Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at

Let’s go green again!

Pakistan’s national hockey team, the Green shirts, meet Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup final. Is it just me or has no one seemed to notice this – not even after Pakistan beat arch-rivals India 3-1? It is ironic that hockey, which is our national sport, does not enjoy the same stature as that enjoyed by cricket. A perfect example would be that around the same time that the Pakistan national cricket team crashed miserably against West Indies in the first Test match, the Green shirts won the qualifier against host team Malaysia 3-2 and cruised into the ...

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To the haters: It’s a battle of teams, not nations

The semi-final between Pakistan and India – dubbed the mother of all battles – finally takes place today. Every cricket fan and everyone else – who may or may not be interested in cricket – has been touched by the anticipation in the air. However, while the contagious excitement has spread joy, several souls seem to be miffed. In their effort to be ambassadors of peace, they have accused us, the ‘cricket crazies’, of being jingoistic and nationalistic. But they seem to have completely missed the point. What makes this semi-final, or any other Pakistan-India match, such a thriller is not the ...

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Survivors, not killers

Pakistan is a brave nation. It takes a lot of guts for a people to continue on after a year that can only be called the year of death: 8,000 people have died in Pakistan this year – devastating floods, a dumbfounding air crash, deplorable target killings and decimating suicide bombings. And the year hasn’t even ended yet. Those from northern Pakistan have had it the worst. The year opened with a deadly blast that killed 94 people who had gathered to watch a volleyball match in Lakki Marwat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, quashing all hopes that Pakistanis had had that this ...

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Pakistan’s victory, worth the wait

When I was eight, I hadn’t thought I would have to wait 15 years to witness this moment again: Pakistan beating Australia in a Test match. Hence, the celebration, the happiness, the dancing is all justified. If it wasn’t for work, I would probably be at Sea View right now, where, I am sure, some Team Pakistan jiyalas must have blocked traffic to dance to “Jazba Junoon” blaring from their cars’ woofers. The victory has been defined as dramatic and rare, adjectives that aptly explain losing five wickets in the course of 40 runs. What the win can’t be called, ...

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Double talk, double standards

Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s recent visit to Pakistan concluded without much … okay, any … tangible progress. The Indian delegation kept insisting on discussing terrorism, that is, the Mumbai attacks. I wonder how they define what is happening in Indian Kashmir. In Mumbai, 166 people died over the course of three days. In Indian Kashmir, thousands of people have died over the course of many, many years (there are several tallies of the death toll since there is limited access to the region). Those dead in both cases did not deserve to be killed. Are the killings in ...

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Tere Bin censored

Ali Zafar’s new movie Tere Bin [Laden], which was released on July 16, is not releasing in Pakistan. Thank you very much, film censor board. I was really looking forward to the film so naturally I am disappointed with this decision. But I am not surprised at all. In a country where we have collective “morality” but unfortunately no collective “identity”, a film with a name such as this cannot be screened in public. Also, when the makers announced that the film would release as Tere Bin in Pakistan, I had pretty much started to console myself that I will have to content myself ...

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Degrees of reality

In the past two weeks, one of the issues to have gotten a lot of attention is that of fake degrees. From allegations to verifications to justifications, a lot of people have said a lot of things about parliamentarians who have made a space for themselves in the parliament to try to make a ‘real’ difference by using a fake degree. I recently read an article published in this newspaper about how the Punjab government had decided to remove the academic qualification for members of local zakat committees. The day after that, the Balochistan chief minister said fake or real, ...

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The air we breathe

On June 27, this paper ran a story on International Drugs Day that reported that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of narcotics seizure in the world. The news made me very happy, especially since the last top ten that Pakistan made to was for “failed” states. But what caught my eye was the photograph printed with the story: that of a drug burning ceremony held in Rawalpindi under the watchful eye of the police. According to the article, Pakistan has seized narcotics worth more than 50 million rupees this year and all of that (or at least most ...

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