Stories published in January, 2011

Fashion police: 68th Golden Globes Awards 2011

The Golden Globes are unique in that they represent both worlds of television and motion pictures in a relatively intimate affair with round table dining and champagne, leading to some movie and TV stars exhibiting, shall we say, more entertaining behaviour than at other black tie events. Here, pre-Oscar accolades are awarded to outstanding film categories, and post-Emmy recognition is given to the finest in television.  The Globes are also about fashion on the scale of fairytales—dramatic couture, dazzling diamonds, gowns with trains, upswept hair, exquisite shoes, beautiful clutches, all worn by some of the western world’s most captivating actors. When ...

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How to generate business excellence

I’d like to shed some light on a topic much debated in companies that have survived more than five years and would like to get out of the break-even trap. They wish to bring their capabilities at par with the corporations they once aspired to be, and the key is operational excellence. This is achieved by building operational capabilities, which in turn come about by undertaking structured programs for epic-systematic high performance. To develop a rewarding development program, four factors are crucial to a corporation’s goals: Aim to create value by developing a marketing road map that grants a systematic process for ...

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Biased media: We are all to blame

People tend to believe everything they see on TV. In Pakistan, this means that they only believe one side of the story. News channels in Pakistan often resort to selective censorship, preventing opposing views to be heard. Right vs left Over the past month a majority of the media has behaved recklessly and has given up on presenting both sides of the story. By and large most news groups in Pakistan push a right-wing agenda while a small sub-section promotes the liberal agenda.  Just as right-wing channels refuse to present the other side of the story, liberal media will not showcase the right ...

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Manchester United’s ‘little pea’

Manchester United’s scouts who found Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez certainly deserve full praise for landing the Mexican. They truly have unearthed a gem. When news of the Hernandez deal was first announced, it was so clandestine that only his father and the United board (mainly David Gill) and the boss knew what was happening while his agent was kept in the dark. It was therefore no surprise that everyone’s initial reaction was ‘Hernandez who’? Quite clearly, that is unthinkable now considering the massive impact he has already made in his so-far short Old Trafford career. Hernandez soaring high It’s remarkable how far he ...

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Zardari-Obama meeting: 30 minutes in vain?

US President Barack Obama spared only 30 minutes for a meeting with our president this Friday. And even after those 30 minutes, the same drone (no pun intended) of mutual cooperation and cordial relations was discussed. The White House statement summarised the meeting by saying: “The discussion focused on our shared efforts to fight terrorism and promote regional stability, specifically on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan.” The only new development seemed to be Obama’s statement saying that he “is looking forward to visiting Pakistan later this year.” That is what our government seemed to be jubilant ...

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Fighting for the white stripe

On August 11, 1947, the country’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan unveiled the new Pakistani flag – an all-green Muslim League flag with a slight alteration. It included a white stripe that the then prime minister in his address went on to say provided minorities with rights that the Congress party in India was unwilling to give. Standing on the empty front lawn of the Governor House for the first time since the governor’s assassination, I was reminded of Governor Salmaan Taseer’s Christmas day address only a month earlier. The governor, who was dressed in his typical dark sports coat ...

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Don’t let Riko Diq go to the dogs

The Riko Diq deal has created a lot of hue and cry. Thanks to some conscientious petitioners, the matter has come to into the limelight with the judiciary actively investigating the viability of the deal. Dr Samar Mubarakmand’s opinion over the issue has exposed what can be arguably regarded as one of the largest corruption scandals in the history of this nation. The Tethyan Copper Company (TTC), a conglomerate of companies, which claims to be undertaking the project in goodwill and bringing employment opportunities here, is currently the most probable candidate for getting the project. It had been sanctioned by both ...

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Islamabad Etcetera: The navab’s guard of desi farangis

This little preamble shall serve as a disclaimer, for in one’s present attempt, one is by no means being actively obnoxious or wilfully indelicate about one’s chosen subject today, fellow compatriots. Taking swipes at one’s countrymen is nearly always construed as bad taste. Some creeping abasement, some personal impulsion staining one’s argument, denying its objectivity. But regardless of this oft-resorted to response, one will press on. Pakistanis in the employ of foreigners are a special breed.  Like a Gunga Din, an Uncle Tom, these trusted servants, like their literary or historic forebears, are a buffer to their employers, factotums who ...

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No dowry, no bride, no wedding

My 21-year-old maid Noor Jahan recently told me about her unwillingness to get married so as to avoid putting her parents through any kind of pressure. The ‘pressure’ she spoke of was the high demand for dowry by her would-be in-laws. Culturally, we are accustomed to hearing about the 10 tolas of gold given to the groom’s family along with a bungalow, car, washing machine, furniture, bed sheets, shower curtains, needles, and so on, to feed the desire of greedy in-laws. Sure, when one can afford it, parents give their daughters these ‘presents’ generously. However, Noor Jahan comes from the working ...

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I have not sold my soul to America

Many Pakistani Americans were impacted adversely when the twin towers of the World Trade Centre collapsed, on September 11, 2001. Many decided to head back home as they felt their American dream had turned into an American nightmare. There were even ill-founded fears that they would be dispatched to concentration camps. The reality turned out to be the contrary. Many who left for safe harbours in Pakistan or the Middle East ended up returning empty-handed to good old America. The horror they supposedly ran from in the US followed them in those countries. There was a common theme that each ...

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