Stories published in September, 2011

Women can drive

As much as I hate Karachi’s traffic, I unfortunately work at a place situated far from my house and have to drive my way to work. Whilst driving, I am always surprised to see how drivers around are so loathful to women drivers. Call me a feminist, but I’m totally against the cliché that women are bad drivers. They are not. I have seen many men displaying berserk driving skills on the roads. Women are just underrated. Since I have been driving for a long time now; I have come across different people that have given me tough looks for driving. ...

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Bhai log: Unintentional self-parody

Director Syed Faisal Bukhari, in Bhai Log (which literally translates to ‘Brother People’), has either made one of the worst movies ever to grace the silver screen, or a piece of satirical genius. I have trouble deciding, because I refuse to believe a director could be so blissfully unaware of his work diving to such depths in the pool of unintended self-parody. My interest in the film actually began after a friend invited me to join them for a viewing at Karachi’s premium movie theater, Atrium Cinemas. At first I was reluctant, but the feeling quickly dissipated after the ...

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Army man: Move away, please

The common phrase which describes freedom of expression goes something like this:  “Your freedom ends where my nose begins”. Personal space must be respected, but man does not often care for such trivialities. Fortunately, living in a civil land, rules and laws dictate what yours, mine, or anyone else’s freedom is. A few days ago, as I was heading to work, I saw the heavens part and the sun shone down in quite a magical manner. Being in relative proximity to my apartment, I retraced my steps, got my camera and attempted to preserve what I had seen. Parking my car by the ...

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Sindh’s schools don’t need Mandarin

Historically, Pakistan and China have enjoyed cordial relations. China is our all weather friend and one of the biggest investors in the country. In 2007 Chinese investment in Pakistan was valued at $4 billion, and it was estimated to have grown to $15 billion by 2010. Therefore, when Chief Minister of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah announced that Mandarin, could become a compulsory subject across schools in Sindh from 2013  it seemed to be a very practical proposition. After all, China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Having expertise in Mandarin, China’s official language, will certainly help Pakistanis in getting ...

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Rehmat cries for Salmaan Taseer

Today, when the MQM-Mirza conflicts have shifted most people’s interest from Indian soaps to Pakistani news channels and local conspiracy theorists declare dengue fever an American agenda; when Shahbaz Taseer has still not returned home and most people prefer Aafia Siddiqi over Taseer, I want to share something with you – something that you may not find as interesting at all, but still… This real account includes incidents that take this story beyond me or the people related to it – it is a story relatable to every citizen of our decaying country. It all begain in March on Faiz’s centennial when ...

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Video Blog: Dog fights…culture and cruelty

Dog fighting is a blood sport that has been practised for centuries around the world. In Pakistan dog fighting is also a popular sport; a fighter dog takes two years to get ready for fighting. It’s a knockout game, once a dog loses a fight, it cannot qualify in any tournament in Pakistan ever again. This film is on a dog fight tournament held in Sargodha. This video was originally posted on Maati.tv ________________________________________________ [poll ...

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Let’s love Pakistan: A new resolution

I’ve often been accused of being a killjoy. I mean, I’m not inherently morose or anything cool like that; it’s just that I take the little anomalies of everyday life a little too seriously. This usually forces me to over think stuff, which leads me to notice again and again the not-so-proverbial glass in its half-filled ignominy, which in turn causes me to be incessantly bitter and irritable with the way things generally run in this country. Yes, living my everyday life in poor broken Pakistan certainly helps make things much, much worse! Last month however, a few days before the Independence Day, ...

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Dar’s the way I like it

Transparency International gave Pakistan a rating of 2.3 on its 2010 rankings. This puts Pakistan amongst the top 50 most corrupt nations in the world. Zimbabwe scored better. Cricket too, which is the most beloved sport, followed passionately by the majority of Pakistanis, has not been spared. Our promising top talent has time and again been caught in rather suspect conditions. The PCB board has also had its own share of stories that make us cringe. It’s not just the corruption at the governmental and institutional level that bothers me. It is the attitude of the man on the street towards ...

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Salaam from Tokyo

While we’re still arguing about whether there’s life after death, can we add another question to the cart? Is there life after democracy? Arundhati Roy On March 13, 2011, outspoken Indian writer, critic and essayist Arundhati Roy was supposed to dilate on this subject at the prestigious International House of Japan, Tokyo. The destructive tsunami two days earlier, however, swept this programme as well. The massive destruction threatened to knock off the Asia Leaders’ Fellowship Programme (ALFP) as well. But the will and sheer hard work of the meticulously organized Japanese prevented this year’s Programme from falling apart. And when seven ...

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Masjids and more: An American in Lahore

As an undergraduate in college, I spent almost every waking hour learning Arabic—if I wasn’t in my daily Arabic class, I was practicing the language with my peers over a warm cup of coffee. We were given a hefty amount of homework each night, and the wee hours in the morning always found me in the library with my head buried in my Arabic textbook. Still, the effort was worth it, because after three years of learning the language, I was able to do what I had always wanted; read and understand the Quran in its original language, Arabic. If I may ...

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