Stories published in February, 2011

It’s not just cricket

Cricket may not be our national sport — that honour goes to hockey —but is the one sport that can excite the nation or make it go into collective depression. It is more followed than any other sport and perhaps for that reason alone, even the way it is run and administered in the country is the topic of much discussion, debate and concern. Unfortunately, for several years of late, the way that the sport has been run in the country has left much to be desired. For years, allegations have been made against those who govern it accusing them ...

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World Cup anthem: Two thumbs down

With the cricket World Cup days away, a frenzy has set in and no one seems to be talking about anything else. Radio and TV channels have shows where analysts evaluate different teams and predict who is going to succeed. Another constant feature is Pakistan’s World Cup soundtrack Jazba by Ali Zafar. Pakistan’s World Cup song is suitably titled Jazba considering the presence of young players on the team and has been written, composed and sung by none other than Ali Zafar, the prince of pop himself. The title of the song draws comparison to the ever green song Jazba Junoon that still reverberates ...

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Will the Nokia-Microsoft partnership work?

For 10 years Nokia dominated the smartphone industry. But in the fourth quarter of 2010, Android overtook Symbian as the most used smartphone operating system (OS) for the first time. This may not come as a shock but if you look back a year, you’ll notice that at the end of 2009 Nokia had 44 per cent of the market share while Android had a mere 9 per cent. How did Nokia react to this? Simple: they killed Symbian. The start of Symbian’s troubles Since the iPhone brought about the touch revolution, Symbian looked like it was in trouble. Nokia first embraced this fact ...

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Cliches and curry: Writing fiction in Pakistan

As an aspiring novelist, I have found it increasingly important to understand the literary merits of contemporary fiction in Pakistan. This entailed a thorough investigation of genre, themes, stylistic elements and above all, the implementation of creative ideas. The purpose of examining these features is not to understand what standard is expected or what is being read. On the contrary, the intention of this exercise is for novelists to determine how this standard and readership can be diversified through their literary contribution. The challenge I began writing a novel when I was  seventeen. After two years of constant labour, I set the manuscript ...

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Traditional remedies: Old is not always gold

Cainophobia is the irrational or exaggerated fear of newness. If our nation had a national disease, this would most likely be it because we seem to be carrying the maxim “old is gold” to unnatural heights. Most Pakistanis have an undue fondness for traditions and cultural practices – practices that are often detrimental to them. Our obsession with rasm-o-rivaaj keeps us from relinquishing old ideas and replacing them with new and better ones.Doctors banging their heads against a wall, attempting to convince their patients to let go of their cherished (and altogether fallacious) beliefs on healthcare. The thanda-garam myth There is a widespread ...

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A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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Top cricketing guns: No miracles this time

It has been a thundering start to the World Cup so far with the favourites showing their mettle and also bringing on a show of force against the minnows. Unlike previous editions though, with the way the pools are designed, it seems we are not going to see any surprises when it comes to deciding the final eight. Sure, one of the minnows –and I am counting Zimbabwe and Bangladesh among them – might pull off a surprise win or two, but they will probably not make it past the quarter-finals. Canada might live up to their billing and give some ...

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Team Green: In good form for the World Cup

Spot-fixing trials – criminal-charges – banned – guilty – cheat – bhabi-e-millat – IPL discards – conspirators – Veena Malik – home-advantage. If you Google “cricket” and  “Pakistan” with parameters set to results from the past year, the words above would probably be the key terms generated by the search engine. One cannot blame Google for stating the obvious. Talented Pakistan Despite the banning, cheating and media -hyped shaadis cricket fans in Pakistan do still have reasons to love this game. The domestic conveyor belt of talent is continuously producing new players which, alongside the legends, gives us plenty to be optimistic about ...

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Where is Ayman Al-Zawahiri?

When I woke up this morning, I was taken aback by the front page of The Express Tribune, with shining white letters reading “Deliverance” which announced that the revolution had succeeded at last. When I think of Egypt, images of the 2007 drone attack that struck a seminary and killed 80, mostly minors, come to my mind. The prime target of that attack was Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the long lost al Qaeda leader who hails from Egypt and was reported to be in Pakistan. Zawahiri has sent out audio or video messages regarding almost everything that Qaeda has ever considered as ...

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They’re armed, dangerous and crazy about lawn!

Winter is nearly over in Karachi and I can already see billboards of Iman Ali modeling for lawn. This is just the beginning of the lawn madness in Karachi. Every year, designers hold exhibitions selling overpriced lawn where mobs of women claw and push each other to get the best pieces. Even if the prints are a big disappointment, women will still wait in long lines at exhibition venues. Aunties gone wild I made the mistake of attending one Gul Ahmed lawn exhibition. While I was standing at the counter, a middle-aged aunty came and pushed me from behind because I had asked the ...

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