Stories published in April, 2011

MQM in Punjab: Free food, stale agenda

The big MQM jalsa in Lahore was touted as the game changer for the party and the people of Punjab. Roads in the city were lined with billboards as reminders of the rally that would kickstart the “revolution”. The promise was that MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s words would inspire people to stand up against an oppressive two-party political system. But now that the jalsa is over and the reviews are in, it seems that nothing has changed. The only effect of the jalsa on the people of Lahore was that they had to take alternative routes to their destinations as multiple roads were blocked off. Trying and ...

Read Full Post

Indian Premier League: Six weeks of pure delight

The fourth season of the Indian Premier League – the most glamorous league of cricket – kicked off on Friday. The game went down to the wire and confirmed Dhoni’s reputation as one of the shrewdest captains in the world of cricket today. You gotta love the IPL IPL was the brain child of Lalit Modi, and was born out of the commercialisation of cricket. The club design was adopted from football, where it has been successful for decades, and is now making money for players and the sport alike. Although it is a domestic league, IPL promises to bring players from different ...

Read Full Post

Two sides of Iqbal

April, on account of his death anniversary, has been Iqbal’s month for us. Too much has been written and published on Iqbal over the decades for me to say something comprehensive about it here. The Iqbal Academy and the Academy of Letters have produced the voluminous Iqbaliat kay sau saal (One hundred years of Iqbal studies), but if you expect it to represent the gist of all that has been written on the subject over the decades you’ll be disappointed. In fact, let me warn you of a failing up front. But first let me mention another anthology that attempts ...

Read Full Post

Fear and self-loathing in Pakistan

When I returned to Islamabad after five years, I realised how much Pakistan had changed. There were security checks at every entry and exit point of the city and uniformed men looked suspiciously at every car that passed them. “Good job,” I thought after seeing them and assumed they were doing their job properly. But then I noticed that most of the drivers they pulled over had a few similar qualities: they were all  men with long beards wearing shalwar kameez. I understand that terrorists are usually in this type of attire but does this give guards the right to stop ...

Read Full Post

Review: The ‘Game’ is not on

Although Game has an interesting cast, it fails dismally to get any points, when it comes to reviews. Actors Jimmy Shergill, Boman Irani, Abhishek Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut and Anupam Kher star in the mystery action movie. The Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Shidwani release does not live up to the high expectations I had after watching the trailers. The good thing is that Game wastes no item with background score and meaningless shots. Multi-millionaire character Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) invites four strangers from different parts of the world, each with a murky past to his private island, Samos. They are: Ramsay (Boman Irani) a politician running for presidential ...

Read Full Post

Is your Islam better than mine?

Growing up, I studied about the history of Islam, religious battles and tales of bravery in our compulsory Islamic Studies class at school. I was taught to learn and believe in the religion – and so I did. Then, I went to college. My romanticized opinions were shattered when I took a course on  religious studies. As I entered a new discourse, one that compared Islam to  Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism, I found myself questioning my preconceived notions of righteousness. The class taught us the difference between “rational thought” and religion. When I looked around my class I felt orthodox, but certainly not superior. By comparing rationality to ...

Read Full Post

Media man Malik: More than the average minister

There are a few good reasons you would end up on http://www.rehmanmalik.com. You may explore it if you enjoy the banality of a reporter’s life, the superficiality of a politician’s or the masochism of a news junkie’s. For those of you with a penchant for the absurd, allow me to take you on a short tour of the honourable (and flamboyant) Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s website. I’m reluctant to call it official as the ‘contact us’ link just points towards the Pakistan Secretariat, which is one of the few non-residential buildings in Islamabad. For any loyal Pakistan People’s Party politician, it is a ...

Read Full Post

Building Pakistan brick by brick

Living in Pakistan far from home and my friends, it’s only natural that there are moments when I wonder what exactly I’m doing here. Then there are prophetic moments when the clarity of my purpose washes over me with force. This was a moment of comprehension: At Ansaar Management Company (AMC), we were  quite literally, laying the foundation for Pakistan’s future. In a country that sees more poverty than its government is willing to prioritise, a lack of affordable housing means that 30-50 per cent of one’s hard earned rupees go to paying rent.  When $120 per month is considered a normal family income, it’s hard ...

Read Full Post

Young cricketers: Sowing the seed for a better future

Over the past three years, despite the team being anything but consistent, the Pakistan team has managed to perform quite well in tournaments. Of the three World Twenty20s, we have reached two finals and narrowly missed out on a place in the third. A semi-final appearance in the Champions Trophy and now a last-four finish in the World Cup is quite a record. When I signed on as Pakistan’s strength and conditioning coach three years ago, my aim was to try and change not only the fitness culture of the team but also to leave a legacy. I had hoped that ...

Read Full Post

Seven children were raped today, but nobody cares

According to a report in The Express Tribune, an NGO called Sahil claimed that 2,252 children were sexually abused in Pakistan in the year 2010. This shockingly large figure shows that children are falling prey to the hunger of sick and twisted people. However, 2,252 sexually abused children is not a large enough figure for anyone to take action to stop these acts from taking place. And why would it? Clearly the goverment has more important things to spend its resources on like putting the future of the youth in jeopardy by abolishing the HEC, fighting with doctors and ending up causing ...

Read Full Post