Stories published in October, 2010

Wikileaks: Defying the art of war

The war on truth: In an age filled with conspiracy theories and theorists, it is quite comforting to find Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organisation releasing their latest installment of classified war documents which unlike their predecessors, must be addressed by the US government. The notorious information clearing house released “The Iraq War Logs,”400,000 classified US military documents (the largest such release of classified documents in US history). As was expected, there was a great uproar within the US administration about the release under the pretense that the leaks would be putting American forces and Iraqi civilians at risk, even though the ...

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Survivors, not killers

Pakistan is a brave nation. It takes a lot of guts for a people to continue on after a year that can only be called the year of death: 8,000 people have died in Pakistan this year – devastating floods, a dumbfounding air crash, deplorable target killings and decimating suicide bombings. And the year hasn’t even ended yet. Those from northern Pakistan have had it the worst. The year opened with a deadly blast that killed 94 people who had gathered to watch a volleyball match in Lakki Marwat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, quashing all hopes that Pakistanis had had that this ...

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The constant drama of Pakistani cricket

So, he’s back! The man who took Pakistan to World T20 glory 16 months ago is back to play cricket for the national side. No one really knows why he wasn’t a part of the team to begin with, but what matters now is that Younis Khan is back. So is Misbah as test captain! Will that change too, now that Younis is back? The chief selector, Mohsin Khan, did say that Younis was their first choice as test captain, but that they opted for Misbah only because Younis was not cleared by the man who has been single-handedly destroying Pakistani cricket ...

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October 24, 2010
 Natasha Raheel

Floods: Being aware of our responsibility

The floods have come and gone, and it seems only two kinds of people remember what exactly happened. The first are the victims, of course, since they lost pretty much everything they owned. The others are those who think they did a remarkable job by contributing and volunteering in the relief activities. That is not to say that many individuals and organisations have not gone beyond the call of duty to help out their fellow human beings. But as the affected population returns to their washed and in some cases waterlogged land, some who take pride in their contributions are ...

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So you want change in Pakistan?

Times are tough, I know. Dismay is in the air. When you speak to people, all you hear is negativity, gloom and cynicism about the direction we are headed. You will find very few who show confidence in the general state of affairs. When terrorists are striking symbolic targets in cities with impunity; when the economy is spiraling downward; when prices of essential commodities are rocketing sky high; when all you hear are stories of corruption in government ranks, with notorious figures handling the most important ministries-that is a time when the word ‘change’ becomes fascinating. Why wouldn’t anyone yearn ...

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Robots with guns (and morals?)

Robotic warfare is here. US soldiers are killing insurgents across the world with remote controlled drones. A worried UN investigator Christof Heyns has urged the UN to set up a panel on the ethics of robot weapons. We in Pakistan are fighting faceless machines now, they appear out of nowhere, shoot us down and disappear. The right kind of war Would you want a war where your sole existence depends on the decision of a machine which cannot see, hear or feel? War is supposed to have consequences that may be lost if the current trend of robotic warfare continues. When war is dehumanized and ...

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You Like me, you Like me not

“Man kills sister on court premises.” 9 people like this. “Explosion in Peshawar mosque, 3 dead.” 28 people like this. “Twin suicide attacks at Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine.” 230 people like this Doesn’t this appear disconcerting to you? It was alright if you ‘liked’ my pictures or comments. But must you like everything? Is that the only form of reaction left online? Yes,I know you don’t really like it, in the true sense of the word’s meaning. You hit the only button available for appreciation (besides the one for tweets). But that’s how it appears to readers. Am I the only one ...

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If Donald Duck is not a threat, why is Hanuman?

It seems like banning things is the only form of productivity we have mastered so far. A resolution calling for a ban on Hindu cartoons was proposed in the Punjab Assembly last Tuesday. Those calling for the ban should, for a second, try going back to their childhood. They might find an idealistic time, when they had an unsullied and vigorous imagination. Even ignorant old grannies understand the importance of stories for the young mind. They would narrate stories of kings, princes, dwarves, magicians, palaces, far away wonderlands, jungles and mysterious dens, while children lay next to them, eyes wide ...

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18th amendment case: ball in parliament’s court

The eagerly-awaited order of the Supreme Court regarding the petitions challenging provisions of the 18th amendment to the Constitution was announced by the Chief Justice around 11 am on October 21, 2010. A sensible decision by an independent court The order might have come as a surprise to many. However, it came as an especially rude shock to certain elements who claim to be the flag-bearers of democracy and the rule of law. They were waiting for an opportunity to unleash themselves against the Supreme Court’s encroachment on parliament’s turf if the 18th Amendment was struck down. These elements are the only ...

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Hungry for some rights

The fundamental right of the citizen to food, shelter and water is enshrined in the constitution. With an increasing number of people falling below the poverty line – without any social safety nets in place – the number of hungry men, women and children has rapidly increased in the last decade. The extreme disparity between the rich and poor, a lack of employment opportunities and a serious shortage of skilled labour has caused a rise in the number of hungry people in the country. The cost of living Factory owners hire workers on a contractual basis and avoid offering them benefits awarded to full-time employees, especially in Karachi. This forces ...

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