Stories published in January, 2011

Should Taseer’s death be in vain?

I would be lying if I said I’m shocked by Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination. Ever since he announced support for Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death over blasphemy allegations, religious zealots had been calling for his head, on the streets, on Facebook groups and in fiery Friday sermons. Of course, no one took that seriously. His own political party deserted him when Prime Minister Gilani, shamelessly playing to the religious right to save the coalition government and his seat, vehemently claimed he would never even think of amending the blasphemy laws. One would expect the prime minister ...

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Chelsea and Liverpool: Will the winter of discontent continue?

For more than just a few teams in top flight football across Europe this winter has been one to forget. Previous performances by clubs that were full of confidence and potential seem to have been completely disregarded as bookies across the world collectively scratch their heads with respect to the question of who will win the Premiership this year. There are however a few very realistic assumptions that one can make about the fall from grace for Chelsea and Liverpool thus far. Chelsea As an AC Milan man myself, I can attest to the quality of Ancelloti’s coaching. He is most ...

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The noble intentions of Salmaan Taseer

When people pass on, you are suddenly bombarded with memories. Both significant and insignificant, random phrases from different conversations and events flood in. With Salmaan Taseer, the only thing that flashes to my mind is his gallant, challenging smile.The smile that conveyed what his personality was all about – the lack of fear, the conviction in his own opinions, the zeal to do and say what he believed was correct and above all the refusal to back down under threats or pressure. The governor was one of the very few educated politicians who led and lived by his own set of rules. ...

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Salmaan Taseer: The death of a governor

In life, Salmaan Taseer was never afraid of controversy and was never one to remain silent even when his stance on issues like militancy and the blasphemy law brought the venom of the right wing pouring on to him. Known as much for his ubiquitous dark glasses as his continuous sparring with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he was a man you could love or hate, but never ignore. In a time when obscurantists and terrorists have tried to silence our voices and strike off the heads of those who dared oppose them, Taseer spoke without fear, condemning the blasphemy law ...

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Burqa, bombs and intolerance

A look through the timeline of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks indicate that a majority of attacks in Pakistan are carried out by young men – some wearing vests, others using cars laden with explosives. I believe this spells out a legitimate case to ban young men, vests and cars from public places. After all, in a country like ours which is always on high alert for terrorist attacks, we can’t allow such security risks to roam about freely, can we? If you find my logic ludicrous, you might want to take a look at the recent debate on banning ...

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Dr Binayak Sen: A prisoner of conscience

If having sympathies for a cause which I believe in is anti-national then I think I am anti-national. If thinking disagreeing with the the state is criminal then I am criminal. If trying to understand a cause, that affects the poor and deprived section of the society is sedition then I fear someday I might be meeting Binayakan Sen’s fate. Ever since Dr Binayak Sen has been convicted for sedition by a Lower Court in Raipur, the civil society and the right thinking citizens of India are living in fear of prosecution by the state which does not want to breed ...

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10 reasons why cable TV makes me grouchy

I love going to the movies and the whole cinematic experience. I love DVDs because one can skip disturbing bits, pause to answer the phone, and there are no commercials. The Internet is also great company where hard-to-find videos and brand new TV shows can be streamed. I would have loved television, too, if we had TiVo. Regular television lets you down when one’s favourite channels abruptly go off air, only to be replaced with inferior ones (America Plus, E! and MNet, I miss you most of all). On one occasion, I emailed BBC Drama requesting the schedule for a favourite ...

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Politics now: Time to end the game

For the last couple of days I have been watching the news and repeatedly slamming my head in to the wall. It’s not that I enjoy slamming my head into a wall, but it’s just that when I see how our politicians are behaving, it makes me go nuts. First, it was the epic name calling in front of the National Assembly. It was entertaining and very disturbing at the same time. Kind of like when the president talks about democracy, justice and Benazir Bhutto at the same time. But a lot has happened since then. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement walked away from ...

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A journey into the past

One of my friends recently shared with me his experience of traveling on the local Bahawalnagar Express train – an account which I found to be quite interesting, but unfortunate at the same time. Interesting in the sense that taking the state of Pakistan railways into account, it seems like we are living in the 18th century and unfortunate because a tremendous opportunity to garner a considerable amount of profit is wasted by the negligence of the railway authorities. Bahawalnagar Express starts from Samma Satta Junction (near Bahawalpur) and travels to Amrooka, via main cities of Hasilpur, Chistian, Bahawalnagar, Minchanabad ...

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Australia’s top-order rattled again on rain-shortened day

Opinions and reports that the Ashes series of 2010/11 is an encounter that is heavily lopsided in favor of the visiting English team are certainly justified. But, be that as it may, the series has at least retained one of its key traits in its latest edition. From the first draw, to England’s mauling of hosts in the second test, to Australia returning the favor in the third and then to England’s crushing/ashes-retaining victory in the last test at Melbourne, the series has had more than its fair share of twists and turns. For England, the final test at the ...

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