Stories published in August, 2011

Anna Hazare: Fasting for change

Fasting in Pakistan is reserved for the month of Ramazan whereas in India, it has taken on the shape of a non-violent movement under the leadership of Anna Hazare. Carrying on with the legacy that Mohandas Gandhi left behind, Anna aims to pressurise the Indian government to enact strong anti-corruption laws by issuing the threat of a fast unto death. The “Gandhian” or the “crusader” as he has come to be known is a 74-year-old veteran who follows closely the words of Gandhi: “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.” His successful attempts at ...

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Forget cricket, Amir Sohail enters politics

Politics has become a lucrative career option for have-been celebrities and sportsmen globally, and the trend seems to have caught on in the subcontinent. As far as I can remember,  the legendary and debonair Imran Khan was the first prominent Pakistani cricketer to jump on to the politics bandwagon, with Muhammed Azharuddin and Navjot Singh Sidhu following suit across the border in India. While Khan started Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Azharuddin and Sidhu decided to join India’s top two mainstream and opposition parties, Congress and BJP respectively as Lok Sabha legislators. In Pakistan, another debonair cricketer to make a transition into politics ...

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I’ve graduated! Now the hard part

What is the most glorious and magnificent moment in a student’s life? You know, had I not graduated, I might have come up with a different answer. However, since I have – hands down – it is Graduation Day! The day you finally get to bid farewell to, not only, the annoying crowd you have acquainted yourself with, but also the maddening worries, the sleepless nights, the tantrums that you promptly blamed on PMS, and little things of the like. You can safely bid farewell to worries and statements like: “Oh, good Lord! I failed that pathology test. What will my parents ...

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The future looks bright for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s historic win over Bangladesh in their first Test match in six years was a rare dose of good news for the small African nation with great sporting potential. Zimbabwe were playing their first Test after voluntarily withdrawing from the five-day format in 2005, a decision forced by the sacking of several senior players following an acrimonious dispute with the board, coupled with the country’s lengthy political and economic crisis, which left the team heavily weakened. The question being asked by those not too familiar with the goings-on is what has led to this mini-revival in the game here?  There are ...

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Who is @FarrukhSiddiqui ?

An event manager, with over 28,000 followers, Farrukh Siddiqui is not new to the Twittersphere. He is one of a few Pakistanis who command such a huge following in this form of social media, and is often seen making use of it to further causes deserving attention as well as to patriotism. It may not mean a lot to some people but his immense following grants him power to propagate ideas, and discourse far beyond a normal social media user. Here are his answers to the questions we asked him. 1) Why did you join Twitter? I really joined twitter accidentally; one of ...

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Karachi’s crime malaise

Karachi, with a population of nearly 20 million, has its fair share of problems like all other major metropolitans. Its weary residents have had to put up with a multitude of problems, including  a huge slum population, frequent power cuts and poor infrastructure. However, few cities have as bad a reputation for crime, particularly street crime, as Karachi. Be it mobile snatching, car theft, robberies at ATMs or traffic signals, there will be few Karachiites who do not have some sort of a story to tell of their or their acquaintances’ encounters with street crime. Many will be quick to attribute ...

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The warm smiles on their faces and things we take for granted

I was out shopping one day, when I was stopped in the parking lot of a super market by the sound of a dhol and voices of children singing. Right there, I saw a sight that warmed my heart and made me smile with genuine awe. A few children, between the ages of seven and eleven, clad in ragged clothes, in a condition that clearly said “deprived”, were sitting in a circle playing the dhol on the footpath. They had around them a few used boxes of KFC. Singing, laughing, and engaged in some cheerful discussion, these minors seemed oblivious to ...

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Female genital mutilation in Pakistan, and beyond

Warning: The following article contains information that readers may find uncomfortable or disturbing to read “Female genital mutilation is a torture, not a culture.” Alice Walker According to the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined as all “procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” The process is carried out for a wide number of reasons, none of which have positive health implications. As a social cause, young girls and their families are pressurized to surrender to the tradition of FGM that has been carried out ...

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Indian team in England: Disappointing!

When Parveen Kumar is your go to bowler, you know trouble is brewing. This is something India and Dhoni will never forget! A series that was billed as the clash of the titans, and was hyped up as a marquee series for months, has unfolded to be truly one sided, as the former number one team in the world spiraled down in style. Virender Sehwag, who was touted as India’s great savior after defeats in the first two tests, lasted only eight minutes at the crease and recorded his first ever king pair for his efforts, as India surrendered ...

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Islambad diaries: Here comes McCain, now start the tantrums

The good cop-bad cop routine has become such a cliche of television cop shows that it is unlikely anyone would still bother employing it. Anyone other than the US, that is. When the Americans desperately need something from Pakistan, like the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, they send John Kerry, a master of diplomacy and equivocation, here. If they just want to complain and throw a tantrum the ill-tempered John McCain is deployed. That was the case during his August 13 visit as McCain bluntly told Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that Pakistan needed to end its recent policy ...

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