Stories published in December, 2010

Barcelona’s sweet revenge: Jose Mourinho’s Real murdered

As things turned out, they couldn’t have given us more memorable football. Barcelona gave us a piece of drama beyond compare, something so thrilling and so extraordinary that no one who was at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night will ever forget it. There have been great El Clasico’s before, but there has never been a piece of theatre like this – and it could not have happened in any other sport. You can be staring down the wrong end of three match points in a Wimbledon singles final and spend the next two hours ...

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WikiLeaks: Gossip on a global level

We like to pretend that we’re indifferent to it. The fact of the matter, however, is that it exists all around us. Sometimes in the shape of a tete-a-tete, at other instances as an intelligence report or espionage leak, it all boils down to the same idea – information generated across the circles where it has no business being. Simply put, it is just the good old strangely satisfying thing we call gossip. “Log kya kahain gey” – a maxim we’d lived under all our lives, explains perfectly the very human desire to talk, converse, and ...

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Fashion could save Pakistan!

In the year 2010, several things have gone wrong in our country and our beloved city Karachi. We’ve had our fair share of bomb blasts, floods, robberies and murders. Let’s face it;  this hasn’t exactly stopped us from having our fun. Karachiites, are strong, determined individuals who tend to have a “c’est la vie” kind of mentality, which is not likely to change in the near future. Of course, it is likely that we will donate to a good cause and proceed to the Karachi Press Club several times a year to be involved in a safeguard of human rights campaign, but ...

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Why oppose the RGST?

Why is the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) such a headache for so many and why does the government keep insisting that it is ‘necessary for the country’? More than anybody else, people should listen to what economic experts say about RGST first. Talk to any analyst and expert on the economy of Pakistan and they will support the RGST being implemented. They do this because it will help increase tax collection and make a dent in the untaxed sectors of the country’s economy. Pakistan with just a nine per cent of tax-to-GDP ratio tops the list of countries with the ...

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Where did the blasphemy law come from?

According to Islamic belief, blasphemy is considered the use of profanity or a show of disrespect towards religious beliefs and holy personages, but unlike Judaism and Christianity, no strict punishment for the crime has been proscribed. In fact, Allah takes it upon Himself to deal with those who “revile Allah in their ignorance”. Quran’s Surah Al-Anam aayah 108 says: “Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord and We ...

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Kuch Khaas open mic night: Good times in Islamabad!

Last weekend I attended an open mic night at Kuch Khaas, a famous social enterprise in Islamabad. The occasion held all the promise to be yet another “mass brain cell genocide”; a phrase I use fondly each time I end up at one of these gigs. I had anticipated a night filled with tone-deaf kids hopped up on drugs, with couples leering in the corners and of course bad karaoke music. But I was wrong on all counts. This open mic night has to be one of the finest youth events I’ve attended in a long time. Kuch Khaas is located ...

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AIDS: Battle the disease, and the stigma

It has been almost 30 years since the symptoms of HIV/AIDS first presented themselves in 1981 in San Francisco and New York amongst young homosexual men; 27 years since the virus itself was discovered and in this time we have come a long way in figuring out how HIV spreads and what precautions to take. As far as treatment is concerned, leaps and bounds have been made and now people with the disease can live an (almost) normal life. But what has not changed in this time is the stigma attached with having the disease, the public perception and the public ...

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WikiLeaks: Whither Muslim brotherood?

It was never really a secret that Saudi Arabia did not like Iran. Perhaps there may be a sectarian history to this or maybe it is simple old realpolitik with two large states vying for regional power. But Saudi Arabia isn’t the only Muslim country that seems to loathe Iran. There is the UAE and Kuwait as well as, albeit to a lesser extent, Qatar. According to a cable of Feb 9, 2010, from US ambassador to UAE to Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the US armed forces, prior to the latter’s meeting with the UAE crown prince and defence ...

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Ashes: Australia’s toothless bowling attack fails them

A glance back into the annals of Test cricket would reveal that Test teams or at least those of a dominant variety always had potent bowling attacks. The fearsome West Indies sides of the 70s and 80s and the all-conquering Australians of a few years ago had bowlers whose names induced fear in the hearts of batsmen all over the world. It is widely known and accepted in cricketing circles that if you do not have a line-up that is capable of bowling out the opposition twice over the course of five days then you most probably would not have ...

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If you’re ‘fair and innocent’, will you marry my son?

A few weeks ago, I went to a wedding where upon introduction, an aunty made the following comment: “Oh, beta how wonderful to see you’ve done your MBA.  But why aren’t you married yet?” The “why aren’t u married yet” was repeated in a derogatory tone as I was dragged to meet another aunty. This aunty seemed to be looking for a “suitable” wife for her son who  was living in America. Her plan was to short list 5-8 girls for her son, who would be visiting Pakistan for just a week, so she could ask him to choose one ...

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