Stories published in February, 2011

PPP’s agenda: Toeing the party line

Quick – how many people have been thrown out of government this month for refusing to toe the party line? It’s getting to a point where it’s hard to keep track. If you stop considering those individuals who have been sidelined because their views are too controversial, the number of disgruntled Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members is even higher. We’ve heard it over and over again – political parties need to have an agenda, and party workers need to stick to their group’s principles. This is not only done to legislate effectively, but is also an important way for a political ...

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Noori: Don’t make digs at pop culture

I recently chanced upon a local morning show where Ali Hamza and Ali Noor of the infamous band Noori were the guests. As the simpering hostess struggled under the weight of roughly two kilogrammes of cosmetics and artificial hair, her more composed male co-host raised a topic of actual interest. There have been few mentions of south-eastern pop culture without Munni Badnaam coming up, as it did on this instance. The brothers vehemently declared their dislike for such mainstream, sales-oriented musical productions – contrary to the opinion shared by a majority of heterosexual males. Looking like he had just discovered a piece ...

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Watch out Kenya! We might let you win

We might be looking at the first upset of the World Cup on Tuesday. This is the day that African minnows, Kenya take on former cricket world and T20 champions Pakistan. And no, it won’t be an upset because Kenya is an amazing talent and has the potential to beat any team on their day. I mean, that may or may not be true, but the real reason that an upset is a possibility is because they are playing Pakistan. This is a team that can beat the best in the world, on their day, and lose to the worst ...

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Who can I blame for my father’s death?

It has nearly been one year since my father passed away in the emergency room of a local hospital. He was a heart patient but he managed his health well. The night before his demise, he restless and complained of a slight pain in his chest. He felt better in the morning, but by the afternoon his condition had deteriorated. My sisters rushed him to a well known hospital in Defence Phase I, Karachi which boasts its expertise in health care, the nearest hospital at the time. When I reached the hospital’s emergency room. There were no nurses or doctors around. There was one ...

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The Deathly Hallows: Harry Potter comes of age

The Harry Potter series has come a long way since the first book. The film adaptations have managed to stay true to J K Rowling’s books and the latest film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the  seventh in the series – tells the darker side of the that story audiences world over have come to love. The film takes us into the mind of Lord Voldemort, the darkest wizard of all time whom Harry must defeat by the end of his quest. Unlike previous films, there is no attempt to tone down the dark cruelty of the Death ...

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Why the deafening silence after rape?

Many people believe that rape is a sexual act. Although rape involves sexual acts, it is motivated by the desire for power and control over another person rather than by sexual attraction or the desire for sexual gratification. In other words, rape is a crime of violence. A rapist uses actual force or violence — or the threat of it — to take control over another human being. Some rapists use drugs to take away a person’s ability to fight back. Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance, or a family member. “I ...

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An open letter to Shahid Afridi

Dear Skipper, We have witnessed you brutally thrash bowlers out of the park; we have seen you dismiss the best in business with your shooters, flippers and googlies and take the most difficult catches on the cricket field. You have been our darling for more than 14 years. Every time you whack the cricket ball into the open skies, we hold our breaths. You gave us reason to dance on the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta with your performance in the Twenty20 Cup, 2009. And you made us proud as you went on to score the fastest one day ...

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Will Bahrain’s sectarian divide impact Pakistan?

Mubarak’s exit was the start of the revolution, not the end. Egyptian protestors gathered after Friday prayers last week, to remind the military that it is them (the people) who had brought down the Mubarak regime. Even though they may have vacated Tahrir Square, the message was that they would not settle for anything less than their original demands. Commentators have attempted to establish whether similar conditions exist in Pakistan for a revolution, drawing parallels and identifying differences. But if comparisons must be drawn then the the ongoing protests in Bahrain are perhaps of greater relevance for Pakistan than events in Egypt. What Bahrain learned from Egypt The ...

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Why pay for online information?

Shortly after the internet revolution, newspapers and magazines were publishing their articles and news online for readers and it was not long before it was necessary for them to have online editions. Publications started competing for more website visitors resulting in the emergence of the e-paper which put a scanned version of the publication online for free viewing. It did not take long for people to become dependent on these free e-papers and many readers cancelled their subscriptions of the print edition. As revenues fell, publishers were left scratching their heads. Had they made a mistake by going online? However, they could not ...

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Singing through patriarchy with a bit of desi jazz

So, three years too late I have discovered Zeb and Haniya. I discovered them thanks to a friend’s enthusiasm for ‘waii waii’, a term used in their Coke Studio rendition of Paimona Bitte. The ‘waii waii’ women have brought a ‘girls just wanna have fun’ element into Pakistani music. While Paimona was the song that got me hooked, it is their song Chup (Hush) that makes me smile whenever I listen to it. It was different. Pakistani and Indian love songs are usually all about the sacrificing, shy, scared and most importantly, submissive female. Sure, there was Nazia Hassan’s Aap jaisa koi (Someone like ...

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