Farwa.Zahra

Farwa Zahra

Farwa Zahra is a Qatar-based journalist. She has studied Gender and Media at the London School of Economics. She tweets as @syedaz (twitter.com/syedaz)

Afridi’s opinion on women is none of your business!

Just when we think we are over it, it starts all over again. Another video goes viral over social websites, attracts conversations and often takes you nowhere but through a vicious circle of ongoing rebuttals. This time it’s Shahid Afridi under attack. So here goes, it starts with Afridi making a grand comeback, surprising us with his performance in matches against India and Bangladesh. Suddenly, all the loyalty towards him is regained. Then come all the memes about him against Virat Kohli, Indian fans, Bangladeshi fans and the likes. In between the hundreds of comments, we see people praying for Afridi to have a son now after three ...

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August 16, 2013
TOPICS

Sikandar wasn’t the real Blue Area villain, it was the media

Yesterday, an armed man entered Islamabad’s Red Zone with his wife and two kids. He opened fire on police and later, kept the forces occupied, demanding the overthrow of the current government and implementation of Islami Nizam (Shariah law) in Pakistan. Clearly, such behaviour cannot be a product of a sound mind. Cases of lunacy such as this are not a new phenomenon either. Considering the triviality of such incidents, we hardly get to see them making breaking news and headlines unless of course they involve exceptions such as the Heaven’s Gate cult by Marshall Applewhite or more recently the Dark Knight Rises shooting ...

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Aamir Liaquat, shame on you for humiliating Taher Shah

Last night, a seven minute video clip went viral on social media. Many of you probably saw the video in question; it was the latest transmission of the Ramazan show Amaan Ramzan: Iftar Aamir Ke Saath. For those of you who missed it, the video is a clip from a pre-Iftar show with Aamir Liaquat in which he invites Taher Shah – Pakistan’s latest sensation for good or bad reasons – as a guest. This was not Mr Shah’s first public appearance since his video reached global fame. Earlier in June, Taher Shah gave an interview on the 4 Man Show. ...

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Hockey ignored by Pakistan’s cricket obsessed media

Most Pakistanis now know about the country’s hockey team winning against India in Asian Champions Trophy, all thanks to the cricket team being beaten by India… yet again. Pakistan was declared the Asian Champion after a score of 5-4 against India. The Indian team boycotted and walked out when the penalty goal was reversed and the Pakistani team showed some Gangnam Style moves before taking the final round of the ground to celebrate their victory. I know all these details because I was a part of the crowd at Al Rayyan Stadium, Doha, where the crowd outside the stadium was just ...

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Pakistani media: Making a terrorist out of an innocent man

On November 18, in the name of soi-disant sectarian fights an Imambargah in Karachi was attacked. The incident undoubtedly deserved media attention and so it received this with live coverage by various news channels. What struck me, however, was the way one of these channels treated the incident. While most news channels reported that the motorbike on which the bomb was planted had an illegal number plate, one of these channels decided to be over-efficient with some “exclusive” bits of information – the name and location of the man who owned that number’s legal plate. Despite repeated mentions that his motorbike was ...

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Marie Colvin’s journalism of attachment

On Wednesday, another journalist was killed while covering the Syrian military operation in the city of Homs. Marie Colvin’s last broadcast, aired just hours before she died, was about the painful death of a child during the Siege of Homs. When CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper voiced some general concerns about the media showing gruesome images from conflict zones, Colvin replied by sharing her lifelong philosophy: communicating pain and suffering of the distanced “others” to the world in order to mobilise peace. The idea becomes even more significant in the context of international ...

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Dil Dil Pakistan

My nephew living abroad is a hip-hop fan, who has hardly listened to Pakistani music, but he knows “Dil Dil Pakistan” — a song that even I grew up listening to. That’s the transcendence of what I believe is Pakistan’s most favourite patriotic number.  Its journey from generation to generation is what makes it different from many other patriotic numbers that turned into instant hits, but faded away after some time. So what is it about “Dil Dil Pakistan” that makes it such a classic? Russian thinker Leo Tolstoy found patriotism both stupid and immoral, promoting one’s own country as the ...

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My cousin Yaser isn’t dead

A month after Yaser (better known as Lieutenant Syed Yaser Abbas Shaheed) lost his wallet, he received a letter along with his identity card. It was an apology from the guy who had stolen it. He wrote that it was the dire need for money that had forced him to steal, that he was really ashamed and would return him the amount if and when his circumstances changed. I’m sure that though his feelings of remorse would have grown now that Yaser has left, the letter writer can draw some comfort from the fact that he had at least apologised. But ...

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Troubles that follow

Panic comes easy to Karachi. Whether its suicide attacks or target killings, you will most certainly be affected no matter how far you are from the incident. Most recently it was the attack on the Criminal Investigation Department. The sound of the explosion was heard miles away. Sitting in a classroom attending a lecture, everyone around me went quiet till it was ascertained there was a blast somewhere. The suicide attacks were executed far from the institute, the students remained distracted and all classes had to be called off. Although clearly, this was not because of the terrorist attack itself but ...

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It is time for Lollywood to die

We’ve been hearing about Lollywood’s revival for a decade now. Filmmakers and actors have been struggling (read: whining and demanding) since ages. The ministry of culture has given Lollywood the industry status. The government has announced special grants. All the taxes on Pakistani films are waived off. Foreign films are banned time and again to promote local films. All this and our veteran director Syed Noor says Lollywood can’t compete with foreign films. Why? Because we don’t have the finances to match Bollywood films and people should stop comparing Pakistani films with big budget movies, he says. How does one expect viewers to ...

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