Stories published in June, 2011

World Refugee Day: Without hope

“One refugee without hope is too many” is the message behind the UNHCR’s “One” campaign that started last week. On the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 55/76 where it was decided that June 20 would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. A refugee, as per Article 1 of the 1951 Convention, is defined as an individual who has a: “well-founded fear of prosecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of ...

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The Gojra case: Between sanity and madness

Toba Tek Singh, a city in Punjab was immortalised by Saadat Hasan Manto’s short story of the same name. The story, based a few years after Partition, chronicles the lives of a bunch of lunatics living in an asylum, unable to fathom whether they are in Pakistan or India. The story itself is a gripping indictment of the senseless events that occurred during Partition as the characters remain deluded somewhere between sanity and madness. In many ways, this enduring legacy of Partition still remains as a black spot on Pakistan’s identity. In 2009, riots broke out in the outlying ...

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Super 8: Super indeed

I must confess I’m a major fan of JJ Abrams. His TV-series Lost was almost like a religious experience for me and his next show Fringe almost as good. His versions of Star Trek was very enjoyable and Mission Impossible 3 and Cloverfield were good fun as well. So, I had high hopes for his latest offering, Super 8. News of Steven Spielberg joining the project as producer only helped raise expectations even further andI not disappointed. Plot (Minor spoilers): The movie is set in Lillian, a fictional small town in Ohio, USA and focuses on the experiences of ...

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Fire haunts Shah Alam

A (read another) fire broke out in a shop at a market in Shah Alam Market at about 2:15pm on Friday that later spread to other shops and warehouses. A shopkeeper said it was quiet worrying. A lot of people were running for their lives. But this time the fire service was absolutely “out of this world;” the Rescue 1122 officials reached almost immediately. But narrow and densely-populated alleys impeded their efforts to douse the fire. This is the second `big fire’ that has gutted goods worth millions of rupees at the Shah Alam Market this year. On February 7, a ...

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FC Barcelona: Simply the best

When Pep Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard as manager of Barcelona in the summer of 2008, surely even he did not expect to gain such phenomenal success with the Catalan club. After all, here was a youthful former Barcelona player in his late 30s with only one year of managerial experience; that too with Barcelona’s reserve team. Here was a man taking on the mantle of one of the most demanding jobs in football. Fast forward three years and you have a manager whose team has left everyone short of superlatives. Yes, the football may be influenced by the ...

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Who is Dr Gholam Mujtaba?

So you’re out on the road, pulled over at a traffic signal. The timer says 72 seconds and is ticking down. After bashing off the khudkush (suicidal) viper wala, the eunuch wearing awful makeup, the gajray wala who says “bhaabhi, ke haath mein bara acha lagay gaa (It will look good on your wife’s hand)” you’re naturally inclined to look around. As you take a look from one side to the other, you come across a billboard of some lawn exhibition, another that has Katrina Kaif on it, either promoting Slice or Lux, and one, at almost every traffic signal, ...

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Port Grand, not so grand

I’m just happy that I got back from the much talked-about Port Grand without any major respiratory issues. The mega entertainment and food complex, where Governor of Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad claimed people would find peace and comfort, turned out to be quite the opposite. In order to catch up with the rest of Karachi, my family also decided to visit the recreational project that hopes to become a top tourist destination of the country. After having heard numerous positive tales of the food street there, it was only natural that we had high expectations of the place. Therefore, when I ...

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Sometimes the reward is in ignoring

I have written this post in response to the blog titled ‘Selling rewards for the after-life.’ Before I move ahead, I want to make it clear that I do not want to advocate what the person in the video is saying. My problem is also not with what the author has written in her piece – it is with why she, or anyone else for that matter, would give the video such importance. A friend of mine posted the now infamous video on my Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago. After I watched it, I deleted it and told ...

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Is the worst over for MV Suez?

It is really hard to decide which side to take whenever a debate ensues on whether the lives of captives on MV Suez should’ve been bought after paying millions of dollars to Somali pirates. But just yesterday I got a chance to speak to the captain of the released ship, Captain Wasi, in one of our broadcasts. His replies were full of zest and there was no sign of disappointment over the delay in reaching Salalah Port in Oman. That truly was indicative that nothing seemed big enough compared to the terror of death that had loomed over the 22 ...

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Guns are a problem, not a solution

Pakistani journalists have been allowed to carry guns to protect themselves. This brilliant solution has been offered by none other than Interior Minister Rehman Malik who has, in the past, offered many such pearls of wisdom, particularly over the unabated spate of target killings in Karachi. There is evidence enough that journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in Pakistan. In a recent statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked Pakistan the tenth most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work and, according to the International Federation of Journalists, five journalists have died in Pakistan in ...

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