Stories published in September, 2010

US rule book: America’s precedent for illegal attacks

Having lived in the US for the majority of my adult life, I have seen the numerous positive aspects of American society that are missing in Pakistani society. Their support for ‘freedom of speech’ and their judicial system are precedents that I hope are followed in Pakistan someday. That being said, America has also set some dangerous precedents by its actions and inactions in the recent past.  It is these precedents that undermine their efforts in Pakistan and make Pakistani’s even view their goodwill efforts with skepticism. If America wishes to improve its relationships with the Pakistani people, it must ...

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Revisiting Pakistan’s ‘Strategic Depth’

Two words that hold our country hostage is our policy of maintaining ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan. Apart from referring to a poorly titled adult film, the policy envisages to protect Pakistan’s eastern borders from unwanted Indian influence. However, the consequences of continuing with this policy and differentiating between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ Taliban, has led to accusations of Pakistan playing a ‘double-game’ in Afghanistan. For many the accusation has become quite stale and repetitive. It seems to have become an open secret, with many accepting it as a reality, a part of the status-quo for dealing with the troubles ...

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Dr Aafia deserved what she got

“I am not sad. I am not distressed. They are not torturing me. This is a myth and lie and its being spread among the Muslims.” These were the words of Dr Aafia Siddiqui after the long awaited verdict was served against her on September 23. She was found guilty and was convicted of multiple charges including an attempt to murder American military personnel in Afghanistan. She has been sentenced with 86 years of imprisonment after which she called for Muslims to resist using violence. The harsh punishment sparked an anticipated outrage in various sections of the public in different cities of Pakistan. Hundreds ...

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Unwarranted hysteria for ‘Pakistan’s Daughter’

“Free Aafia” “Daughter of Pakistan “ “Sister of Islam” “Justice for Aafia” One can only guess how many slogans we have heard over these past two years about an Al Qaeda operative and a disgraced Pakistani American scientist, Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The name “Aafia” has been a coveted logo in Pakistan where the public – including all political parties, conspiracy theorists, religious elements and activists – have exploited it to foster their interests and for political point scoring. The same logo has created such hysteria that it has not only occupied the electronic media, blogs and newspapers but in fact Aafia has become ...

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An open letter to Ijaz Butt

Dear Butt Saab, I must confess, wholeheartedly enough, that I am a big admirer of the way you’ve run Pakistani cricket. Quite professionally, to the best of my knowledge. Equally, you have done an awful lot for Pakistani cricket, both within the country and the larger international stage. Your tenure as the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman, a post you largely acquired by a typical sub-continental virtue of jugaad, is perhaps hailed as the Golden Age of Pakistani cricket, leaving behind mortals like Abdul Hafeez Kardar who did nothing. You have presided over a period in Pakistan cricket, which was full of achievements galore. ...

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A fool-proof plan to a promotion

Fresh graduates should remember that getting a promotion is easy but maintaining a new position is not a piece of cake. An oft-quoted line from Spiderman comes to mind whenever I get a promotion: “with great power comes great responsibility.” But how do you get that great power?  Follow a few easy tips and get an instant promotions in you organization. I did. Show your company the love Any organization you join, you join for a reason. Whatever the reason, the company has given you opportunities in terms of salary and career. In the current economical scenario, when the unemployment rate is 15 ...

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Let humanity out of it’s cage

“Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor – all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked – who is good? Not that men are ignorant – what is truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.” W.E.B.Du Bois, Souls of the Black Folk The idea of ‘know thyself’ as the highest good offered by Socrates and immortalized by its inscription at the Delphic oracle has always been an easier said than done axiom of human existence. How do we know ourselves? How do we know others? ...

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Confessions of an addict

Over the past few days, I have started to observe things that I never used to notice. Breaching dykes, lynch mobs, people who are denied food and shelter, a trail of suicide attacks, spot-fixing allegations – the list goes on. I became determined to figure out what was going on and why. There were various explanations but I couldn’t agree less with all of them – it was all about who I am and not about why I am the way I am. Luckily , one day I tripped on something and fell. I found out that I have a short attention ...

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The cost of grades

By the end of my first semester in university, I became aware that my approach towards education is becoming what the university wants it to be – grades oriented and competitive, wanting to be better than the others, but not because learning is the aim. Without my realising it, the concept of education had changed in my mind. Now it was just a matter of mere numbers (marks) and letters (grades). Relative grading in educational institutions teaches students one simple rule: your grade depends on how others have done in your class. So if the rest of the class has done average, and you are a just a little above ...

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When you pay cricketers peanuts, you get monkeys

So the Pakistani cricket team finally returned home last this week. I for one was a tad surprised not to see an angry mob armed with anday tamatar, to say the least. Cricket, as we all know, is the second most popular religion in Pakistan – we watch it, we talk about it, and until reality hits by age 16 – half our population dreams of becoming a pro in it. If you think about it, it’s extremely understandable – the public reaction – the shock and hurt over the latest match fixing allegations and the irritation over Ijaz Butt’s ...

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