Stories published in September, 2011

Niqab, blasphemy and the life of an 8th grader

A shocking example of the severity of ignorance within our society is the blasphemy case against an eighth grade Christian girl, based on something as trivial as a spelling error. Faryal Bhatti, a student at the Sir Syed Girls High School in Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) colony in Havelian, accidently misspelt ‘naat’ as ‘laanat’ in an Urdu exam while answering a question on a poem written in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). While the blasphemy law and its affect on minority rights – who ironically it was meant to protect – has been part a controversy whirlwind this past year, the fact ...

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PTI going from potential to serious ‘spoiler’?

The faint but unmissable whiff of electioneering is in the Islamabad air. The general elections might be two years away, but political parties and potential candidates are already aligning themselves to ensure the political winds do not sweep them away. The greatest potential for a surprising change, according to a worker of the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) group who has worked in the Punjab, comes from dissatisfied members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), specifically those aligned with chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. These members are not only unhappy with Nawaz Sharif’s leadership of the party, they also fear that ...

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Should I light a candle or curse the darkness?

This weekend had me pondering over the mugging I faced recently while returning from office in one of Karachi’s most secure areas. It was truly an unnerving experience. It is not an uncommon occurrence to be mugged just opposite two well-guarded hotels of Karachi, in the presence of a couple of Rangers mobiles just a stone’s throw away, and the police too standing nearby –  after all it is Karachi meri jaan. However, I was bewildered by the shocking response I got from the security personnel around me just seconds after the incident. A Rangers officer said: “I’m on official duty and can’t ...

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Dd-d-dengue-eee

When I hear of people parting ways with their mental well-being in Lahore, I can relate with their despondency. When I hear of superstition defining remedial measures, I understand the urgency for a cure. The appearance of only three mosquito bites on my arm made me visit the darkest chambers of my mind. I was sitting in the office, my eyes transfixed on the screen before me, when my ears picked up a familiar tune and I reached out for my cell phone vibrating in the corner. A very short conversation it was; all I remember was discussing the screening ...

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Controversially yours – Shoaib Akhtar turns back the clock!

A new chapter to the history of one of the most controversial cricketers to ever grace the game was added as Shoaib Akhtar’s autobiography was launched in India on Friday. Akhtar is supposedly the fastest bowler that the game has ever seen and is best remembered not only for bowling missiles that had stumps after stumps flying all around the ground but also for his antics off the field which included fights with the PCB,  many disciplinary hearing and suspensions. His long run up to the bowling crease was as talked about as his driving around in an expensive sports ...

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Who says the blind can’t see magic tricks?

The C Magic series  features Magic Ali, who claims to be a wizard and not just a magician. He emphasizes that he is the real deal, so much so that he demonstrates how he made it possible for the visually impaired to partake in his magic trick.  Narrating an event where someone from his audience asked him to show his blind friend a trick, Magic Ali states that it was only then that he realized that magic has a lot of visual appeal, and one needs to see the conjuration to follow and appreciate it. He, thus, found a way to make ...

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How schools can cope with increasing violence

Living in Karachi is no mean feat. And the recent bomb blast that targeted CID police official Chaudhry Aslam Khan’s house in the Defence Housing Authority and claimed eight lives is a recent reminder of that. It is unfortunate and rather alarming, that the area is home to many schools. The CAS, being one, suffered heavy damage because of which the school was closed for a few days. Considering the current scenario, it is pertinent that children are made more aware of what to do in an emergency situation and for this, schools should offer first-aid workshops and make attendance mandatory ...

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Slam and dunk: Wasim vs Afridi

“Afridi is making things too complicated for the PCB. Cricket is a team game and not an individual sport. You have to treat the interests of the team and the management above your individual preferences.” These were the words of former fast bowler and batsman Wasim Akram to ESPN  in response to Shahid Afridi’s retirement decision. It definitely seems as though Afridi is a a little confused. He announced his retirement earlier this year after differences with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on May 30.  He said: “I won’t play for Pakistan under the current PCB set-up. Self-respect is something I hold in high esteem and ...

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The algebra of happiness

We spend the greater  part of our lives calculating, constructing, accumulating and chasing our perceived parameters of happiness. Such parameters are usually the rational outcome of pre-established formulas and algebraic equations that have been fed to our brains by the more accomplished happiness seekers and by our interdependent social structures. Interestingly, the recognized achievers of this unparalleled feeling have also constructed their algebra based on collective judgment and the common societal beliefs. Under the simplest of formula, we are told that happiness is the derivative of good education, followed by a great job, tons of wealth, a happy family life ...

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Dastaan: History on TV

Dastaan, a Hum TV production, is probably the most gripping modern day ode to the beauty and simplicity of  pre-partition life. Written by Razia Butt, Dastaan depicts the love story of Hasan (Fawad Khan) and Bano (Sanam Baloch) – a romance which is shred to pieces by the gruesome and gory separation of 1947. The drama starts off as a tender series of events between the couple, but later morphs into a saga full of blood, greed and lust. This turn of events hurls Bano, the quintessential Pakistani girl,  into the arms of madness, because she is devastated by the ...

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