Stories published in May, 2011

Chechen killing: Trigger-happiness?

I was standing close to the crime scene when the paramilitary troops and police opened fire on the five Chechens who were lying injured near the Frontier Corps picket strangled in barbed wire near Killi Khezi, Quetta. One of the wounded women was pleading for mercy by waving her hand. Television footage clearly covered this particular moment. The heavily armed personnel seemed to be too confident before resorting to opening fire, hastily, without verifying whether the foreigners were terrorists or innocent. The intense firing forced me to remain behind the DSNG which was parked about 30 yards from the picket. Some ...

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Identity for sale

My fellow countrymen, everything in this country is for sale. Let me elaborate. Recently, my cousin completed his graduation and his family thought it was time to send the boy abroad for higher studies. My uncle, his father, got him all geared up with all the necessary files and documents, but little did he know he was in for a surprise. When they reached the passport office, they were told that there was a problem with my cousin’s identity card. The passport officials then directed them to the office of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) where the real problem ...

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Promoting culture: Giving credit where it is due

Government agencies dealing with culture, creative arts, scholarship and other such intellectual matters may not have played the progressive role they were supposed to, or could have, even remaining within the strait jacket of their stated objectives, but overall they have been far more productive and active in their fields than other areas under government control whose performance has generally been quite dismal. Take for instance water, power, industry and agriculture. Their poor showing is responsible for our present troubles. In comparison cultural bodies dealing with arts like the Lok Virsa, National Language Authority (NLA), Pakistan Academy of Letters ...

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No laptop? No job!

How would you react if you received a call from your favourite organisation telling you that you have been selected to join them as an intern? It would make you ecstatic and jump with joy. But what if, the next minute, they put in the condition: Only if you have a laptop. What would your reaction be then? Many may be fine with this sort of condition – every organisation has its own set of rules and regulations and if they have a certain requirement, there is nothing wrong with it. I, for one, was really taken aback however, especially because it was coming ...

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Sometimes ‘make-do’ health care is the best treatment

As medical students, we spend about half a year, out of the strenuous five of our degree, in primary care which caters to a specific fraction of the population. The primary care centre at the Aga Khan University Hospital serves people from rural Sindh and Balochistan, with plenty of patients trickling in from Afghanistan. They come to seek expert medical advice for conditions that do not go away spontaneously or after treatment by a local practitioner. The other patients are residents of Karachi mostly from poor backgrounds; they prefer primary care at a lower cost compared to specialty consultations ...

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Shane Warne: Never Test captain, always a legend

A question that will be asked for ages to come, as the greatest leg spinner of all time bows out from cricket, would be: What would the world have seen had Shane Warne been Australia’s Test captain? In a career spanning almost 20 years, Warne has divided opinions globally and more so in his native country where some believe he was the messiah of cricket, making leg spin sexy again, while others thought him to be a constant source of embarrassment to the country due to his bad boy behaviour. He was accused of two of the biggest crimes in the game, ...

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Can Rahul Gandhi prove his worth?

In Shakespeare’s play, “Henry IV, Part 1” Prince Harry, the son of the king, is shown as a very complex character. His venture into taverns, his company of friends and his acts keep the audience baffled at all times. Sometimes the king himself worries about his son’s future. His subjects are never sure what Hal (Prince Harry) represents or stands for. He acts rebellious but does not reveal his intentions. However, Hal redeems himself on the battlefield by saving his father from the enemy and eventually shrugs off his bad reputation when he demonstrates his ability to govern in ...

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Afridi out, rhythm broken

Shahid Afridi might be a heartthrob who stars in fancy Pepsi commercials, and flaunts his hair in a shampoo ad campaign, but he is much more than that. Our nation loves him because he is bold. He violates conformity, embraces flamboyance and transmits synergy characteristics found in successful leaders. He led Pakistan to a laudable campaign in the 2011 World Cup, given the instability and chaos that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was in. We lost to archrivals India in the semi-finals in Mohali. We hated it. But we forgot that it was just not Afridi’s fall to take. Yesterday the ...

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Afridi’s removal: Bad, bad decision!

You have a problem with your car? Don’t try to fix it, buy a new one. If you think about it, this is exactly how Ejaz Butt goes about changing the Pakistan cricket team’s captains. For me, this is just another failure on Butt’s part. Sure, Pakistan won the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, made it to the semi-finals in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, played well in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup, and exceeded our expectations in the 2011 ICC World Cup – was all of this Butt’s success or a reflection of the talent in Pakistan? Just imagine the brilliant ...

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Attention: Sindh is up for grabs

With all the national attention focused on the political battle over Punjab, it is worth pointing out that parties across the political spectrum would do well to realise that Sindh is not as safely in the Pakistan Peoples Party’s column as might appear at first glance. Ever since the party was first launched in the late 1960s, Sindh has firmly stayed loyal to the Bhutto clan and one of the fundamental assumptions in Pakistani politics is that rural Sindh will always vote, by and large, for the PPP. In the 1980s, the MQM was able to peel away the urban ...

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