Stories published in April, 2011

Kalabagh Dam: A lingering controversy

The construction of proposed Kalabagh dam evokes strong opposition in some parts of the country while it receives support from other sections of our society. The provinces had been at odds with each other on the proposed hydroelectric project conceived decades ago, stipulating building of another dam on the Indus River, having the capacity to generate 3,600 MW electricity, besides serving as a major water reservoir. The debate surrounding the project is wide-ranging, from the very need to build large dams to fair compensation for displaced persons to the adverse environmental and social impacts. A few studies are available on these ...

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As Dhoni lifted the cup, I thought of Afridi

After a strangely placid Sri Lankan fielding performance, we watch India lifting the Cricket World Cup. Mistakes will be forgotten and achievements exaggerated until the late entry of Sreesanth is seen as a phenomenal decision. Everything is so much more legendary in retrospect. As confusing as the sight of Munaf Patel and Sreesanth holding the World Cup may be, when Tendulkar holds it, a strong case is made for eternal justice. What a fitting destiny for a player who ruled the sport for longer than many of his fans have lived. And his team seemed to acknowledge that, with constant dedications ...

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Sunsilk fashion week: Fashion loves drama

The Sunsilk Fashion Week in Lahore was held at the Expo Centre. It was a spacious venue and ideal to promote the professionalism that is meant to accompany Fashion Week. Attendees were a mix of industry professionals, local and foreign media, retail buyers, designers’ clients, families and friends, with appearances by local icons like US Consul General Carmela Conroy—resplendent in an HSY embroidered gown—Samina Peerzada, Tahira Syed and designers Umar Sayeed, Rizwan Beyg et all. Happily, the number of sleazy uncles attending to check out models has reduced considerably from preceding years; perhaps this has something to do with the drive through jam-packed traffic ...

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I know a secret: Of former handlers

The chief minister announced ahead of the World Cup semi-final match that every member of the national cricket team would get 25-acre agricultural land if they win. After the team lost the match, he announced cash awards. Why is the chief minister so inclined to doling out public funds? A former manager of the cricket team advised his friends against betting on Pakistan winning the semi-final. He claimed that he had seen a bowler with a notorious bookie about four years ago. The former manager claimed that he saw the bookie come out of the player’s room. He also claimed he saw ...

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‘On Unknown Seas to Unknown Shores’

On Unknown Seas to Unknown Shores’ is a selection of over 200 poems by Dr Maqbool Elahi published by Dr Ikram Azam’s Pakistan Futurist Institute and Margalla Voices, a literary forum. This collection of verse spans a period of over 60 years, from 1955 to 2010, and covers a range of subjects and themes that long life itself (Dr Elahi is in his 90s now) introduces besides work, travel and reading. Many of the poems have a personal reference as to occasion, locale, event or experience are bunched under different general themes: ‘Edifice of Destiny’, ‘We Meet to Part’, ‘Lonely Time’, ...

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Are you afraid to be ordinary? Einstein wasn’t

My nephew Azlaan will turn one this year on May 3 and his entire life and career have already been sketched out for him by his parents, grandparents and even his aunt – me! Every day, while preparing his bath, his grandma smiles at his tiny little hands and passes her verdict: he will be a surgeon when he’s older. I disagree, he’ll be a writer. She frowns and tells me, “Of course not! Can’t you see, he has the fingers of a surgeon?” Nana jaan, on the other hand, wants him to be a finance guru like himself. And his parents ...

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Lahoris don’t care about their trees

The Horticulture Authority tried to rid the city of all its shady trees and replace them with date palms. Lahoris watched quietly. In the end, it fell to the palms themselves to protest the initiative. The palms planted along the Circular Road, it has been reported, are wilting and dying. Actually the genius who thought of depriving the city of its own trees and adorning it with desert trees should also have imported a little desert. Trees, after all, grow from soil and are best nurtured in the climates associated with their native lands. Lahore is Lahore: Not Dubai or Japan In the ...

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You think cricket isn’t sexy?

My lack of exposure to “American” sports while growing up is never more apparent than when I’m at work. I’m surrounded by hardcore football, baseball, and basketball fans. Now, to be clear, I’m a sports fan.  I no longer call it “American football”, and have had my heart broken by the Bears offensive line time and time again.  I’ve cheered on the Bulls since I was a kid (D Rose for MVP!), but my sports of choice have always been soccer and cricket. So, while my colleagues are all about their brackets for March Madness, I’m streaming the cricket World Cup on my ...

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No more Butt and Butterfingers

As Ramiz Raja put it, though Shahid Afridi could not win the World Cup, for 30 days he united the nation. However, though we must unreservedly praise the performances of Team Pakistan, a few heads must roll to ensure that the strides we have made are capitalised to the fullest extent. Butt needs to go The system governing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), effectively a one Butt show, has to be revamped. The PCB needs a much more effective, efficient and vibrant administrator – someone who is in touch with modern day cricket – to govern the way the game is played ...

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Pakistan ka matlab kya…who cares?

Six odd decades after independence, we are still squabbling over the ideology of Pakistan, what it represents and what it means to be a Pakistani. With the rise of social media and greater access to information, the urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history. And hence, today the battle of the ideology of Pakistan is in full swing. To me, Pakistan is an undeniable truth, much like Israel. Pakistan is a sovereign country – whether one agrees with the original ideology it is based upon is irrelevant. Like Israel, Pakistan is on the map and must ...

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