Stories published in October, 2010

Talat Hussain’s slap in the face

“My husband is an addict. He doesn’t work to support the family. He does menial work on days of his choosing, the money from which goes to feeding his addiction. I work to feed and support our children. But he has told me that he does not want me to work long hours at somebody’s house. I can only stay out until the afternoon. It is a matter of ‘honour’,” was how a maid described her husband to another. “Thank God, my husband does not do drugs. He doesn’t work, he screams at me and sometimes beats me up ...

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It’s not easy being Asma Jehangir

Having secured the presidency of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Asma Jahangir is set to face challenges of a Herculean nature. She has yet to illuminate a lucid position on the contentious issue regarding the growth of judicial activism. The Executive has viewed the proliferation of this form of activism as a threat to the doctrine of trichotomy which defines power relations in Pakistan’s political system.It is thus perceived as a counter to the supremacy of the parliament and a direct opposition to democratic rule. This ‘anti-judiciary’ point of view has erroneously grown to typify Asma Jahangir’s candidacy for the SCBA ...

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Do you think I look like a terrorist?

It was a scorching Saturday afternoon and I was supposed to be at cricket practice for my office team. As I waited in the heat for a colleague to pick me up I looked around for some shade. Incidentally, there was a tree nearby where a ranger’s van was parked. I thought I would kill two birds with one stone –get some shade and protection from mobile snatchers. I moved under the tree and stood beside the van, chewing gum. Ten minutes later, my colleague was late and I was still waiting. Suddenly, a ranger came up to me and said: “Maulvi sahib, ...

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Muslims banned the burqa before France

France’s ban on the niqab caused uproar among Muslims who felt that they were being targeted. More recently Shiv Sena’s idiotic demand to ban the burqa in India- after someone wearing a burqa stole a child from a hospital- attracted considerable attention from the media. Unfortunately, when steps that go against this religious freedom happen in Muslim majority states like Turkey and Kosovo, we remain silent hypocrites. While there was some talk about Turkey’s headscarf ban a few years back, I am surprised that I had never even heard of a year-old ban on headscarves in Kosovo. Perhaps this is because ...

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It is time for Lollywood to die

We’ve been hearing about Lollywood’s revival for a decade now. Filmmakers and actors have been struggling (read: whining and demanding) since ages. The ministry of culture has given Lollywood the industry status. The government has announced special grants. All the taxes on Pakistani films are waived off. Foreign films are banned time and again to promote local films. All this and our veteran director Syed Noor says Lollywood can’t compete with foreign films. Why? Because we don’t have the finances to match Bollywood films and people should stop comparing Pakistani films with big budget movies, he says. How does one expect viewers to ...

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Et tu, Fatima Bhutto?

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog on this website by an American pilot, John Bockmann. John was part of the American flood relief mission to Pakistan and he wrote about taking rice, flour, blankets, housing materials, cooking oil and other materials up and down the Swat and Indus River Valleys. He also spoke of bringing sick, injured, and displaced people to hospitals and hometowns. Although he missed his family and his home in Alaska, John said that he had been warmed by the hospitality that he was shown here. Sometimes, fancy phrases and flowery words are not needed to ...

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PPP, PML-N and Musharraf: a merry-go-round of alliances

There is an age old saying, “all is fair in love and war.” It should be amended to say, “all is fair and possible in love, war and politics.” A couple of years ago, when the PPP came into power, the PML -Q or the King’s Party (as it was rightly dubbed), was its arch rival. The PPP’s success in the elections was considered to be “sweet revenge” against then President Musharraf and his henchmen (read: PML-Q). Before and after forming the “people’s government,” Mr. Zardari made tall claims about political reconciliation and underwent several negotiations with the PML-N. Even his ...

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Revealed: 10 ways to get the job

For the last six months now, I have been working full time as a human resource manager. One thing I can certainly say is that at university, they certainly do not prepare you enough for what is in store for you when you join the field. The reality of being of a human resource manager in Pakistan bites. The socio-economic climate prevailing in the country does not help and the lack of common courtesy makes things a lot worse. As a human resource manager, I can offer valuable suggestions to prospective employees, with regard to where they should try ...

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Why Babar Awan chose to shut up

A friend of mine recently sent me this clip of Babar Awan’s interview on one of my favorite shows Point Blank hosted by Mubashir Lucman. In the show the federal law minister uses a weapon that many politicians don’t know how to use against the media –the power of silence. One of my instructors at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting used to tell the class that “silence is death of the broadcast media.” I believe that it was a slight miscalculation on Lucman’s part that gave Awan the opportunity to utilize the potent weapon of silence. Lucman put forth a few questions to Awan ...

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Friends don’t let friends dance sober

“Call it what you wana call it, I’m a freakin’ alcoholic,” Over 100 young Karachiites chanted this song, with happy pills in their systems and joints and glasses of alcohol in their hands at a recent party. While possession of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and drugs of like quality may be a federal offence punishable with a jail sentence of several years in Pakistan it is not difficult to acquire the intoxicants. If you happen to pass by a wine shop in Karachi, which can officially only sell its products to non-Muslim members of the community, you may notice members of ...

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