Stories published in December, 2010

We don’t need Amir and Asif

Imran Khan, who was recently in New Delhi to promote the World Cup, proclaimed Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif to be “the best opening bowling pair in the world” and said that these bowlers are particularly significant to Pakistan’s chances of winning championship. He further said that without these bowlers in the team, the Pakistani bowling attack is “not potent.” With all due respect to the cricket legend, I do not agree with Mr Khan’s comments here. While I completely agree with him that Amir and Asif may be instrumental to Pakistan’s success at the World Cup, let’s not forget that ...

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Are you an SMS junkie?

As I look around, I see everyone firing away at the keys of their mobile phones at supersonic speed. It’s unnerving, and sometimes I feel that we really have been invaded by these miniscule hand-held devices. Sure, it’s great technology and life has definitely become easier, convenient and faster in a lot of ways but they say excess of anything is bad. It is quite correct about incessant text messaging as well which, in my opinion, is not only an addictive nuisance but also causes repetitive strain injury. In the past few years, I have almost become allergic to text messaging ...

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Selective coverage: What the stories we never hear about mean

Keeping an eye on how the media has been working in Pakistan, I have been confused about whether it is actually performing its role –  its real role as an unbiased observer to events – and providing masses with untampered facts and information. Aside from its highly anti-government policies and the Zardari obsession, there are other reasons that makes its role suspect. With reference to the Pakistan army, the media’s role remains ambiguous. For reasons that are obvious, there has been a serious lack of reporting on exactly how the army has been conducting activities in Balochistan and Fata. But recent events are alarming. Last week ...

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On being considered a Taliban…

Earlier this week,  Rangers personnel cordoned off Kunwari Colony, a Pashtun-dominated area in Manghopir, Karachi. The area is inhabited mostly by people belonging to the Mehsud tribe that hails mainly from Waziristan. The Rangers banned the exit of all and sundry from the colony with the help of police. They then started a door-to-door operation arresting anyone they found to be suspect; tied their hands, covered their faces and put them into trucks. More than 1,500 were booked and shifted to undisclosed places. Most of them are daily wage labourers and road-side vendors who sell scrap items or fruits. Later some ...

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Money 101: Can your bank balance afford college?

An impending new year means new beginnings and if most of us could go back in time we would possibly start off with the beginning of our college years or ‘A’ levels onwards. Being a fan of equal opportunities it irks me to see commercial banks roll out cheesy advertisements where a grey haired couple is seen beaming at a son wearing a graduation cap and a daughter wearing a bridal outfit. What if the daughter wants to become a chemical engineer and all the son dreams of is his Deepak Perwani sherwani? But either way, college education is something ...

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Five fashion must-haves which won’t leave you broke

Women often tend to have wishlists but unfortunately, we also tend to go broke. So I took the liberty to come up with a list of wishlist-worthy things, with their more affordable alternatives. An oversized men’s watch The trend started a while back and is still going strong. The obvious first choice here is a man’s Rolex. It’s been spotted on a lot of celebrity wrists, and if you can’t borrow your husbands, why not get a cheaper alternative? Michael Kors has a decent collection of watches. The one in gold is my personal favorite. A pair of Balenciaga shoes Each pair is loud ...

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For those of us who can’t afford private college

As a student, I knew I had to score a high grade in my Intermediate Board exams to get into a decent university. Unfortunately, I also knew an ‘A’ grade could not guarantee admission. In the face of financial constraints and family restrictions my options were limited. There was never a question of what I wanted to be, what I liked doing or what I was good at because only one thing mattered: what my family could afford. I knew my choice was likely to be a government university. ‘We can’t afford it’ My experience taught me that government universities,  charge nearly a quarter what ...

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Thanking our mentors: The deserving few

Yesterday, I went to my niece’s report day at her school, where students were presented achievement certificates at a prize distribution ceremony. From best discipline and best in cleanliness to the most responsible and the most creative – you name it and they had it. Every time a category was announced, I would hold my breath anticipating an award for the best teacher. Not because I would do the same during the very short time I worked as a teacher, but because I realise the hard work of teachers standing in a row clapping ardently every time their student was called ...

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WikiLeaks: Democracy undressed

WikiLeaks has now been added to our burgeoning dictionary of new labels of social media but undoubtedly, it is one of the most controversial. The proliferation of different types of social media from Facebook to YouTube is raising deep questions about public discussion, and the workings of democracy itself. It is not so much the content that is released by WikiLeaks that is of concern or indeed of any great surprise, since they merely confirmed what many suspected. Democracy looks like a sham The great concern is how foreign policy is being conducted behind closed doors, in secret corridors of power where only an elite ...

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Chelsea down in the dumps

After a rampant start to the Barclays Premier League 2010/11 season when they were scoring goals left, right and center, the West London based Chelsea (or the Blues to give them their pet name) have recently suffered a down slide of a magnitude that not even the most astute of football pundits would have been able to predict. Having opened up quite a large gap between themselves and fellow title contenders Manchester United and Arsenal earlier in the season, Chelsea now find themselves holding third spot in the Barclays Premier League table. The troubled Blues have managed to garner a miserable five points ...

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