Stories published in September, 2010

Taking the Nokia N8 for a spin

Nokia has been promising to deliver the goods in terms of a ‘sexy’ high-end Smartphone for some time now and a lot of Nokia fans (you can throw a stone in any direction and likely hit a few ‘Nokians’ in Pakistan) have their hopes set on the N8, which is going to be available via Ufone (and reportedly one can pre-book a set as of now) in the local market at a figure of roughly Rs40,000. I’ve had the pleasure of playing around with this phone during an N8 pre-launch event in Dubai, so let’s take a look at what ...

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Fundamentalism versus pluralism in religion

”The principle of movement in the structure of Islam” (Allama Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought In Islam) Religious fundamentalism has been described in various terms and jargon; however the most compelling description of fundamentalism when we consider the topics of knowledge production and social practice is’ the virtual absence of historical scholarship, liberty and rationality.’ Fundamentalists are by no means inclined towards force but they do deny the call for reform and change, arguing that religion is unchangeable hence any interference by human beings through manipulative means of interpretation is an adulteration of the purity of faith. In one clear ...

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Are you being robbed one rupee at a time?

As I asked for one rupee in change from the cashier a fellow customer on the next billing counter took a whole 180 degree turn and looked at me as if I was an insect. To add to my embarrassment the cashier rolled his eyes and took out a five rupee note and said “you can keep this instead.” He made me feel like a beggar for asking for my own money. Obviously, I did not keep it but amused and astonished I moved away. The next day I discussed the incident with my friends. Most of them seemed to have ...

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So your best friend just lost his job?

The global economy is in shambles. For those who have any doubts I recommend checking out the unemployment rate in the country and comparing it to last year’s. A large local media organisation recently fired a crop of employees. Luckily, as far as I know none of my friends were axed. None of them make enough money to warrant being firing – talk about market efficiency. But the incident got me thinking – how do you interact with people who have recently lost their jobs? There is no play book, so I have come up with several courses of ...

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For those who have seen drone attacks

Many believe Izzat Gul did not die a fair death in South Waziristan. ”When these infidels could not equal the valour of Izzat Gul, they most dastardly sent a drone to get rid of him. These hell seekers have also martyred two of his young children and his wife,” says Esar Mehsud, who joined the files of Taliban four years ago and has become a force to reckon with in his own right. Amidst the political furore it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to answer for the numerous drone attacks. Government officials remain tight-lipped when asked if drone ...

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What 32 dead school children are saying

This is a story of a cruel, ruthless and heartless Pakistani system that has failed. And no elections can save it, without a major change. A mother in northern Pakistan jumped into a river where five of her children drowned after the management of a privately-run school sent them off in a crammed bus driven by the school’s gatekeeper, or chowkidar, who then drove it off a cliff. Every once in a while comes a news story that makes your heart stop. And this is one of them. Pakistan’s politicians can spend $11 million on a statue for a dead politician ...

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Why the MDG summit is important for Pakistan

The three-day high level moot of world leaders to evaluate the work that has so far been put into achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has entered into its last day at New York. The MDG summit primarily aims to accelerate the progress towards the MDGs by 2015, taking into account the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals. The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, leading to concrete strategies for action. The meeting holds immense meaning for Pakistan for reasons that are more than ...

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10 things Pakistani blog readers should know

Blogs can be casual, formal or anything in between. So while writing, the blogger can interrupt the readers with an “akhhh thoo” if he wants to, without having to suffer tons of meaningless comments. It’s a blog, not a featured article in Foreign Policy magazine. Blogs are opinion-oriented. They may or may not be backed by hard facts. A blog or ‘web log’ does not necessarily have in-depth analysis that will ...

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Where is Mazhar Majeed?

On Sunday August 29, we were introduced to Mazhar Majeed, thanks to the oh so credible British tabloid, News of the World, as they cooked up and ‘revealed’ the story of the Pakistan cricket team’s involvement in spot fixing. Almost a month after allegations that turned Pakistan cricket upside down, Majeed, the main man or the middle man, is nowhere to be found. A realtor, a sponsorship agent some of Pakistan team members, owner of a football club and an alleged bookmaker as well. Impressive credentials, are they not? Yet, made a fool of. After an undercover reporter from a British tabloid allegedly spoiled Majeed’s bid to make millions on the last Pakistan versus ...

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A bad start to Manchester United’s season

The premier league season is still green, each of the 20 teams have played about 5 games or so. Nonetheless, there has been something bothersome about one of the leading teams of English first tier football. Manchester United, of eighteen league titles and three European cups have shown a remarkable susceptibility to the last ten to fifteen minutes of the normal ninety minute period. What went wrong Twice, in games against Fulham and recently against Everton, United have thrown away the lead, particularly in the game against Everton where United were comfortable leaders with twenty minutes left in the game and ...

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