Stories published in August, 2010

Good parents and vicarious dreaming

Usually we keep our likes, dislikes and interests in mind when we plan any activity. However, when we are planning the future for our children, we usually do not take into account what they like or don’t like or even consider their preferences. Being young and immature, most children cannot make good decisions without the guidance of either their guardian or parents. Most parents, when making decisions, usually keep their interests and desires in mind and do not evaluate the strengths, interests and weakness of their child. Sometimes these decisions turn out to be good ones. However, in more cases than not, ...

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How does it feel to be the problem?

“They say I know an excellent colored man in my town or I fought at Mechanicsville or, do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, “how does it feel to be a problem?” I answer seldom a word.” W.E.B. DuBios’ words about African Americans could easily be used for Pashtuns in Pakistan. I was born and brought up listening to the question by our countrymen. The word problem is easily interchangeable with Pashtun. “How is life in Peshawar? They say it ...

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Aamer, Asif, how could you?

Pakistan’s cricket players are our heroes. The dream of every young buck lacing his gully is to some day develop an array of pull, cut and various creative cross-bat shots reminiscent of the likes of Saeed Anwar, Inzamamul Haq to name a few – or perhaps bowl as fast as Shoaib Akhtar, as ruthlessly as Waqar Younis and as majestically as Wasim Akram. These cricketers were not merely our sportsmen, they were our heroes. We feted them, loved them, cherished them. We burdened them with providing us an avenue to escape the mundane rut of our everyday lives and garnering pride in Pakistan. Our country has failed itself, and to be fair it’s not ...

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The price of politics in cricket

Last evening, I was watching the highlights of the World Twenty20 final of 2009 which Pakistan miraculously won against all odds. Still mesmerized by these magical nostalgic feelings, I changed the channel and found the pundits of cricket scrutinizing the current report by PCB highlighting “The new great game” being played in the dressing room by the players. Traditionally this was nothing new in the game of cricket. We have witnessed it in many forms in the 90’s as well, among the great Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Amir Sohail and others. This time it has mutated into its most deadly ...

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The case for martial law

In any respectable society, a parliamentarian discovered to be holding a fake degree, involved in corruption and mismanagement would resign. In extreme cases, like in Japan, some may even commit suicide to avoid the shame and disgrace. The leader of any political party would remove anyone found guilty. In Pakistan, however, this is not the case. Surprisingly, during the time of these floods, India had to beg us to take aid from them rather than the other way around. So misconceived, in certain ways, is our pride and dignity that we will only take aid from them if they beg us to ...

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The trouble with ‘all you can eat’ deals

They got it wrong again. This happens every Ramazan. Every upscale eating place in Pakistan starts advertising their “all you can eat” offers. I think it’s a poor choice of words. It should be “All you want to eat”. Brings back memories of when we used to say stuff like “Teacher, can I go to drink water?” and they would scold us and tell us that it should be “May I go to drink water?” I can do a lot of things. Like leap off a building, for example. But the things I can do and the things I want to ...

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A ground that can’t be played on

 To play or not to play…. more importantly how to play and where to play? The majority of football in Karachi is played on mud grounds. This is primarily due to the fact that most grounds simply do not have the funds to plant and then maintain grass, especially in a semi-arid city like Karachi.  In some cases, players prefer to play on a mud track as the ball travels faster and these players enjoy the faster movement of the ball.  Almost 40 years ago a mud ground was made near main Zamzama. The ground was a perfectly level playing field ...

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A disaster commission that is sure to fail

As the popular Pakistani saying goes ‘If you don’t want anything done, set up a commission to do it.’ I would not be surprised if it turned out that this very saying was the ‘hidden’ agenda behind Nawaz Sharif’s brainwave of setting up an authority to ensure that the incoming aid was actually spent to help the flood victims. Keeping in tune to the renewed vows of ‘walking together’ in these chaotic conditions, the Prime Minister announced the setting up of the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) to ensure transparency in distribution of aid for flood victims. The council will ...

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George ka (blood-thirsty) Pakistan

On August 25, George Fulton wrote an article, Don’t act surprised. The article is one of many on the brutal Sialkot incident. The author’s message – as the title of his piece indicates – is that  such an act is nothing surprising in a nation that is inherently “barbaric” and “degenerate.” While I respect Fulton for his love for Pakistan, and while I believe, his intentions while writing were sincerely patriotic, I want to make it clear that there is a thin line between detesting a nation’s faults and bashing a country. Fulton writes: We are, and have always been, a barbaric, ...

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Can Pakistan learn from Katrina?

This weekend, as my home state of Mississippi prepares to memorialise the five-year anniversary of America’s worst natural disaster, Pakistan will mark a month since the start of the floods. Because of this post-Katrina milestone and my upcoming travels to Karachi, I’ve been considering the scope and response to both of these catastrophes. The two floods have superficial similarities, despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina was a smaller event in a better-equipped country. This means that on the fifth anniversary of Pakistan’s worst natural disaster, things will probably look even less rosy than they do now in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina formed ...

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