Stories published in October, 2011

A journalist’s journey

I have in front of me Safar Aadhi Sadi ka (Half a Century’ Journey), an autobiography by late Abdul Karim Abid, a famous journalist. It’s a journey full of detours, as should probably be expected considering Abid was not the kind of journalist who kept himself to professional matters. He was in fact the kind of person who participates in and is part of the political goings-on of his times. When such a person takes to writing there is a lot in the narrative for the reader. The difficulty is a narrator who speaks of his role in what went on ...

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Shoaib Akhtar speaks the truth

I usually try to keep my personal biases and opinions aside while writing, but reading all that has been written about Shoaib Akhtar and his book has incensed me to no end. I cannot believe how easily people have started ridiculing one of the best fast bowlers this country has ever seen. And all this just for saying out loud some things which we have all always known or at least suspected to be true? For all those who question Akhtar’s class as a bowler, I would suggest a look at Criicinfo’s page on Shoaib Akhtar. For God’s sake the guy ...

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Qadri sentence: Justice served – for now

The verdict is in. The assassin will hang. Justice seems to have been served. Well, not quite yet. Almost ten months to the day when the former Punjab governor was gunned down, the lone gunman has seen his bubble burst. His ‘divinely inspired’ mission wasn’t so divine after all. He will die the way a real blasphemer would have been put to death. Except that in his case, thousands of righteously misguided individuals will take to the streets to push for his release from prison. After all, guilty or not, his followers have already made it quite clear that for them, ...

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My burning home

War drums are being beaten left, right and centre in every part of the country. Phrases like ‘America is here’, ‘attack on our sovereignty’ and ‘we’ll give them a bloody nose’ are coming out of all and sundry in the streets and everywhere. The media machinery is in full swing amplifying this rhetoric, interviewing every Tom, Dick and Harry on the roads and ‘getting them’ to speak what it wants to. Only if the common man knew what was going on behind the scenes in the corridors of power.  Ask yourselves some questions: Is this the first time our sovereignty ...

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Seven ways to score Facebook ‘likes’

Who doesn’t like to have loads of comments and ‘likes’ on their Facebook statuses, posts, photos, and so on? Don’t you hate it when someone seems to get all the attention on Facebook no matter how dull their updates? Let me give you some advice to help your profile become one of those very popular ones that you so passionately envy.  Not everyone has a sharp mind, and not everyone is witty enough to come up with hilarious thoughts that they may convert into words and update on their Facebook profiles. Of course, we all want to be one of those ...

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Pathan explains a thing or two, to Dharna dude

The characters: Dharna dude from Islamabad – loves X-box, facials, and PTI. Pathan from Peshawar – father died in a bomb blast, brother abducted by the Taliban. Dialogue ensues: Dharna dude: Hey Mr Pathan man! What kind of a Pathan are you? Don’t you know that Waziristan is under attack? Why didn’t you come to the dharna? Pathan: I don’t understand one thing, why can’t you guys do a dharna against the Taliban? I mean, against all the suicide bombings and stuff? Dharna dude: Oh my God! What is wrong with you man? Taliban is a reaction! They are fighting the big devil dude. Tell me were ...

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Campus diary : Uncertainty surrounds HEC, yet agait

The officials of Higher Education Commission (HEC) are in the state of anxiety over reports that the commission is going to be placed under the control of a new ministry, which was created last week in an apparent attempt to accommodate political allies. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani created four new ministries last week under the justification that they would handle departments which have been left with the centre after the devolution of key ministries including education, health, environment, culture, food, etc. For now, the ministry of heritage and national integration portfolio is with former PPP minister Sameena Khalid Gorki ...

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Does Mumtaz Qadri deserve to die?

“Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, has been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court today”reads the latest breaking news. Ten months after he drilled Salmaan Taseer’s body with 25 bullets  for the ‘crime’ of supporting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy Qadri has been sentenced. The former governor’s killer had been regaled as a hero and showered with rose petals. YouTube videos of him defending his actions turned the stomach. What kind of man would do this I wondered? Kill an innocent man and then proudly recite naats as if he was one of God’s chosen ...

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Shouldn’t intelligence be smarter?

It is imperative and a pre-requisite of a sound counter-terrorism (CT) strategy that a country’s intelligence community is held together by a central coordinating body. The rules of engagement have drastically changed as well as the characteristic of current and potential adversaries. Presently, the adversary is a non-state entity which cannot be contained and countered with conventional military tactics and regular intelligence processes. Pakistan is not battling a country with a visible infrastructure nor a proper command and control structure that takes orders after much strategic analysis and threat assessments. We are confronting a terrorist network. And in order to disrupt and ...

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