Stories published in September, 2010

A victim of the Lahore attack remembers

You read stories of violence and atrocities committed on faceless Pakistanis in your local newspapers on a daily basis. You absorb the news as detached consumers. Empathy and even hints of grief might stir your heart while reading a poignant story every once in a while, but try as you might, you will never be able to relate to the victims and those directly involved – because you were never there. It didn’t happen to you or, anyone you know. And for that, you’re almost relieved. Yet guiltily so. But what would happen, if one day, you or your loved ...

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What Dr Aafia protests mean for Muslims

The conviction of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui should be seen through the prism of the dark plot hatched by certain elements in the West against Islam and its adherents. How else can one explain the 86-year sentence on seven counts that Dr Aafia received? The West knows that the sentence given to Dr Aafia will cause massive disappointment in the Muslim world. There will be protests, there will be riots and much more ‘spice’ which the western media is looking for. The US has saved itself from a universal insult and the tag of hypocrisy by sentencing Dr Aafia. Had ...

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We want villains

Why do we throw shoes at people? Why do we send jokes deprecating our democratic leaders? Why do our status messages wittingly and bitingly comment on political disasters? Because we want to sleep at night. We are good citizens, we are good people and we prove this by indulging in the aforementioned acts of patriotism. We are horrified at the corruption around us and we would never ever be tempted by wealth and power, oh no! We are too good for that. And to prove it we have modern day Mephistopheles. Vilified by the media and condemned by the general populace, we have elevated some people to the status of the ...

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Will we ever witness another talent like Ronnie O’Sullivan again?

Will we ever witness another talent like Ronnie O’Sullivan again? The answer to that question is a very definite ‘no’ in my mind. First, we need to put Ronnie O’Sullivan’s career into perspective. He has been ranked world number one five times, won the World Championships three times and has won an incredible twenty two rankings titles in his career so far. He is second on the list of all time competitive match century breaks at a whopping  605, second only to the much loved legend of the game Stephen Hendry. While there has been a lot of hot talk ...

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Injustice for Dr Aafia once again

I cannot express how disappointed I am at the sentence that Dr Aafia Siddiqui received. She did not deserve to be convicted at all – if one looks carefully at the testimonies of key witnesses. There are also questions about the legitimacy of how she was picked up, but without even addressing these issues, I would just like to talk about the initial case and verdict which was given earlier this year. During the case an FBI firearms expert had expressed doubts whether the M-4 rifle, which was allegedly grabbed by the Pakistani neuroscientist to attack US interrogators in Afghanistan, was ...

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Thinking big at a small age

It was the eve of August 22, when I was at a tent village established by the Scouts in Khairpur. I was reporting from the district as well as volunteering with the Scouts. As I was talking to the IDPs, inquiring about the facilities, one woman said that though they are being supplied with food and shelter, they don’t have any money. Suddenly, a boy standing at a little distance jumped in: “Allah saved us from the floods, we have been brought here, we should be thankful.” This was how I met 11-year-old Ali Haider, a high-spirited, confident and slightly ...

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Karachi doesn’t need Rangers!

Increasing the powers of the para-military troops to police Karachi is supposed to help control the law and order situation. But has it? Ever since 1993, when the Rangers became a visible force in the city, what have they really achieved? Political forces have awarded Rangers funds and powers which seem to allow then to get away with committing crimes instead of preventing them. Many in the city believe that Rangers go unpunished because of their position. They are superior in rank to the Police and just below that of the Army. But in Karachi, they are supposed to be ...

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Potatoes – my first love

It usually takes two to three weeks for the potatoes to sprout. Once you see the green shoots prepare your plot, container or a bag for planting potatoes. I have selected a large blue tub. It has enough space for planting 5-7 potatoes. Here are three simple steps how you can plant your potatoes 1. Fill your container 2/4 with a good mixture of sand and manure.  (60:40 works for me). Soil must be well drained. 2. Place potatoes at 6-7 inches  distance from each other. 3. Cover with sand. Make sure the leafs are visible. Keep your potatoes healthy Simply water the plant softly ...

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Making friends in the new world order

“We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles” (Statement of Principles, Project for the New American Century, June 3rd, 1997) While reading this statement, one inevitably notices the emphasis on the word “our.” Besides, when the US President says “God Bless America”, one wonders, “Ok, God Bless America…but what about the rest of us?” These are the questions that arise in the minds of Pakistanis and these are the concerns that Hillary Clinton attempted to address (quite unsuccessfully) in her recent charity trip to Pakistan. Today, America stands at ...

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A nation of lazy bums

It was not the first time. My housemaid’s husband used to beat her every now and again. He did not want to do any work and whenever she asked him to, his response was to beat her. This attitude is harsh and condemnable. He was fed by the hard work of this wife. So one day she decided to take a stand and stopped working. But in a month’s time, she had to return to work as it was very hard for her to make ends meet. He, however, still did not get a job. There are many wives who are ...

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