Stories published in November, 2010

Queen Kate: A fairy tale ending in waiting

When she was 21, my sister went backpacking across Europe. As she was preparing to embark on her adventure, she asked me if I had any preferences for a present to bring back which she could fit within her backpack. A starry-eyed-fascinated-with-royalty-teenager, I asked her to bring me back something to do with Prince William. This was nearly 10 years ago – when His Royal Highness was still single and had most of his hair intact. Though the sexy black boots and the coloured rainbow socks were an added bonus, the Prince William fridge magnet she brought back for me remains ...

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Rakhi Sawant and Aamir Liaquat: Whither media ethics?

What do Rakhi Sawant and Aamir Liaquat Hussain have in common? Both are given to hectoring, passing arbitrary judgements and being shameless to the core. Perhaps the only difference between the two is that while the holier than thou TV anchor uses the religion card to ensnare the indiscreet and undiscerning viewer, the brassy Rakhi Sawant resorts to shock and awe tactics. Now, both have another point of similarity: murder allegations. With this Bollywood item girl’s messy track record, it is indeed surprising that NDTV thought it appropriate to hand her a reality show on a platter. Rakhi is seen in the role of a ...

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Where is the suo moto notice for Aasia?

Our honourable Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has enough time to visit the Supreme Court at midnight to conduct meetings pertaining to hearsay reports on the government’s attempts to take down the judiciary, but he has not had the time to take notice (for days now) of a glaring issue in his own judicial system: the death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi for blasphemy. I would like the Chief Justice to answer why he is hesitant to take suo moto notice on this rather critical issue which Amnesty International has lambasted, the Pope has appealed on and our own President ...

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Model UN: Breeding awareness, leadership

This is in response to the blog titled ‘Model UN: Breeding pointless Leadership’. The writer has made many generalisations in this article and  I’ll try to use my limited knowledge to counter the opinions expressed by the author. Firstly, as the scope of Model United Nations (MUN) is global and not national, issues like Kashmir and Palestine are not the sole issues being discussed, rather they form a small segment of the 10-15 topics being discussed in different committees. As far as the practicality of the concept is concerned, delegates at such MUN conferences engage in extensive research on the ...

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When reporting falls short

Sometimes I wonder whether reporting an incident and having it published is enough. I began to ask myself that a lot more when recently I went to investigate a target killing case in a neighbourhood of Karachi. The story is of an 18-year-old girl, whose father was killed by unidentified gunmen with a single shot to his head one evening as he was returning home from work. He had no political or religious party leanings. He was just an average middle-class widower, who happened to live in a troubled neighbourhood and was making an honest living for his small family. As I ...

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The return of Younus Khan

Younus Khan rescued Pakistan through a memorable, match-saving century against South Africa in Dubai. It’s rare for Pakistan to stage such a fight in Tests and that too against a top team like the Proteas. Younus hit an unbeaten 131 as Pakistan earned a draw after accumulating 343-3. His brilliant knock made me wonder what Pakistan could have achieved on their marathon tour of England earlier this year had Younus been a part of the tour, which was overall disastrous. Pakistan’s batsmen flopped miserably on the tour and the visitors crashed to series defeats against England in ...

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Paying Shah Rukh Khan to upstage the bride

Let’s face it. Asian weddings aren’t particularly known for being understated. But the news that some wealthy Indian families are now paying Bollywood stars to pretend to be relatives and appear at their weddings as guests, takes over-the-top to a whole new level. The sort of level that is so absurd, it beggars all laugh-out-loud belief. According to an article published earlier this week in the Guardian, socialite families are paying anything from £7,000 to £70,000 (Rs952,438  to Rs9.5million) for Bollywood actors and actresses to mingle with wedding guests, make idle chit chat and have photos taken with the newly-weds while ...

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Money 101: A beginner’s guide to saving

We are living in times of great economic distress and unless you have spent the better part of the past three years living under a rock I am sure you have felt the pinch starting from petrol to sugar prices. As a nation we are renowned for our hospitality, our generosity – in fact most of us use are likely to tell a cautious spender “Stop being kanjoos!” More often than not the butt of most overspending and monetary mis-management jokes is the fairer sex. At the work place you are likely to hear comments such as “she is only ...

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Roadblocks: A field of a hundred bombs

“We are standing in a field of a hundred bombs.” One of my colleagues has a penchant for dramatic statements, but this time he was not exaggerating. Having recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan, he was in a position to talk about what constitutes a security hazard. A hundred cars packed snugly into the space before a road-block, with most engines running on CNG, is not merely a question of inconvenience. It is a disaster waiting for ignition. It should be self-evident that the elements seeking to strike terror look for maximum impact, given their resources. Shrines, mosques and market-places are ...

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Troubles that follow

Panic comes easy to Karachi. Whether its suicide attacks or target killings, you will most certainly be affected no matter how far you are from the incident. Most recently it was the attack on the Criminal Investigation Department. The sound of the explosion was heard miles away. Sitting in a classroom attending a lecture, everyone around me went quiet till it was ascertained there was a blast somewhere. The suicide attacks were executed far from the institute, the students remained distracted and all classes had to be called off. Although clearly, this was not because of the terrorist attack itself but ...

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