Stories published in July, 2011

Ads that tell us we are ugly

I was at Madihas, a convenience store near my house. We were out of cat food, and I knew better than to waste a second with mewing felines. After stacking up on cans of Whiskas, I walked to the checkout, where I noticed a curious looking product sitting on the counter. On its packaging, the product proudly sported an unequivocally grotesque picture. It was the face of some dude, with one exact half significantly lighter skinned than the other. It eerily reminded me of a poster of the Incredible Hulk, where one half of the face is Dr Bruce Banner, ...

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Accidents are not entertainment

It was a sunny afternoon in Paris, and my family and I were just stepping out of the glorious Sacré-Coeur basilica when our discussion on Romano-Byzantine architecture was cut short by the sight of an injured man lying on the stairs. I wasn’t precisely sure what had happened to him. All I knew was that he was breathing heavily and that there was blood streaming down his leg. The terrace was filled with tourists and worshipers, but only three people were sitting next to this wounded gentleman: one of them was a security officer; the second one, a female tourist who ...

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A long wait for Aasia Bibi

She has already suffered a lot but it looks like a longer, more painful and tiresome journey lies ahead for her. Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sent to the gallows by a district court in central Punjab last year for committing blasphemy, will have to wait for several years before the Lahore High Court (LHC) takes up her application, seeking review of the lower judiciary’s verdict. Lawyers associated with the case have indicated that it is unlikely that the LHC would take up any time soon the review petition in arguably the most ‘controversial’ case in the country’s recent legal ...

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Parenting the digital generation

It is normal now days to see very young children in Pakistan confidently operating technology, possessing cell phones and using social media. A seventh grader can multi tasking; constantly uses SMS to communicate, spending a lot of time online, staying connected with people through the social media and surfing the net and checks out brainpop.com to get homework help while simultaneously listening to his/her iPod. Many young people have blogs by the age of 13-14 years now. So, even if their essays or stories do not receive a good grade in class, or their ideas and thoughts are not entertained ...

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Breaking down the KESC strike

The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has been embroiled in a dispute with pockets of its unionised labour force for a while now. We have witnessed unbelievable scenes involving violent protests at the central office of the KESC, followed by accusations and counter-accusations from both sides. Now, the management of the electric supply company has stated that they were unable to procure additional supplies of furnace oil due to an ‘emergency’ situation, thus jeopardising the supply of electricity to the city. On the other hand, the roundabout near the Governor House has become a campsite, inconveniencing motorists on one of the ...

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What the media did not tell you

As always, we have been busy with our usual chronic problems – Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) having a go at each other, the worsening electricity crisis, crying and cribbing over foreign aid, making insane statements that hurt at least one segment of our society and so on. But, while the nation was kept busy with this, there were other serious developments happening on the political front and economic front that our lovely media forgot to tell you about because they either thought it was not news worthy or they just decided that you do not ...

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Paying taxes shouldn’t be this hard

Since my BBA program finished, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home. Taking advantage of the situation, my dad asked me to go and pay the car tax a few days ago. Attempt # 1 Still in vacation mode, I dragged myself to the nearest National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) tax-payable branch at 12:45pm. Here, I was welcomed by a long line out in the sun. I was to be number 12 in the line. Not having much planned for the day, I waited for my turn admiring a stray cat that seemed to be in heat as it ...

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Is Mubarak afraid to stand trial?

Hosni Mubarak’s “deteriorating” health just two weeks before the former Egyptian statesman is scheduled to stand trial seems all too convenient. As doctors at Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital in the Red Sea resort community, where Mubarak has been admitted since mid-April, keep denying reports of the former Egyptian president’s “worsening condition”, his lawyer continues to feed the media reports alleging that Mubarak isn’t getting any better. On Sunday, Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El Deeb said that the former president had slipped into “a complete coma”. However, Egyptian state media soon reported that the hospital director had denied the report. Just last month, Deeb ...

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Pakistan: Where life can be a blast

The ‘enlightened moderation’ mantra from the Musharraf era prompted Pakistan’s oft-quoted ‘soft image.’ Seen as a much-needed leap beyond archetypal vistas of K-2 and the Lahore Fort (think 1970s photographs issued by PIA and the Ministry of Tourism), well-meant consultants were hired for the purpose of promoting a progressive image for the country—or at least, that’s what the aim was in flying out designers and models to put on fashion shows at Pakistani Consulates around the world. One can almost imagine spectators gawking: “Gosh, they have women in their country who don’t wear a burka and aren’t getting stoned for ...

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Can you prove your marriage? Not if you are Hindu

A Hindu lady named Perrmessary Mai, aged 45 and mother of four, is the wife of Gomand Gee, and resides in a remote area of District Rahim Yar Khan. In July 2007, she applied for her Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) after which the National Database Regulation Authority (Nadra) officials asked her to give proof of her marriage. In this regard she was asked to get attestation from the nazim (mayor) of her area or a Hindu MPA or MNA. As she was not able to get hold of a Hindu representative and the nazim refused to help her based on some personal reasons, ...

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