Stories published in December, 2010

Abbottabad police, I blame you!

Being a resident of Abbottabad and having been a witness to all the processions of the Hazara Movement, it’s a welcome thought to know that the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights has rejected the inquiry report submitted by a judicial commission on the police violence that took place in the city on April 12, 2010. From what I know, the Hazara Movement actually functioned on the stance of non-violence. I was attending college on the day that all the protesters were rallying against the renaming of Khyber Pakhtunwa, and I’m not sure what led to the police firing ...

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Wedding bling: For the love of money

It’s that time of the year again. Fathers lament the drain of their pockets, mothers get teary-eyed at every glimpse of their daughters, designers smirk behind their overpriced outfits, tailors get threatening calls from customers, salons get overcrowded, caterers lie their way through fancy menus and it’s probably the only time of the year when choreographers and the “band baaja walas” earn a decent livelihood. It’s the wedding season, where we focus on every little detail but the real wedding itself. From designer clothes to custom-made jewellery, weddings these days are known for more than just a simple event celebrating ...

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US airports: (Not) a humiliating experience

Earlier this year, Javed Chaudhry wrote a column titled “A humiliating experience” for The Express Tribune. He details a bad experience at the hands of immigration officials upon arrival at a US airport. Unlike Chaudhry, my recent experiences of applying for visas and then traveling to North America as a Pakistani on a Pakistani passport was extremely pleasant. I applied for a visit visa to the US from the UAE. At the interview, the officer looked intimidating. However, his tone of questioning was very humble. The officer kept addressing my wife and I using the terms “ma’am” or “sir” respectively. The questions ...

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CIA names: US media’s self-censorship

The media in Pakistan, including the much-vaunted English press, is often accused of indulging in self-censorship. Given that we live in a country plagued by endemic violence and threats to journalists, this may well be true to some extent. However, one thing that caught my attention today was how various newspapers had covered the ousting of America’s CIA station chief in Islamabad and the fact that he had to leave the country because his cover had been blown. The story began with the filing of a complaint with police in Islamabad by a man called Karim Khan who alleged that ...

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X2-00: Nokia gets the price right

Choosing a new cell phone is a hard decision. The market seems to be flooded with all kinds of phones that claim to suit your needs. The perfect handset all depends on what you use your phone for. There are users who only want to make and receive calls. Then there are smart phone users whose set can perform every possible task in the world. Or maybe you are looking for a decent medium-range phone which fulfills your needs and doesn’t leave your pocket empty. If you happen to fall in the this category, then Nokia X2-00 may be your answer. For quite ...

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FIFA Club World Cup takes a leap of significance

For years, the FIFA Club world cup has proven to be a largely ceremonial trophy in minds of many. The competition is a culmination of all of the Champions League winners from each continent in a one off knock out format to crown the year’s greatest football club. The tournament tends to typically be a tooth extracting exercise for the champions of South America and Europe dismissing opponents from Asia, Africa and Central America en-route to a Europe vs. South America final – which more often than not results in heart break for the South American side that ventured over ...

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Zulfikar Mirza and PPP’s list of woes

That the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is facing a tough time is an understatement. The PPP was barely getting any support for its Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) bill when one of its own members, the current Sindh Interior Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, went on a public tirade making matters much worse. Mirza was invited to speak at an event organized by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Instead of enlightening the business community about perhaps any progressive steps on behalf of the provincial government toward economic stability, Mirza chose to spend 95 per cent of this time attacking ...

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The secret of Western domination

When the United States attacked Iraq in 2003, the three main reasons given were the possession of weapons of mass destruction, the absence of democracy and the harbouring of terrorist groups and elements. The only country fulfilling in fact these three criteria at that time was Pakistan, which at the time was being ruled by an army general, possessed a huge stockpile of nuclear arms and was not only harbouring terrorists but allegedly sending them out as well to destabilise other democratic regimes. As if all this was not enough,  some in Pakistan started smuggling secrets of nuclear technology illegally to ...

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Talking about Sufism: Faiz vs Askari

The national politics have brought us to a point where everybody is engaged in a religious debate. While my contemporaries brave the treacherous ocean’s currents, I, for one, have to plead ignorance of the finer points of the Quran and Hadith studies. Akbar’s verse – I never entered a debate about religion, for I always lacked the extra intelligence it required – has served me well in the perilous times we live in. So it’s not as if I am preparing to enter the debate now; just wondering about the blessed moment when Faiz Ahmed Faiz did. A word first ...

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Why do you wake up in the morning?

In the 70s, there lived in a make shift two bedroom apartment in Mumbai, a lower-middle class family who did small-time trading with Arab merchants for a living. Today, that family owns not one, but two of the biggest private sector conglomerates in the world. Today, two brothers from that family control the biggest fortunes in the world. The elder of the Ambanis, a fiercely competitive Indian called Mukesh, is worth an astonishing $29 billion. Here’s my question: why does the 53-year-old magnate still go to work? According to the regional averages, he has about 10 years to live. Even if he stopped ...

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