raza, aka Jami – who here has directed his first feature length film – O21 also takes a risk by featuring a narrative that avoids all the cliché-ridden trappings of a Pakistani film. A bigger risk, however, is the pacing of the film, which at times is so slow that it makes the deliberately paced cinematic Steven Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey seem like Usain Bolt running on angel ...

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