Stories published in May, 2011

Revolution, Bhagat Singh style

A man admitted today to being taken entirely by surprise two days ago. He had bought the ticket for a theatre performance at Alhamra but on entering the darkened hall, found it resonating with chants for revolution. He says he paused and then reluctantly exited the hall, only to be assured by a bystander that the activity at the hall was not political and that it was indeed a theatre performance. The play is about Bhagat Singh and the slogan now belongs to history though contemporary politics may have no use for it. The times we are talking about were ...

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Pak-China friendship: How special is it?

In the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden disaster, Pakistan has been scrambling to come up with a response to counter the piling pressure. The pressure, mostly in form of tough questions being raised from across the world, is something Pakistan is not used to managing efficiently. And, in its moment of need, as always, our prime minister decided to reach out to our allies, China, and got on a plane for a quick state visit. The whole purpose of the visit was apparently to show the United States (US) that Pakistan has the support of China. This is ...

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Haunted: More laughter than fear

The Indian horror film, Haunted, is one of those films which will make you alternate between laughing hysterically and covering your eyes out of fear. The film really has nothing new to it and is the typical sub-continent love story, where boy meets girl and would do anything to help her. Except this time, he’s not saving her from an evil step-father, the owner of a brothel or a terrorist; instead, he’s saving her from the evil spirit of her piano teacher who has kept her spirit trapped for 80 years raping her every night. The rape was what got to ...

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Falling ill

I came across Hameed Akhtar last week and found him quite out of sorts. He complained that even after he had written a column about his failing health none of his friends had come visiting to inquire after him. I felt so embarrassed and yet, I realised, the only person really responsible for it was himself. His column about himself was followed immediately by one that made me forget his illness. Even when I recalled the previous column, I was convinced that the latter column could not have been written by an ailing man. It was about how mushairas, the ...

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TEDx Karachi: The Imran Khan factor

TEDx Karachi’s second event, which will be held on the May 27, 2011, has already started receiving tremendous amounts of criticism from the people of Karachi. These include hate messages on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The line-up for the event this time around includes Sarmad Tariq, Mukhtaran Mai, Raja Sabri Khan, Fasi Zaka, Dr Quratulain Bakhteari and Imran Khan. The theme for this year’s event, which is ‘Making the Impossible Possible,’ aims to inspire and motivate the audience through talks by people who have, in their lives, made the impossible possible. Most of the criticism is aimed ...

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Bin Laden killing: Whither objective journalism?

I remember the general reaction in the newsroom the day the news of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden broke. There was relief, felicitations of ‘Mubarak ho!’ and the excitement of covering what was perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year. Throughout the day, and the days following the incident, I noted people’s reactions. While some openly celebrated the news, others quietly welcomed the news with relief, adding however that it was against their principles to celebrate death. Sure, there was shock and anger against the political and military leadership and condemnation about the violation of Pakistan’s ...

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Foreign aid: Shahbaz backtracks on a bold move

Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif jumped on the populist pedestal and declared with much fanfare that the Government of Punjab would reject foreign aid to strengthen the nation’s sovereignty. In a poll on The Express Tribune website 74 per cent of the respondents voted in favour of the proposition. Apparently there are votes to gain by taking a tough line, and breaking the begging bowl forever. Imran Khan is another politician who has repeatedly stated that our dependence on foreign, particularly American aid has forced us to cede our sovereignty. Pakistan should reject American aid to regain our honour. If only it was that simple. Two ...

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The bald look: Shave off the fear

It was during my A’ levels when I first decided to sport the bald look, inspired by none other than Pakistan’s one and only rocker par extraordinaire, Ali Azmat, who had shaved off his long curly locks. This was almost eight years ago and I was, like every other teenager, in my ‘coming of age’ years; experimenting with my look and image. I vividly recall a lot of guys going bald around that time, most of them naturally, and some by choice. I belonged and still do, to the latter. In retrospect, I can’t help but think to myself whether it ...

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10 things I love about Grey’s Anatomy

I was never really fond of medical dramas, but after a friend’s recommendation, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy and was instantly hooked to the show. With the seventh season currently being aired on ABC (which several of my friends follow religiously on the internet), here’s a list of ten things I love about the show: 1. The play of words: Dialogues were the first thing I liked about Grey’s. Emotional, funny, close to life – many strike a chord and are easy to recall (‘the truth freakin’ hurts’). Hence, apart from following the seasons, I have been an active user of ...

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Windies tour: Where is the star value?

There is no intention to undermine the efforts of both sides involved, but the One-Day International (ODI) series between in West Indies failed to generate any excitement or enthusiasm whatsoever. The Twenty20 and the ODIs were drab, sordid affairs with the teams going about their business in a very workmanlike fashion, perhaps sharing my feelings about the series. There were no exciting knocks and there aren’t any hostile fast-bowlers so there was no duel between bat and ball. The hosts overlooked experience  including Chris Gayle who is showing his brute force in the IPL and reminding selectors he still has what ...

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