Stories published in April, 2011

Olivetto: Two thumbs up for classic European cuisine

Located right next to the Russian Consulate, Karachi in a relatively peaceful neighborhood is a uniquely pleasant eatery called Olivetto. It offers authentic Italian and French cuisine made to perfection and complemented by equally delicious side orders. Tucked away from the city traffic, the restaurant is divided into two main areas – the main restaurant which can house around 50 people and an attached coffee lounge with a seating capacity of around 25. There’s a separate function hall in the basement which is reserved for ceremonies. The exterior of this aesthetically built restaurant speaks volumes for the kind of hospitality we should be ...

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The (not so) long arm of the HEC

The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) devolution has pulled emotions and inflamed passions for the past couple of weeks. We are told that the future of Pakistan and the future of higher education are at stake. However, I for one do not believe that the HEC is a barometer of the state of education in Pakistan. On the contrary, the case of Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel, a lecturer at Bahria University Islamabad points to how inadequate the provision of education in our country is. If we ever needed a snapshot of where we stand, look no further. Mr Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel had the audacity to ...

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Here’s something to chew on…

“The supple, soft touch of his skin against my coarse, scaly fingers. Caressing his plump, rosy cheeks I get a whiff of his gripe-watered breath, lips dribbling with saliva. I stare, yearn, hypnotised for days just simply touching his seductive skin. I held out for six years, three months, two days and 19 hours, but my lust got the better of me and I was helpless against my desire to feel his crimson blood against my starved lips. Starting with a nail, a finger, I enjoyed him piece by piece, every square inch of his youthful arm. Our desire is no different ...

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No more U-turns after this, President Obama

The recent U-turn of President Obama on the trial of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four alleged co-conspirators stirs a new controversy. The accused are to be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay rather than a civilian court in New York. The much-hyped closure of Guantanamo Bay was on Obama’s agenda when he was eyeing the White House back in 2008. But the Gitmo trial announcement came on the same day he officially launched his re-election bid for 2012 on BarackObama.com. Many would call this another disappointment on a long list of Obama’s slip-ups. Although the Attorney General Eric ...

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Who do we write for when we write in English?

So what is the second most oft-asked question of a Pakistani writer writing in English? Of course, the first most oft-asked one — ‘Why do you write in English?’ — is less of a question and more an insinuation, really meaning: ‘Why do you write at all?’ In its more severe (read: honest) manifestations it’s more like: ‘Why don’t you have a real job?’ and ‘Why are you this way?’ But that as it might be, the second-most-oft-asked question is — ‘Who do you write for if you write in English about Pakistan?’, and it haunts local writers writing in English. ...

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Bye bye Ireland: What the ICC doesn’t see

With its decision to exclude Ireland from the 2015 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is hearkening back to the days when it was called the Imperial Cricket Council – when the ‘natives’ had to prove themselves to stand at the top table of world cricket. In those times, it was India and Pakistan who had to fight for the right to have legitimate Test tours and deference was given to other Test teams. This time around, it is the Emerald Isle who is the victims of the ICC’s Ejaz Butt-esque levels of incompetence. Unfair ICC Instead of encouraging Irish cricket ...

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The young doctors’ movement: What’s all the fuss about?

The criteria for a nation’s progress is often measured in terms of the health service provided by the state. Welfare states spend much of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in maintaining the health of the population. Sadly, in Pakistan the health sector has never been paid much attention. One of the reasons for this is that we were so obsessed with “security” that resources were often not available to invest in hospitals. This has resulted in much frustration in the doctor’s community, especially young doctors who have to toil hard to maintain a white collar standard of living. What happened in 2008 In ...

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Will Shiney Ahuja know life behind bars?

Bollywood and crime have always had a strange connection, not only in reel life but also real life. Recently, Shiney Ahuja was sentenced to seven year imprisonment for raping his maid. The incident made many celebrities cry foul stating that they are soft targets. Meanwhile, many rejoice the fact that maybe, finally it is the end of celebrity feudalism. To be quite honest, for many celebrities being famous doesn’t go in their favour. When people file frivolous PILs (public interest litigations) over unimportant issues the paparazzi goes overboard highlighting the scandals to win more eyeballs, celebrity viewpoints are justified. In the case of ...

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Will the real Afridi please stand up?

* Anas Abbas contributed to this blog post. “I think I am a cricketer first and then a diplomat. I am an ambassador for Pakistan, so I should know what to say. I think it’s a great sign for both countries and sports, especially cricket always brings these two countries together.” So spoke Shahid Khan Afridi on the eve of the World Cup semi final against India. Mere days after winning the hearts of numerous Indian fans with his generous remarks after the semi final loss, Afridi struck out wildly when he went on record to lambast Indians on a TV talk show. “If I have ...

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“The good earth in our cities is confined to small pots”

Where are such scatterbrains to be found today? I mean people like Mubarik Ahmed, the poet. A selection of his poetry has been published recently and I am reminded of so much: about his poetry, about his bicycle, about his concern and his efforts for the Movement for World Government. Meera Ji, free verse, Halqa Arbab-i-Zauq, his bicycle, prose poetry, the Movement for World Government were the elements that together defined the poet’s personality. Of course, seeing the parts as disparate is just a mental block. Let me say nonetheless that together his many interests piled up so much stuff ...

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