Stories published in September, 2010

Boys want to have fun too

What comes to your mind when you think of Karachi? The magnificent sea , ever-glowing lights , loadshedding, paan gutka and for me – gender discrimination. Yup. life is so not fair for the unfair sex in the capital of Sindh. I would have never noticed such discrimination had I been living in Karachi with my family. It was only when I came back to the city to pursue higher studies that I perceived the stark discrimination. The practice here is that all the trendy hang outs, parks, recreational spots are restricted to families only. As harsh as it seems this would still ...

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Does our media have attention deficit disorder?

News stories are like bomb blasts in Pakistan. Stories, like bombs, go off at frequent intervals here. People die every day and those who survive get agitated and display their anger at the lack of security. But then another bomb explodes and everyone forgets about the previous one. It seems the media follows a similar path. The biggest story of the year The media told us that the floods were the most devastating catastrophe to have ever been witnessed by Pakistan. Newspaper headlines shouted that more people had been affected than in the Haiti earthquake, tsunami and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake ...

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The power of illusion is the illusion of power

What is it that turns you on to the illusion of power, ask the lyrics of a song. It’s the belief in the illusion that turns us on, I believe. Sometimes our dreams can appear more real than reality itself and therein lies the pitfall. Illusions, when strong enough, can lead us into thinking that we are actually seeing what we think. It’s all in the head. But as Dumbledore told Harry Potter, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Political leaders, democrats and dictators, have been ...

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Sindh’s elite must change now

It has become clear that the state of Sindh’s health is desperate.  There is an acute shortage of vaccines, trained paramedical staff including lady health workers. Multi-national pharmaceutical companies are almost inconspicuous in their absence on any visible scale. They are not seen offering any organized flood relief effort. The medicines given for charity maybe in the form of small donations in an individual capacity. Due to lack of clean drinking water, the most vulnerable will be children and women. But as someone who has visited the rural areas pf Sindh (Kaccha, Bela and other rural areas) for the past 40 years ...

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Slumdogs in Pakistan: A new social contract

Military cantonments and government officers’ residences are a familiar site across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Well-planned, organised, serene and secure are some qualities that come to mind when they are mentioned. Equally familiar are squatter settlements, housing millions across the country. Their presence does not only highlight serious flaws in (neo-liberal) development practices followed by successive governments, it also signifies a disconnect between the state and the people. The two major expenditures in the budget, after accounting for debt servicing, are military and development funding. While the former is inherently non-productive, the latter too is futile for the millions ...

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The Bilawal we do not know

Early on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari refuted intentions that he would enter politics, yet this young scion of Pakistan’s landed gentry has, paradoxically, been striving to establish political recognition. Whether this entails telephone conversations with PM Gilani about the current situation in Pakistan or addressing a community of altruistic Pakistani expatriates in Dubai, Bilawal seems to be attempting to  develop a political identity equivalent to that of his mother. But can he? In her contentious memoir, Daughter of the East, Benazir Bhutto alludes to Bilawal as ‘the most celebrated and politically controversial baby in the history of Pakistan’. Although politics is a hereditary business ...

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September 28, 2010
 Jehan Naseem

A foreign view of Pakistan

Normally, when someone lives anywhere in the world or even just visits a place, a deep connection  develops between  them and the people of that country.  Sometime the connection is so deep, they adopt certain habits of the residents.  They, at heart, become natives or in our case “desi”.  So how do they feel reading about the multiple crises that hit our headlines everyday? I asked a few desis at heart, who are no longer living in Pakistan: How do you feel when you hear news concerning Pakistan? Tania Briceno Nationality: Columbian Karachi, Pakistan: 1991-1994 “It is always hard to read about disasters and deaths ...

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Our universities are exploiting us

Before enrolling into my university, I was required to sign the usual hosh posh of documents that institutes require to ensure that they’re protected if the students ever decide to ‘act out’. This also included a written oath which demanded that I would abide by the rules and regulations of the institute regardless of what they were and failure to do so would lead to my expulsion from it. The complete sets of rules were compiled in a book and every student was required to go through them before being admitted. The book itself comprised of the usual assortment of ...

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We are Family: A movie to watch with the kids

“Merey paas en ka guzra hua kal hai aur tumharey paas en ka aney wala kal!” This cliched line is from Indian movie  “We are Family.” The line summarizes the whole story. The film is a re-make of Chris Columbus’ blockbuster Stepmom which starred Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. In the familiar story a mother is diagnosed with a terminal illness and a young step-mom learns to fill in. The cast of the Indian version includes Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. The film is a Dahrma production and is produced by Karan Johar and debutant director Siddharth Malhotra. What they got right Casting: The director wins half the ...

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Do you even have an opinion?

I knew a kid in college. Average looks, squinty eyes, admirably tall and a mop of unruly hair. He had an unusual gait which he blamed on Roger Fedrerer for some reason I could never understand. But it wasn’t the gait nor the unruly hair which made him unique to me. It was the fact that he agreed with everyone about everything which helped him stand out from the crowd. I know I might sound a little weird when I say this. You must be wondering what’s unique about that? But I firmly believe that he was. He agreed about anything and everything. He’s nod his ...

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