Stories published in February, 2011

Education at square one

Sixty-three years worth of disparities. I find it an illogical argument that for the majority of this country an important life-changing issue such as education will remain secondary to clothing, housing and nutrition. Why must the underprivileged be responsible for changing their own fortunes? How come there is Shining India, with the youth from middle class Calcutta, Hyderabad, and even the smaller suburbs of Delhi and Bombay, doing well in sectors such as IT, both at home and abroad? How come the youth in these countries and cities have more opportunities than us? I pin that down to the fact ...

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So what if Imran Khan picked India?

I respectfully disagree with Muhammad Khanani’s post “Where is Imran Khan’s patriotism?” in which he criticises former cricketer Imran Khan’s for predicting that the Indian team will gain World Cup victory and stating that Indian cricketer Dhoni was the “best player”. Khan picked India because they seem to be in good form to win the World Cup. Undoubtedly, as Pakistanis we all want our team to win. However, saying that South Africa, Australia or any other country may win based on the team’s recent performances is not wrong. This is not a show of Khan’s indifference towards Pakistan. During the World ...

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Smart weddings: From showy to intimate

Military top brass, bureaucrats, businessmen and the Pakistani elite have struck the path to throwing ‘Smart’ weddings for their offspring. They can afford the once trendy lavish dos, yet are opting for ‘Smart’ weddings – Stylishly short, Manageable, Authentic and Really Tasteful Outcome: they save their own and the guests’ time by having fewer functions, they redirect resources to the happy couple to start their new lives together and infuse the entire wedding with an intimacy and genuineness. Smart weddings are also managing to do what legislation (one-dish rule) or government/ NGO propaganda (Jahaiz aik lanat/trousseau is a curse) never could. These events are making others question the standard ...

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Legitimising extremism: The state’s deafening silence

Despite fighting a long war against militancy the state seems to have displayed recent apathy towards the spread of extremism over the past year. Its inability and unwillingness to challenge jihadi groups has legitimised the cleric and his judgments. Sadly for minorities, this has turned into an increased threat as many feel that their connection to the country is rapidly deteriorating. Last month, the Federal Shariat Court issued a ruling that declared several sections of the Women’s Protection Act 2006 against Sharia law. The ruling effectively stated that “no legislative instrument can control, regulate or amend FSC’s relating to the Hudood ...

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Why democracy fails in Pakistan

Our prime minister stands on the remains of a crumbled democracy. He has approved the expansion of parliamentary lodges so the government can emulate the grandeur of the Capitol Hill. Perhaps the government thinks this measure will help alleviate the most serious security crisis that the country has faced. They may be right as once the luxury lodges are built, parliamentarians may actually begin to attend assembly sessions! So far, the current establishment has failed to save the day. Pakistan is now graced with the 10th ranking on the Failed States Index. Wide spread terrorism, a slacking judiciary, embezzlement of state ...

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Water: Going retro

Remember behishti, the water carrier? I had believed the man from paradise had reverted to the paradise along with his water skin. When I saw the thirsty pursuing one in a TV programme, therefore, I was quite incredulous. Lord, can this be real! But yes, there it was; in fact, there were several of them. So the water carrier is back – the Karachiites’ prayers have been answered. That was what the programme was about: unable to ensure dependable water supply by any other means the people of Karachi have been forced to recall the water carriers. As for the water ...

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Basant is banned for the right reasons

I have vivid memories of Basant.  Everyone would be caught up in the spirit and festivities of the season. Maybe it’s because all one really needed to celebrate was a long string and a kite. And if you still couldn’t afford that, you could snatch one that’s drifting awayin the sky. But alas, the festival which once attracted tourists from far and wide to Lahore is now a thing of the past. Anger at the government’s ban The Punjab government’s decision to ban Basant sparked a hot debate on Twitter. Pro-Basant activists believe the onus is on the government to provide ...

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The ruthless world of yummy cupcakes

Along with the added convenience of keeping in touch and stalking your friends, Facebook has allowed individuals to launch home-based businesses. Online groups for personalised greeting cards, flowers, baked treats and apparel are popping up all over the social networking website. The most successful of these ventures is the baking business; who wouldn’t click on a picture of a delicious cupcake? Many of these businesses have emerged, and why not? It’s free to start a fan page and cheap to advertise. Cut-throat baking gurus Do not be fooled by the cute baby bottles and delicate flower decorations. The baking business is ruthless. ...

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Of Urdu marsia

Most of the new books I have received in the Muharram context are either collections of marsia elegies or discuss the modern Urdu marsia as a genre. Sadly, few if any books have been published in decades about the Karbala tragedy that represent historical research. I remember a book by some Egyptian scholar Maktaba-i-Jadeed had printed and which became very popular as an objective account of the tragedy. The publisher used to print a fresh edition almost every year. Ever since Maktaba-i-Jadeed closed down the book has disappeared from the market. This aside is not meant to deny the significance of ...

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Where is Imran Khan’s patriotism?

In 1992 Imran Khan became the first Pakistani cricketer to lift the World Cup trophy, upsetting all odds and leaving the world shell-shocked.  Khan remains the only Pakistani captain to have led his team to a world cup win. With the World Cup just a few days away, our players are looking to their national heroes for motivation but unfortunately, they were let down by Khan. After recently calling M S Dhoni the “best player in the world”, Imran has now tipped India for World Cup glory, dismissing his own country’s chances in favour of their archrivals. Where did all of the ‘jazba‘ ...

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