Stories published in August, 2010

How the flood disaster will be remembered

Almost 50 per cent of the population suffering from the floods are children. These people are without food and shelter, making survival unpredictable. This effects all of us. In order to minimise the impact of the tough times ahead, the citizens of Pakistan need to adhere to strict rules. By now almost every citizen, including the government machinery is involved in providing relief with whatever means and resources available. Private, international, political and state fund collections are open for donations, and some people  have already performed commendable life saving evacuation procedures. Relief activities for daily delivery of food, water and medicine continue. The same effort ...

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‘Honour’ among murderers

I recently came across a picture from Sargodha, which showed a young man sitting on a charpoy with a knife in his hand and blood on his shalwar. He was posing like a hero. His expression was serious. There was no regret on his face or fear, maybe a hint of pride.  The guy had not taken on any terrorists or robbers single handed. No. He had killed his young sister, who had married without the permission of her family a year before. The man had gone to his sister’s house and convinced her to visit their family home so ...

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Good fishing in flood waters

Some of the things our countrymen have done in the aftermath of the flash floods, the plane crash and the ethnically motivated violence are stark examples of how far people will go to benefit from other peoples’ misery. It is ‘good fishing in troubled waters’ according to the Spanish – well, flood waters in our case – who believe that humans have a gift for profiting from the general misfortune of others. So far, we have not proved them wrong. When flash floods forced people to leave Kot Addu, bus drivers charged them up to Rs15,000 for a ride to ...

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Nazia Hassan, our disco queen

There are some who leave their footsteps behind in the shores of time, whose memory remains etched in the hearts and minds of people even years after their souls have departed: Those who are immortalised through the indelible mark they leave in a given field which becomes an inspiration for generations to come. Nazia Hassan was one such individual. Nazia’s contribution to Pakistani pop music is unparalleled in many ways. She can undoubtedly be touted as the pioneer of ‘pop music’ in the sub-continent. At a time when Pakistani and Indian music was limited to ghazals, qawalis and film songs ...

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The most expensive Ramazan ever

The holy month of Ramazan has arrived with pre-dawn prayers, iftar’s and frantic efforts to make up for every sin committed during the rest of the year. For most of us, religious fervor is accompanied with more worldly pleasures like delicious parathas, traditional khajla and pheni to be devoured at sehri and the innumerable delights of Iftar. Would Ramazan even feel like Ramazan if not for the daily dose of fruit chat and the onion and potato pakoras and samosas? Traditional Ramazan fare has long fed the greed of hoarders and profiteers. But this year man made shortages have been eclipsed  by a natural destruction of an unbelievable ...

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Taming the untamable

It is going to take a lot more than a ‘code of conduct’ to make sure the target killings in Karachi stop. As vanguards of democracy, claiming to stand for the rights of their ‘own’ people, the political parties in the city have left little doubt that there are, directly or indirectly, responsible for most of the violence in the city. No one named who was behind the violence that erupted in the city last week yet somehow Rehman Malik knew who he had to call to the meeting to make sure the killings stop. And they did. The minute the ...

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Learning a lesson in Khairpur

Empty classrooms, vacant desks, books unopened and lessons not learnt – Khairpur’s schools are screaming for attention. Interning with some local NGOs gave me the opportunity to visit and compile a report about girls’ schools in Khairpur Mir. I was struck, in a harrowing way, by what I saw. When most people think about the state of education, especially female education in rural areas, a gloomy picture comes to mind. Let’s just say that I wasn’t expecting everything to be hunky dory either. I had gleaned enough details about ghost schools, absenteeism, and general dissatisfaction with government schools. But no amount ...

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Notes from the flood zone

This flood is worse than the 2005 earthquake because it is going to cause prolonged misery. First of all, all this water is a cesspool in the making. People have no clean drinking water. Do you know what they are doing? Drinking flood water. This is causing gastrointestinal problems. Stagnant water and mosquitoes will ultimately result in malaria. I am not medically qualified, so I can’t paint an accurate picture of the problems, but this is the gist of it all. Apart from that, it’s monsoon season, and we all know all kinds of bugs and insects come out during the ...

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Geo down, ARY down… government down?

A senior journalist and past colleague from Geo days woke me in the morning with the following SMS: Are you getting 2007 flashbacks? I promptly sat up, snapped open my laptop and began scanning local news websites to check what he was referring to. I got to The News and waited for my page to load. The page cannot be displayed I try Geo.tv. This webpage is not available. So it has finally happened. Democracy’s best revenge has turned on the media en force, blocking the Jang Group’s website, burning copies of their newspapers in the street, blocking their channels and taking out protests to ...

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Where are we going?

Independence Day is around the corner and yet I feel sad. It is a joyous occasion but I feel empty. How can I feel happy when our nation is bleeding? It saddens to me to see how we are on the path to self-destruction with no care for what happens for our future generation. I thought that terrorism was our only problem but now we are suffering the wrath of God as Pakistan has been devastated by floods. Our founding fathers toiled day and night to give their future generations a place to call their own. If they were aware of ...

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