Stories published in February, 2011

KLF 2011: The good, bad and ugly

I roped in some friends from my English Literature class to tag along with me to the Karachi Literature Festival at the Carlton Hotel this weekend, and we witnessed some enlightening talks and poor event management.  We managed to catch the last bits of a talk on literature and extremism and therein began the bad. Noisy journos and social butterflies The talk was less of a discussion and more a press/socialite event with people standing around chatting to each other and cameramen rudely pushing their way around. Can someone please explain to me why journalists who were meant to cover the event ...

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Leaving home: Clouded judgement, or a blessing in disguise?

A friend wrote a blog recently about his accidental encounter with journalism where he mentioned he had moved out of his house because he had developed some differences with his mother. The only thing most readers took away from that entire piece was what could have possibly gone so wrong that the ‘poor guy had to turn away from his family’. Drama – it’s what we crave. Without it, life just seems so bland. Several comments on his post said the same thing, “Try making up with your family,” and so on. No one focused on the fact that the move had ...

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Surviving flight 304 with cake-boy

Karachi-wallay like to stereotype. We spin whole life stories around accessories and behaviour. Pants above ankle length? Member of an Islamist party. Pink iPhone case with matching nails? Definitely out of town, maybe a Lahori. So it was only fitting that when I boarded the PK304 to Lahore I was assigned the seat right out of a bad airplane movie: the one directly behind the bathroom, next to the mother with the howling baby. By that I don’t mean I’m going to start bashing PIA. Personally I like PIA, I like the spicy food and I think the schedule runs ...

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The untapped power potential of AJK

On a recent visit to my hometown Chakothi in Azad Kashmir, I felt disconnected from the rest of the world due to the perpetual darkness I endured for two days. Azad Kashmir is said to have an enormous potential for producing hydropower – up to 17,000 megawatts. The state continues to witness many rulers making tall claims about developing it up to the standards of Dubai or Paris – something that does not seem like a hard task given AJK’s relatively small size in terms of population (3.2 million). Azad Kashmir consumes around 300 to 400 megawatts of power only, making ...

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Long live Lollywood!

Lollywood originates from my hometown of Lahore. My childhood consists of vivid memories of Royal Park – unique as a glittering place – mesmerising me each time and offering escape from reality. However, the place has changed over the years and so has Lollywood. Who is to blame for the decay of Lollywood? The answer, simply, is filmmakers. Many have said that Lollywood needs a lethal injection to die once and for all as it couldn’t revive despite bans on foreign films, tax waivers, special grants and receiving the status of an industry. However, there’s always a flip side to the story. ...

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Ahmed Shahzad: Rising in the ranks

Ahead of the cricket World Cup this month, the timely arrival of Ahmad Shahzad into the Pakistan cricket team has made me very hopeful . The teenager’s century inspired Pakistan to a 41-run win over New Zealand and wrapped up the six-match series with a game to spare. The Lahore-born opener who attended Cathedral High School began his cricketing journey at the age of seven and has never looked back, representing Pakistan at the under-13, under-16 and under-19 level. He is a true example of someone who has risen in the ranks based solely on merit, and is fast becoming the solution to ...

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An Indian view on Kashmir: Do we deserve this valley?

A visit to Kashmir will remind you of Kabul: a war torn region where the penetrating eyes of hostile security forces watch your every movement. Over the past half century much has changed in India and Pakistan but not the persistent conflict over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiris have continued to gradually lose trust in the Indian government’s ability to give them a fair deal. This raises the question of how successful Indian democracy has been in dealing with the wishes of a people who want to be maintain a unique identity. In the valley political protest is seen as ...

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Classroom corruption: Time for teachers to learn a lesson

A nine-year-old girl’s face flashes in my mind. The girl was beaten black and blue by her teacher who had accused her of stealing Rs500. Some would say the girl is ‘lucky’ as she did not sustain grievous injuries unlike many other victims. But no child who face a teacher’s abuse is lucky enough to escape mental anguish it causes. Students have been known to be punished so badly that they lose their eyesight for crimes as minor as not learning their lessons or misbehaving. Teachers: are you reading this? Things might be different in elitist schools for the privileged, where only qualified teachers ...

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Generation ‘Yes, we can’: What are they doing not wasting time?

Will someone tell these twenty-something Pakistani men and women to go out and play cricket or go party with friends or something? What are they doing, writing books, learning classical singing and–you won’t believe this – fixing simulators on Naval submarines! The new crop of young professionals and fresh graduates is all about pushing their limits. They take action, here and now. Here’s how they do it: Starting early This “yes, we can” generation starts shooting for the stars earlier and earlier, barely out of their teens, they put on their thinking caps and put their genius to work. Khadijah Khan started to ...

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Trio troubles and wasted talent

On August 26 and 27, during Pakistan’s Fourth Test at Lord’s Cricket Ground against England last year, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif allegedly agreed to bowl deliberate no-balls. Britain’s News of the World broke the news, sending shock waves throughout the world of cricket, claiming that then Test captain Salman Butt, together with 18-year-old Amir and Asif were involved in a spot-fixing scandal in association with their agent Mazhar Majeed. The Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has charged the trio with corruption offences. The CPS said in a statement that the suspended trio has been “charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments ...

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