Stories published in December, 2010

Pakistani youth: Don’t agonise, organise!

A bespectacled teenager cycles his way from Lahore to his small town. It’s a long journey, but the merry boy has not a care in the world. After all, securing the highest marks ever recorded for the Matriculation Examination is no small feat. Tears of joy complement the bright smile on his face as he enters the town. The town folk are all gathered around his humble family abode to give a hero’s welcome to their very own ‘Ramanujan.’ But among the multitude of admirers of the boy, no one ever imagines that Abdus Salam would have the honour of becoming ...

Read Full Post

MQM jumps ship!

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) decision to resign from the Federal Cabinet has once again given rise to speculations about midterm elections and the possibility of an in-house change. Even though the decision’s timing took me by surprise, it was by no means shocking. Altaf Hussain’s address in Bhit Shah had already hinted towards the party’s intentions and anyone who heard Zulfiqar Mirza’s blatant accusations regarding MQM could have guessed that the statement would not be easily swept under the carpet. The ever smiling president and the overly conscious Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders from the federal capital may have reassured ...

Read Full Post

Balochistan government, sleeping through its term

As a journalist I usually visit the Provincial Secretariat and have hardly ever found any minister present in his office, even though the current Balochistan government retains the biggest cabinet in the province’s history. Barring three, all the other MPAs on the treasury benches have portfolios, residential accommodations, phone and a fleet of cars though officially permitted to retain one. Looking at the Balochistan ministers’ life styles, it seems as though Pakistan faces no economic crisis at all. The only opposition member, Yar Mohammad Rind has never attended an Assembly session except for the day he was administered the oath. On the other ...

Read Full Post

Intellectual poverty: Troubles of the Muslim world

It sometimes seems like a lost cause – our backwardness as a nation, our never ending cynicism and our victimisation at the hands of the West. What is it that fans all the violence in our societies? Perhaps we never bother to think about that. The only instincts that are left in us are animal. And it’s not only us. It is also the Arabs, the Central Asians, the Persians and others who are scattered across the face of the earth – all, victims of stereotypes and suffering from a chronic identity crisis. It is us, the Muslims, the peoples of ...

Read Full Post

Violence against women: Where is justice when we need it?

The issue of violence against women in our country is, unfortunately, one that has existed for far too long. Many women still await justice against the brutalities that have made their lives miserable. Anwari Bibi, a resident of Ghotki and a mother of four children, was one of them. She was gang raped by her brother-in-law and his companions while pregnant. After her husband took custody of her children and divorced her, she came to Islamabad to knock at the doors of the self-proclaimed representatives of justice. She returned home not too long after, empty handed. Being a reporter, and more ...

Read Full Post

Hijab, Santa and the Christmas spirit

Earlier this month my class mates and I were given an assignment on interfaith awareness between Muslims and Christians. Over the past decade the two communities have not had very warm relations especially since after 9/11. My friends and I felt nervous about this task as we had never interacted with a member of the Christian faith before. We were oblivious to what their traditions were and how they would react to us. I was particularly panicky because I wear a veil and hijaab. Will they even talk to me, I wondered. Our project required that we take photographs of ...

Read Full Post

Islamabad Dateline: New paper on the block

The already saturated print market is to see the launch of yet another newspaper. The editor of upcoming paper, Islamabad Dateline tells me that the paper will begin distribution early next year (they have already begun dummy runs). But, I am curious to see if a city paper will be able to compete with existing national dailies. As a new entrant into the media industry, who is perhaps not old enough to resist innovation, I think Islamabad Dateline has two points in its favour: sixteen pages of localised content and the fact that it will be published six days a ...

Read Full Post

A-levels: Atom bombs, measurements and etymology

One of my best friends is half Sindhi and half Pathan, which means that she can kick, scream and yell in four different languages. How I wished I had her linguistic virtuosity at 9am one morning this week when I turned over my Physics paper to start the exam only to be lost for words. I had no one to blame but myself. This was the subject that involves flipping paper cones off the back of a ruler and going cross-eyed trying to determine the terminal velocity they achieve. In A’ Level Physics, tennis balls feel the need to fall ...

Read Full Post

Kinnaird: Teaching more than how to be a wife

Kinnaird College for Women is a prestigious educational institute that has been producing women of strength and confidence for years. From Bano Qudsia, Bapsi Sidhwa, Asma Jahangir, Kashmala Tariq to Faryal Gohar, Sawera Nadeem and Hadiqa Kiyani, Kinnaird has produced leading women in all fields of life. It has a history of dedication and struggle in making it what it is today; the dream of every young girl. I am lucky enough that my dream has become a reality: today, I am a KCite. Everyday, I embrace the pride of being a part of Kinnaird because it is an institution that ...

Read Full Post

TV ads: Is all the dancing really selling?

Products in Pakistan have not always been sold by armies of men and women dancing to uncoordinated perfection. However, recently advertising ‘charts’ have been hit by four choreographed entries: Tarang, Sooper, Warid and Chaika, which are running on all major TV channels night and day. Does dancing sell? Does this mean that singing and dance routines are what grip the Pakistani people and make them go buy brands? Or, does this simply mean that this is an idea that can be easily sold to clients by agencies? Agencies have developed a stereotypical solution for all marketing communication needs and forgotten the essence of ...

Read Full Post