Stories published in August, 2011

In a bubble: Away from Lyari

This morning, I was woken by a text message from a friend. “Don’t go to work today,” she wrote. The message said: “Apparently there are a lot of target killings going on, 23 bodies have been recovered. Haalat seem bad, stay home today.” I barely thought anything of it. Haalat are bad everyday and I can’t stop working because of thua. In classic uptown Pakistani fashion, the only thing on my mind was “the odds of something happening to me are a million to one”. It seemed the odds were indeed stacked in my favour. I reached my internship safely – as if nothing ...

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Mourinho’s faltering tactics and how football was ruined

Watching Jose Mourinho coach this Real Madrid team is like watching a slow descent into madness, a football version of Apocalypse Now if you will. Tuesday night was not much different, even though the Spanish Super Cup can be regarded as the equivalent of England’s Community Shield, generally thought of as a glorified pre-season game. However, this time round, these games were contested by bitter rivals: the Community Shield saw Manchester United clash with Manchester City but the atmosphere was nowhere near as explosive as what transpired at Camp Nou. Focus not on football Football became a sideshow, an act not witnessed ...

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Video blog: Own2feet

To call the current US-Pak relationship dysfunctional would, indeed, be an understatement. The recent statement of the US Secretary of Defense, saying that there is no choice but to maintain a good relationship with Pakistan sums up the current state of this relationship perfectly; both are unwilling partners. If the status quo of the US-Pak relationship is to be challenged, a change in attitudes must occur in both countries. Pakistan needs to stop being portrayed as a delusional and terrorist country, in the US, and the justified grievances of Pakistanis with the US foreign policy must be appreciated. Furthermore, on ...

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Video blog: City of the oppressed

While crossing the ugly, narrow streets you will find countless small, wooden doors, almost on every wall. They are mostly locked from the outside, but you can hear a continuous, disturbing noise echoing from these rooms. This haunting noise is the outcome of those power looms that run with the sweat and blood of tens of thousands of workers. If you dare to enter any of the small rooms, you would feel as though you have entered a machine. The walls say it all; they are full of cotton dust and silk web, causing dangerous lung diseases amongst the majority of people who work here. Welcome ...

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Video blog: World Humanitarian Day

The music video “If I Could Change” was released on August 19th, 2011, on World Humanitarian Day. This music video makes an attempt to pay homage to humanitarian workers all around the world. The track features many popular superstars, such as, Bob Marley’s son Ziggy Marley, Somali sister-duo Sweet Rush and Salman Ahmad from the Pakistani band Junoon. The singers urge the world to show greater compassion towards people, in an attempt to rid the world of suffering and fear. The video shows clips of children in refugee camps and hospitals. It also shows flooded fields and ruined buildings, all in an attempt ...

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Igniting the love for Urdu in America

This is how my story begins. I was blessed with my first born, a beautiful daughter, in June 2008. On this special day, my Bhaijan, a close relative who is like a father to me, gave me an important piece of advice: “Apnay bachoon ko apni madr-e-zaban sekhana – agar nahi sekhai tu future may tum chahaye 10,000 dollar bhi kharach karo gay tu kuch hasil nahi hoga, aur wo apni zaban asi nahi sekh sakaingay jaysay tum bachpan may sekhao gay”. (If you don’t teach your children their mother tongue, then in the future, even if you spend 10,000 dollars, ...

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The amazing messages of Ali Azmat

I once saw a sign in an ice cream parlor: NO SUGAR FREE, NO FAT FREE—ONLY REAL ICE CREAM. IF YOU WANT NUTRITION, EAT CARROTS. This pretty much sums up how I feel about music videos/movies/poetry/novels/et cetera meant to convey messages. They are useless in terms of providing pleasure, which is what they are meant to do, and utterly rubbish for nutrition, which is what they are purporting to do. When I first heard that Ali Azmat has released a video called Bum Phatta, and knowing what we all know about him, I laughed for about a week. Then I took the risk ...

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A lesson overlooked in the Aamir Liaquat fiasco

After hours of cat and mouse between copyrights owner and uploader, the Dr Aamir Liaquat video is now firmly rooted on YouTube servers. Even with Mr Liaquat denying the authenticity of the recording, his claims are not swaying the public at large. He has undeniably been caught, exposed and will perpetually be grilled over his less-than-holy behavior. Preceding this fiasco by several months, I had come across a YoutTube personality who similarly exposed people doing things deemed unacceptable. His special interest wasn’t TV personalities and their unbecoming demeanor off-camera – his subjects seemed ordinary people like you and me, who want ...

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Blood in Ramazan: From Khyber to Karachi

Muslim worshippers of the Jamrud area of Kyber agency were brutally blown to death, during Friday prayers today, the 18th roza of Ramazan this year. The blast left over 50 people dead and numerous injured. This isn’t the first time a mosque has been attacked. Most of  us remember how only a few years ago mosques were the target of sectarian attacks; in fact, there was a mosque attack in March this year. Ramzan is supposed to be a blessed month; but this year has been particularly ‘bloody’ for the people of Pakistan. In Karachi, over ...

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Fight religious extremism, with religion

Aqib took a sip of cappuccino at a Starbucks outlet in the Canary Wharf area of London. He graduated from LSE last year and is now working as an investment banker at one of the world’s leading bank (albeit a bailed out one after the 2008 economic meltdown). Pointing out the economic prosperity of London, he confidently exclaimed: “We have invested too much in religion whilst the West has excelled in all discipline of sciences. Look, all this development took place in the last 100 year or so when the West shunned religion and secularism took a stronghold in public decision making.” Aqib, ...

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