Stories published in September, 2011

Children died in Karachi today

Today’s bomb blast at SSP CID Chaudary Aslam’s house was a rude awakening. Suicide bomb blasts are common place in Karachi now and have made us all dangerously thick-skinned.  In the aftermath of such news, I for one am usually thankful that I don’t live near the area under attack and am glad to see my family safe, but beyond the immediate effect it has on my life, I am completely undeterred from and do not let it affect my day’s activities. This is to some extent a necessary approach to take, for if we ...

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Jinnah’s Pakistan, hijacked by clerics

With the partition of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan came into existence on August 14, 1947. The valiant and astute Muhammad Ali Jinnah led the minority Muslim community of united India to a separate homeland to fulfill the demand for freedom of religion, profession, and speech. Jinnah was an outstanding lawyer who had studied law in London. He had a modern outlook on the world and was strongly secular. Part of the oath under which he took office reads: “No subject … in Pakistan shall, on grounds only of religion, place of birth, descent, color or any of them be ineligible for office.” He was ...

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I saw elections in Denmark, and I’m impressed

While we’re still arguing about whether democracy is a good form of government or not in Pakistan, the people of the Kingdom of Denmark have elected their first ever female Prime Minister. Interestingly, the 15th of September is celebrated as World Democracy Day; the same day democracy has won in this Scandinavian country. While Denmark has enjoyed an excellent reputation for respecting human rights and promoting equality among its citizens, for the period of a decade it has had stringent immigration laws on visa applicants in order to restrict immigration. The country already has one of the most restrictive immigration ...

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Secularism, ‘patriotism’ and Marvi Sirmed

Surfing along my Facebook newsfeed like any other day, today I came across a link a contact of mine had shared. It was titled, “Marvi Sirmed exposed again”. I watched the 10 minute video clip of Miss Sirmed on a current affairs show, making what I thought was perfect sense. The other guests on the show disagreed strongly with what she had to say, but could only support their argument by calling her anti-Islamic. Posted under the link were a flood of comments written in very bad taste against Marvi. Besides those that were too profane to mention, she was ...

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Google Plus: Epic Fail

If Google+ crashes and nobody is using it at the time, does it make a sound? When I told my friends that Google+ was dying, they looked at me puzzled. Turns out they couldn’t believe it wasn’t already 6-feet under. Google was already in every nook and cranny of your private life but it wanted to dig deeper. The company came out with a Facebook clone to do this and is even now congregating and contextualizing all the very possibly embarrassing data that it has on your life using its new social network. However, somewhere along the way to Google competing with Facebook, ...

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Omar Mansoor: A collection for princesses

Getting into the London Fashion Week is a big deal for even the most established fashion designers. Getting into the London Fashion Week five years in a row is absolutely commendable. Last night saw Omar Mansoor display his collection at his fifth appearance at the London Fashion Week, at Charing Cross Hotel. The collection was reminiscent of fairytale princesses and the softest cotton candy; allegedly, it has been inspired by the exhibition of the Enchanted Palace at Kensington. The Enchanted Palace reveals hidden stories from the lives of the seven princesses who once lived there. The elements of pain, sadness, and ...

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Cricket: We cheated

Disgraced and banned fast bowler, Muhammad Amir has finally seen sense and has confessed to spot fixing during that ill-fated tour of England. Mr Ijaz Butt, the famous Chairman of the PCB, promptly called the English cheats and there was a furore in England over this too. Well, our fantastic ambassador to England joined the fray and caused even more damage, if possible. Pakistan, thus thoroughly disgraced itself at an international forum. The PCB initially supported the accused trio, Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir. However, they suddenly saw the light and backed off. Perhaps, they considered all the ...

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A calamity shower

As monsoons arrived in 1857, Ghalib wrote to a correspondent: “Now that rains have been mentioned let me just say that [Delhi has witnessed in quick succession] a rebellion by the black, an assault by the white, a testing time of demolition of houses, a crisis caused by epidemic and a calamitous famine.” Our own season of abundant rains this year looks like a fair match. Briefly: a treacherous campaign by terrorist suicides, a quake called Zulfiqar Mirza, a crisis called target killing, a dengue fever epidemic and a calamitous rain. To be fair, the terrorist suicides are by now part ...

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What Turkey has done right

Turkey is turning heads. A few weeks ago the top brass of the entire Turkish army resigned– an act that could have previously brought down whatever democratic government was at the helm- but Prime Minister Erdogan reacted coolly and appointed a new army chief. The present AKP (Justice and Development Party) government has slowly chipped away the power of the deep state. Moreover many have alluded to Turkey’s pluralism and democracy as an example for all Muslim countries to follow. Turkey was also the fastest growing country in the world last year, with a growth rate of just over 9%. ...

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Capitalism need not apologise

To those who have watched the financial crises of the United States and Europe unfolding with glee and pronounced with unabashed joy that capitalism is about to die, or at the very least, humbled, I have some very bad news: capitalism is very much here to stay and is not about to apologise to anyone for the mess the world is in. Most Pakistanis do not think about how the economy should be organised, but it is surprising that amongst the few that do, a large number does not believe that the nation’s economic foundations should be built upon the ...

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