Stories published in July, 2011

I read so you don’t have to: Outrageous!

This week offered proof, once again, that our politicians wouldn’t be quite so problematic if they just never spoke. We already knew that the outrageousness of Rehman Malik’s words is matched only by the outrageousness of his ties; that Zulfiqar Mirza vomits out inflammatory speeches as if it’s a medical condition for which there’s no cure; and, that the world would be a happier place if Pervez Musharraf never spoke again. Still, you’re most likely sitting at home and refusing to go out because of the heat, so you might as well relive their cringe-worthy comments of the last week. That ...

Read Full Post

Of Shab-e-Barat fun

What a blessed festival our Shab-e-Barat is – or was. Let’s forget the bloodletting going on all around us for a while and the games people play around it and talk about the colourful lights associated with the festival – about its phuljharis (sparklers), mehtabis (flares), anars and patakhas (crackers). But today the Shab-e-Barat characterised by these fireworks is no more than a memory. It’s a sign of the times that the festivals that used to bring fun and happiness to Pakistani children are now so devoid of joy. What little remains, faces an imminent threat of an edict declaring it ...

Read Full Post

Help! My boyfriend won’t cuddle

Dear Miss Informed, Help me understand why my boyfriend has time for work at his father’s clinic, his cousin’s wedding, his own side business and to pick his mom from Nano’s place and  to drop his brother to school – but no space for me in his life? He doesn’t have time to call or even text. Just a brief ‘good morning’ and “Baby, I am so tired, let’s sleep. Goodnight” Miss Informed, I know he loves me but why do I always have to be the one to understand his problems? Sometimes I wish he would spoil me, pamper me and do cheesy ...

Read Full Post

Mass polygraph testing: A ridiculous idea!

In its effort to be proactive against fighting corruption in cricket, the Marylebone Cricket Committee (MCC) recommended the use of a lie detector test in December of last year and when the committee met a few days ago at Lords, it was revealed that one of its prominent members, Australia’s former captain Steve Waugh, had undergone a polygraph test. Waugh took the test to encourage players worldwide to submit to one and will, alongside other members of the committee, be lobbying for MS Dhoni and Andrew Strauss, two highly successful captains in world cricket present at Lords, to endorse ...

Read Full Post

Chocolates for slum children

“So we want to distribute these chocolates among kids before we leave,” my family friends said excitedly. Born and brought up in England, they were living in Dubai now and were on a visit to Pakistan. In the last couple of days, during their visit, they told us about the chocolates that they had brought with them for the underprivileged children. In order to fulfill my kind guests’ noble request, I asked my brother who knew of a slum that was cocooned in the middle of one of Islamabad’s posh sectors. Further investigation revealed that our cleaner Basheer Lala also came from ...

Read Full Post

Does terror have a religion?

Does the bomb have a religion? Does the blast discriminate among victims? In the recent serial blasts in Mumbai, a Muslim family lost a son who was in his early twenties and had gotten married just a couple of months ago. Is the pain of this family any less acute than that of many others who lost their loved ones but, belonging to a different religion or community? Terror has victims not a religion. The merchants of terror know no religion. When someone dies in a terror attack in India, it’s an Indian who loses his or her life, not a Hindu or ...

Read Full Post

Fresh Off the Boat: Why shouldn’t I like curry?

Brown:the colour I was assigned once in Canada. Never in a million years had I imagined that I would be considered a colour just like the black, yellow, white, peach and pink people around me. If we get deep down into it though, just to set the facts straight, I am not brown. I am a darker variation of ochre. No, I did not come here on a boat nor do I ride camels as a means of transportation in Pakistan unless it’s a family outing at Sea View beach, where camel rides are forms of entertainment.  Yet, they insist on ...

Read Full Post

10 tips for surviving a riot in Pakistan

Earlier this month, Zulfiqar Mirza went on live television to irresponsibly air an opinion about the legitimacy of a leader. While Shahi Syed made attempts to pull him back from the microphone, Karachi erupted in flames once again. My friends, on their way back from the airport, saw cars turning back from Shahrah-e-Faisal, and people driving back towards the terminal for safety. The main road was overrun with protesters and so was the road leading towards Askari-IV and Gulistan-e-Johar. To the occupants of a Honda Civic – who had to ask my friends to lead them to safety, jostled and bumping ...

Read Full Post

Karachi’s apolitical police force

The decision to  renew special policing powers given to Rangers is a step in the wrong direction. These powers should only be granted for short periods to aid civil power, when required, rather than for long stretches.    Two weeks ago, after 100 people were killed in a period of five days, law enforcement agencies “marched into” the troubled areas of Karachi and miraculously faced “no resistance” – all guns went silent, according to news reports, that was the end the operation. Fantastic! One does wonder though: how many lives could have been saved had our protectors stepped up when the violence first erupted? How many billions ...

Read Full Post

Who cares? Not me

I am a Pakistani. Don’t confuse me for an illiterate, poverty-stricken person. Or a displaced one in that case. Not at all! I can assure you, I live quite comfortably. I did my schooling from one of the best institutes in the country. I speak English very well, and I only wear branded clothes. I buy them from the US or Europe during my annual visits abroad. It’s annoying how people assume I’m needy just because I’m from Pakistan. Oh no! I’m a first-grade citizen, albeit of a third world country. Apparently the fact that our power generation is less ...

Read Full Post