Stories published in January, 2011

What Muslims in the West can learn from Jews

“Muslims in America have to start taking the route of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and they need the help of the latter to make it happen.” This suggestion comes from acclaimed American Muslim author, academic and Harvard Divinity School graduate Reza Aslan. He was speaking at Columbia University. Last November, two of Columbia’s largest student organisations, Hillel and the Muslim Students Association, came together to jointly host the event “Re-evaluating Park 51: Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism”. The event was held in recognition of the negative and oft-times bordering malicious (read Fox News) coverage of the Muslim YMCA-like community center ‘Park-51’, a few blocks ...

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A solution to Lahore’s traffic woes

Lahore’s traffic snarls routinely draw the ire of motorists who endure occasional dents from donkey-drawn carts and zig-zagging motorcyclists. Their presence on Ferozepur Road is likened by some to flies in a bedroom – unwanted pests who just refuse to go away. During rush hour many of us allow a strain of irrational thinking to take over. What’s more unfortunate is that people who can make a difference are the ones complaining about it. I for one believe this thoughtless yet contemptuous attitude could be transformed to one’s own advantage if we just sit back, relax and anticipate the situation to ...

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Dhobi Ghat: Better than Bollywood, a film about truth

Kiran Rao’s debut venture, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), is well written and artistically executed. For fans of regular Bollywood masala movies the movie has little to offer. The movie has no songs at all, and does not have a very captivating background score. But if you are interested in alternative cinema you will find the film spellbinding. A few years ago, when Slumdog Millionaire, became a runaway hit, a lot of people around the world got a glimpse of the harsh, dog-eat-dog world Mumbai that is. Dhobi Ghat also provides a glimpse in to the underbelly of the city, but instead of dwelling ...

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Is hacking always immoral?

Recently, two teenagers were tried for hacking the Pakistan Supreme Court’s website. Geo News reported that the hackers demanded the immediate release of detained Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui. This raises the question: is hacking morally wrong? Hacking then The old-school concept of hacking was taking something and making it do something it was not intended for. A perfect example of this is how a group of hackers managed to unlock Apple’s iPhone which, even after four years of its launch in the US, is still not officially meant to work outside a handful of countries, but hackers have bypassed this official clause. To ...

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Dots & Dashes: All hands on deck

This winter too shall pass and spring come, manifest in its verdure and blossom, but without the cheer for the human heart. Poverty’s ugly grin spreads wider every day on the nation’s face and does not sit well with the warm smile the season of renewal brings. In another month and a half when the yellow jasmine start blooming in Islamabad and herald the onset of spring, prices of essentials would have gone up another 10 to 15 per cent and gas and electricity supplies further depleted forcing the closures of small industrial units, expanding the area of national enclosure ...

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Confessions of a fundamentalist: We’re going to get you

I have a confession to make: I am what some of you might call a fundo : a fundo strategist to be precise. I was recruited in secret by a group of people calling themselves the “Tehreek-i-Nifaaz-i-Duniya-i-Jahaane-Musalmaniya-Pakistan.” It is  a top secret group made of representatives from different religious parties, banned outfits, sympathisers and financiers. Our group composition Our group operates like a small company. We have an an established mission (evident from our name) and a chain of command: nigraan-e-nizameen (board of directors) markaz-e-tazobarkar (core strategy group) majmuah-e-teelibaaz (general workers) I am the naib chaalbaaz (deputy strategist) and report to the emir chaalbaaz (chief ...

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Money 101: The lowdown on monthly installments

You know you have money managing issues when you resort to borrowing Rs500 from your maid at the end of the month. Living the urban upwardly-mobile middle class lifestyle is a dream for many and the source of income for businesses ranging from fast food to electronic dealers.  And what I am going to harp on about today are the dreaded monthly installments. Picture this: Ayaz and Aziza are a newly married couple living in one of Karachi’s many high rise apartment buildings. Both are working in the corporate sector and together bring in about Rs150,000 (which is possibly the ...

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Yusuf Pathan: A man to fear

A brutal innings by Yusuf Pathan didn’t manage to score a win against South Africa in yesterday’s match, but it did signal intent from a side aspiring to make it big once again in limited overs cricket. Obviously, Pathan is a man to be reckoned with in his current form. Ball meets boundary Anything in his hitting zone clears the boundary, and South Africa learned that the hard way during the third ODI where his blitz won the match for India, who were again on the back foot in the final ODI when at 119 for 8, Pathan decided to make a ...

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Veena: Warrior princess

Veena Malik is my new hero. Really, she is. And not because she looked absolutely stunning (someone had to mention it!) on Kamran Shahid’s train-wreck of a show the other day. My newfound respect is not just due to the fact that I have become a fan of her self-confidence and cool, laid-back personality over the last couple of months, but because she is the only person in Pakistan’s ultra-holy green-tinted limelight right now who isn’t afraid to say it like it is. She’s bold, honest and pretty straightforward, which is something I can’t say for many Pakistanis out there. Sad, ...

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Adding guards to your entourage won’t end terrorism

News that President Zardari may be getting foreign guards for his private security sent my cranial wheels turning. Despite Farhatullah Babar’s vehement denial of the report, I will not be surprised if there is a germ of truth in this statement, given security concerns after the late Punjab governor’s assassination. Government officials often come under heavy criticism for the excessive use of security personnel – is Zardari hoping to top that list? As a citizen witnessing the gravity of the security situation in my country, I can understand why officials need to be protected. As citizens, we want our government ...

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