Stories published in February, 2011

The anti-Rahat conspiracy: Pakistan’s persecution mania

Pakistanis seem to suffer from persecution mania. We have a tendency of believing in conspiracy theories rather than facts. As a nation we try to find ways to justify our wrongdoings by making us and others believe that we were trapped in such a way that we were destined to do wrong. The way most people reacted to the arrest and detention of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the Delhi Airport on Sunday for carrying undeclared foreign currency in violation of Indian laws is just another example of how, as a nation, we put on tinted glasses while looking at ...

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Sports Day for dummies

Stage 1: Identifying that it is Sports Day Notice perspiring students in the corridors and water bottles tanked and ready to go? Badges and T-shirts being passed out? A whole new array of running shoes? Welcome to sports fever. It hits two weeks to two months before the big day, so you had better not forget. Failing to understand the importance of Sports Day makes you a stain on your otherwise perfect class’s reputation, a piece of vermin to be immediately squelched underfoot. Alternately, if you are an athlete and know someone who shows no interest in sports, you either a) ...

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Pakistan’s quickies are in top shape

Salam. Umeed hai aap sab kheriat say hongay. The world of never-ending cricket that we live in has descended upon the subcontinent as we dive into the cupboard and pull out the coloured pyjamas for the pinnacle of our sport – the World Cup. Right now, the same question gets asked at 50 different press gatherings of coaches, managers, players and even guys like me, the fitness specialists: who’s going to win? For me, I’d say, as quickly and as forthrightly as possible, us. Pakistan, of course. Perhaps the proudest part of Pakistan cricket is the constant production of fast-bowlers. There’s no doubt ...

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How a Land Cruiser can change your life

My dad had two childhood dreams. The first was to get a commission in the army. Providentially, he says, he became a doctor. His second dream was to own a Land Cruiser. We do not belong to the religious, feudal or political elite, so a Land Cruiser was no ordinary car for us. Imagine our surprise when my dad surprised parking a big, dark green, gigantic SUV outside our house a couple of weeks ago. He had fulfilled his childhood dream at last. The Land Cruiser didn’t look at all appropriate parked outside our humble home, especially because it had a Lakki ...

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Mobile World Conference 2011: Best phones of the year

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is all set to conclude and while not many new devices were brought to the market those released were fabulous. Here are my favourites from the biggest mobile conference of the year. Top brand: LG The Viewty LG failed to deliver a product that has been able to cement a place in the high-end smartphone market. They have had considerable success with Windows Phone 7 devices but are still lagging behind the competition. Losses in the fourth quarter of 2010 made LG rethink their strategy and they came to MWC with the strongest line-up and left their competition speechless. Even ...

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Let us cheer for our team, please!

Three talented Pakistan players were banned from all cricketing activities this week. The most horrifying was letting go of Mohammad Amir, the 18-year-old pacer who had the potential to become one of cricket’s finest bowlers. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dealt with one blow after the other — be it losing matches successively, or being driven into court on corruption allegations. With three players snatched away – a ban that effectively ended their careers – the PCB was shaken right to its core. All cricket fans hoped against all odds that a devastating incident like this would spark off ...

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What Al Jazeera did right: This revolution was televised

My friend, a fellow news junkie, asked me, “What’s the difference between CNN and Al Jazeera?” Answer: “CNN shows the missiles taking off, Al Jazeera shows them landing.” If any amongst us had doubts about this subtle difference, they were most certainly removed after following the Egyptian revolution unfold on Al Jazeera and its sanitised coverage on other mainstream western news networks. To further substantiate Al Jazeera’s credentials as the peoples’ news network that brings forth the people’s perspective devoid of an imperialist agenda, I can tell you this; Donald Rumsfeld condemned it, George Bush allegedly said he wanted to bomb it ...

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A moral argument for abortion

Abortion. An eight lettered word that can ruin any well-heeled kitty party or friends’ night out. I should know, since I have successfully brought conversations to a screeching halt (or the opposite) on both occasions. I often wonder what it is about that word which awakens the morality brigade. Those arguing against abortion often claim “It’s a living thing!” blithely ignoring my scathing looks of disbelief. Science and logic seem to take a back seat in this argument. How about some facts to back up emotion? The power is hers I’m pro-choice, in case there was any doubt. If there is anything in life ...

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Butt, where is the shame?

“I am not playing in the event, I thought it was worth participating as an expert,” said Salman Butt when he was asked to comment on his recent decision to appear as a cricket commentator for the World Cup on a local news channel. I am outraged at his decision, and my anger is the result of a bruised cricket-loving ego. Salman Butt lost the right to associate himself with cricket the day the ICC proved him a liar and cheater. His cockiness regarding the matter is appalling; it’s almost like he’s telling the world “they were just no-balls, it’s not a big ...

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Living under constant fear of the Taliban

A few days ago, I decided to wait outside in a rickshaw we had hired while my friend popped into a shop. I noticed the rickshaw driver was in his early teens, so I asked him curiously, “Do you go to school?” He replied in the negative and then went on to tell me his story almost as if he was waiting for someone to ask. He said, “I used to go to school, but I only finished primary education. My studies came to a halt five years back when the Taliban destroyed my school.” He went on to describe how the army initiated a ...

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