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)

George Lucas took Star Wars to the dark side. Can JJ Abrams bring it back?

At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker faces off against his father, Darth Vader, under the watchful eye of the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Initially, Luke tries his best not to engage with Vader in combat, not only in the hopes of pulling his father from the clutches of evil, but to shield himself from the intoxicating draw of the dark side. Darth Sidious, “Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!” Eventually,  Vader breaks through Luke’s mental defences, “So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from ...

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Will legalising homosexuality encourage incest?

(Authors note: Before forming judgment, I urge readers to read this article to the end.) After the United States Supreme Court legalised homosexual marriage across America, those in favour of equal LGBT rights showed their support across the world. Here in Pakistan, Facebook users had their profile pictures covered with a rainbow filter to show solidarity with the ruling. This upset many Pakistanis who are against homosexuality, including actor/intellectual Hamza Ali Abbasi, who feared mankind was now rolling down a slippery slope and that the backdoor to sexual deviations had been opened. For this article, I accepted questions from Pakistani Facebook users ...

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No, Fareed Zakaria, you cannot blame Pakistan for the mistakes made by the US in Afghanistan

Dear Fareed Zakaria, You are certainly a titan of journalism. Your CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, is watched by countless worldwide, while your footprint can be found in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Slate, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few. The career trajectory you’ve taken is nothing short of incredible. After leaving your home in Bombay where you were born to Rafiq Zakaria, an Islamic scholar and a politician associated with the Indian National Congress, and journalist Fatima Zakaria, a former editor at Mumbai Times and the Times of India, you eventually made your way to the US, where you graduated from ...

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Giving Saudi Arabia a vital position on the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank

During my 15 years growing up in Saudi Arabia, there was one tenet I, like most expatriates, strictly abided by. This simple unwritten rule was; minimise your interaction with locals. This is because many, though certainly not all Saudis we encountered, looked upon foreigners as if they were insolent slaves. From interactions in the neighbourhood, workplace, shops, and more, the Saudi disdain for foreigners was pretty clear. With Saudi media towing the Kingdom line, it was only through word of mouth that we learnt of expatriate girls, women, boys, and boyish looking men escaping capture from Saudi groups. These gangs often ...

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This boy saved his mother when the crane fell in Makkah

September 11, 2015. It is a day when the tragedy at Masjid al Haram in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stunned the world. A massive crawler crane, one of many used to modernise the city, collapsed without warning on the Grand Mosque after 5pm on Friday, a time when the mosque is usually bustling with activity. The unfeeling steel indiscriminately took down concrete as well as flesh and bones standing in its path. In the aftermath, the sorrowful scenes saw 107 people dead and 238 injured. The stories emerging from the incident are horrifying. Many have lost their beloved family members in a few heartbeats. Yet, there is ...

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Dear Younus Khan, please take Wasim Akram’s advice and ‘stop worrying about the ODI format’

Dear Younus Khan, I hope this letter finds you well. Let me start by saying that you are, undoubtedly, one of the greatest Test match batsmen Pakistan has ever produced. Your powers of concentration and mental strength are only bettered by Misbahul Haq in the current Test team, while your skills as a stroke-maker coupled with your triathlon-athlete like endurance are a winning combination like no other. In a sense, you remind me of a boxer who lives for the counter punch. You, Younus, sometimes take more punches than a middle-order batsman has any right to handle, before you begin hitting back. It starts with numerous ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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If they thought Ahmed brought a ‘bomb’, why didn’t they evacuate the school?

When they say they thought 14-year-old MacArthur High School student, Ahmed Mohamed, brought a bomb to school, they are lying. They are lying through their teeth. Let’s examine the facts. This young student of Sudanese origin, who loves engineering gadgets in his spare time, brought a home-made clock to school to show to his engineering teacher. His teacher after examining the device, recognised it as a clock, but realised it could be misinterpreted as something dangerous, and warned Ahmed not to show it anyone else. According to Dallas Morning News, Ahmed said, “He was like, ‘That’s really nice. I would advise you not to show ...

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Why won’t you let Ruwa Rehman Talk, dammit?

Shut up… shut up… shut up… just shut the f*** up… That’s how it starts for many sex abuse survivors in Pakistan when they finally draw the strength to reach out from the void and tell their story. “Chup hojao. Shhh. Bas ab tum nay mujhay bataya hay magar aur kis hee ko nahi batana.” (Just keep quiet. You’ve told me, now don’t tell anyone else.) If this fails, the angle of attack changes on the survivor. “Apni izzat ka socho. Tum say kon shaadi karey ga?”  (Think of your reputation. Who will marry you?) Sometimes, especially when the perpetrator is a close family member, ...

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No one paid heed to the strike call. Is MQM losing its grip on Karachi?

Not too long ago, at the call for a citywide strike from Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Karachi would have launched into a panicked frenzy, storekeepers would have shut down their business, cars would have lined up at petrol pumps, even those with full tanks (because that’s how we roll), schools would have closed early leaving both children and their parents scrambling for home, roads, buses, and, cars would have become the victims of anonymous perpetrators, flowers would have wilted, young lovers would have cancelled their dates at the park, opting for Skype instead, housewives would have cooked strange tasting ...

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