Stories published in July, 2011

A daughter’s burden

Over the past decades so much has changed in this world from the foreign relations of Pakistan to the allies of the United States, however one unfortunate thing is still the same, and will perhaps stay this way forever. No, I am not referring to Ms Meera’s age. The point in consideration here is the mindset of most Pakistani parents. I belong to a moderate upper middle-class family in Pakistan but I have had to sacrifice a lot of opportunities because of my parents, mostly my dad. However, I feel my sacrifices were small compared to many others. I have seen my friends give ...

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Urdu, English, and our collective inferiority complex

When I was eight years old, my family returned to Pakistan from the United States and a lot of things in the world suddenly changed for me.   I remember (and my relatives won’t ever let me forget) that one of my very first statements was: “Why is everything broken?” I’m pretty sure I was referring to the buildings and streets at the time but today, I believe many other things are broken too. I remember thinking about the prospects of going to Pakistan; a place my parents taught me was home. I remember being worried about whether I was going to be easily ...

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City of lights… only during the day

Not once, not twice… but a dozen times I have witnessed the city of Karachi being true to its name. The City of Lights, as it was called, has of late seen more than its fair share of darkness. But wait… there have been instances of the city being alight, trying hard to regain its past glory. It’s quite a pity that that has happened only during the day when it is least needed. At 5 pm at the peak of summer, I was rather upset to see all the street lights near Karsaz and on Sharah-e-Faisal shining merrily as ...

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Afghan pullout: Pakistan needs to revise its role

Opinion pages are full of analysis emphasising Pakistan’s role in bringing to an end the Afghan conflict, without whom, it is argued, the negotiations are bound to fail. The Pakistani establishment however continues with its short term, self defeating policies towards our neighbouring country. As a result our region will remain unstable and insecure after the United States (US) and its allies depart. Pakistan wants to ensure that the Afghan government remains pliant to its strategic needs. We want any negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict to include the Taliban, but on our own terms, keeping us in the loop. Non-Pashtun ...

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What’s with the morality brigade?

The sight of the world around us degenerating into a hate-fuelled spectacle brings pain to the heart of anyone with real faith. Man’s greatest achievement, at least according to great religious philosophers like Ibn Rushd, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas, is the ability to act of free will rather than instinct. It is what separates man from the animals and makes us Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqaat or the highest of all creation. Sadly, roving drones around the city, nay, the world, serve as a constant reminder that the term is quite liberally applied to much of mankind. In The Decisive Treatise (Fasl Al-Maqal), Ibn Rushd, ...

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Battling polio: If only our children were vaccinated

Three-year-old Ahmad asked his mother, Razia why his foot looked different from his 5-year-old brother Sadiq. His mother said: “God made you this way.” Ahmad, my maid’s cousin’s son probably wondered who God was and if he could ask Him to change his foot so that he could at least walk on his own, if not play with Sadiq. Later, Razia asked her husband to try and get help from the shehar wala doctors. Their family saved for two months to come to Peshawar from the small district of Torghar, where they met with a local doctor. Ahmad was diagnosed with a ...

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Aisam’s love match!

It seems that golden boy Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi will be married to more than just tennis soon. The 31-year-old athlete, peacemaker and teen-girls’ pin-up of choice has reportedly cemented a rishta with long-time love, Faha Akmal Makhdum, a British-Pakistani native of Suffolk. Haq and Makhdum will be officially engaged next week and reports indicate that no fans are invited (no, that wasn’t a wind storm, it was a collection of sighs). The betrothal announcement caused a viral explosion hailing from the blogosphere and torpedoing its way to the twittersphere, to the simultaneous clickety-clicks of text messagers and facebookers across Pakistan and ...

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Edhi, we expected better from you

We all suffer from occasional bouts of madness. It is a hazard of being a human, a side effect of possessing a mind. We all have thoughts, wishes that cannot and should not be taken seriously. Mostly, we keep these thoughts to ourselves but sometimes, we blurt them out. If we are lucky, not many witness our moment of insanity. However, if you are someone with a fan following, if you are someone who motivates and inspires, someone who has a standing in society, you are expected to refrain from having public bouts of mental diarrhea. What to say then of Abdul Sattar ...

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The Capital Vulture: The hills have eyes

Sociology majors ought to consider doing their dissertations on behavioural patterns indigenous to Pakistanis. One of these genetic predispositions is a constant irritation to those on the receiving end. In fact, this applies to the entire Indian subcontinent really. As a collective, we suffer from an acute staring problem; it can make life awkward to the point when you start developing social disorders (me) or bloated egos (so many girls in the city). Uff, it’s because some of us are fair, hardy, har, har. I’ve grown up in Islamabad and the unabashed staring is something I’ll never get used to. I think ...

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Buffoon bankers

I have been working in a well reputed bank in Pakistan (whose name I will not mention) for the last five years. I have learnt a lot about banking, from credit modules to debt ratio analysis to greeting customers. What I have not as yet been able to understand is how our banking industry’s middle management is filled with buffoons wearing ill fitted suits with qualifications of no more than Bachelors in Commerce (BCom) and brains the size of a bird’s. Why is this so? The reason I feel the current state of the banking industry is depressing, is not only because ...

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