Stories published in May, 2011

Palestine, behind the Osama smokescreen

The Bin Laden killing has gripped the global media and has been a source of relief, as well as misery, for many people around the world. Nevertheless, the practical impact of his killing on international terrorist activities and the war against terror is yet to be seen. This event, however, has inadvertently served as a smoke screen for more substantive events in the Middle East, specifically Palestine. Recently, Fatah and Hamas, the two groups representing the Palestinians, came together in an agreement to end the tensions between them and to formulate a plan for government formation. The history of these two ...

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Unattended IDPs: Fodder for terrorists

Fifty five year old Haji Khatab Khan has lived in the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar as an IDP for the last two years. On June 7, he will face the dreary reality of returning to what once used to be his home in Bajaur Agency, but the homecoming will not be festive. “Security forces demolished our houses in Mamond [Tehsil of Bajaur Agency], so where should we go now?” he beseeches, adding that he wants compensation to rebuild his house that was destroyed in the army operation to wipe out militants from his area. The situation is alarming. A blogger ...

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Zamzama violence: Chivalry is not dead in Pakistan

Anyone who knows me well will tell you one thing about me. With the exception of my dad, I despise all men. More specifically, all Pakistani men. What good are they really? With cannibals, rapists, child molesters, bombers, kidnappers, abusers, honour killers populating the country, why bother depending on or trusting a man altogether? But recently, a certain event in my life forced me to do a complete 180 degree on my incredibly biased and extremist view. As a struggling writer and journalist, I spend countless hours at a shady coffee house on Zamzama swigging infinite cuppas in the pretense of writing. The ...

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Coke Studio 4, Episode 1: What to expect!

Last summer, the nation’s hopes and dreams were obliterated in a cataclysmic event that shook the very foundations of what it meant to be Pakistani. There were cries and screams of outrage as people took to the streets with their pick-axes and Facebook comments, desperately trying to cope with the crippling grief that, gasp! “Coke Studio 2 was so much better than Coke Studio 3.” The predicted mass suicides were averted only through the joyous brandishing of Arif Lohar’s magic chimta. I think one of the good things to come out of the massive overreaction from last year has been the lack ...

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It’s the economy, stupid

James Carville’s immortal words stand as true today to describe the core problem with Pakistan as when he used them to define the contours of the 1992 presidential election in the United States: The main issue that matters to the lives of the millions of ordinary citizens is, and will forever remain, the economy. Everything else is a sideshow. This is why, even as bombs go off across the country and thousands of our compatriots die at the hands of savage beasts parading as human beings, every opinion poll ever conducted about what Pakistani people think shows that economic concerns ...

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Let’s go green again!

Pakistan’s national hockey team, the Green shirts, meet Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup final. Is it just me or has no one seemed to notice this – not even after Pakistan beat arch-rivals India 3-1? It is ironic that hockey, which is our national sport, does not enjoy the same stature as that enjoyed by cricket. A perfect example would be that around the same time that the Pakistan national cricket team crashed miserably against West Indies in the first Test match, the Green shirts won the qualifier against host team Malaysia 3-2 and cruised into the ...

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I am a doctor, but I don’t work miracles

Much is made these days about how callous doctors have become – how selfish, arrogant and disengaged they are from their patients. They charge exorbitant fees and pay only passing attention to their patients’ conditions. They get rich while the poor patients suffer. All of that is partially true; it describes many doctors I know. In fact, in a general sense, it describes a lot of people I know. So I have concluded two things: 1. I should get to know better people. 2. Doctors are human. And they are a part of the same society we all are. They have the ...

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Pakistan would have saved the IMF chief

The news about the IMF chief/possible French presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn being arrested and charged with an alleged sexual assault, including an attempted rape of a hotel maid, has been a cause for shock worldwide. The New York Police Department (NYPD), on the complaint of a hotel maid, responded quickly and a high-profile personality like the IMF chief was removed from an Air France plane minutes before it was to take off for Paris. Now, United States (US) courts will decide the fate of Kahn according to American law. While I understand that you cannot compare apples and oranges, when I ...

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Pakistan, the media hog

Pakistan loves being the centre of attention in the world media. Look at the fodder we provide. Every few months we’re in the news. Not a measly column or two on the inside pages. Not even the last item before the weather. No! We make Headline news! Breaking news! Live coverage! For all the wrong reasons, we are a publicist’s dream client. We don’t even demand payment. We are ready for 24/7 non-stop coverage, exclusive photos, interviews and we give all of it for free! This is some serious collective national talent. PR companies are studying our methods. Universities are funding researches. People ...

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Windies tour: Another dream shattered

The dream of recording the first ever Test series win in the Caribbean for Pakistan was shattered on Sunday after the greens lost by 40 runs. Many of us were sure that Misbahul Haq would be the one to succeed where the great Imran Khan failed. But sadly, it was not to be. A track that must have given bowlers worldwide hope and righted some of the travesties done to them over the past decade – coupled with an inept umpire – made sure that Pakistan ended up in the dumps. The World Cup left no doubt over the ineptitude of Asoka ...

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