Stories published in October, 2011

Who’s keeping the media honest?

There was once a famous conspiracy theory which accused news media of pandering to a select lobby and manipulating the masses. For quite some time, I dismissed such claims as grade ‘A’ YouTube regurgitations. However, as social media evolved and began providing more than just couch entertainment, it became increasingly clear that everything is not black and white. The events of this year, from the Arab Spring to the ongoing ‘Occupy’ protests world wide remind us that technology has, as always, favoured freedom. Real time availability of news from all quarters of the world is a press of a button away on ...

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From Osama to Qaddafi: Grieving for the rest of the world

Pakistanis are one of the most compassionate nations in the world, it seems, for whenever anyone dies anywhere in the Muslim world, a group of Pakistanis will gather to pray for the departed soul. However, there is a special requirement to qualify to be prayed for in Pakistan: you must have killed and tortured thousands and be recognised as a tyrant the world over. A case in point is that of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, for whom not only funerals in absentia were organised, University of Punjab students even held a competition to pay tribute to ‘Sheikh Osama’. Admittedly ...

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Six and the City leaves Manchester blue

‘Six and the City’ is the new comedy drama every footballing nation is talking about since last Sunday. I’m not referring to the hit TV series – this is far more serious. It is the new tag line for the football fixture held this  Sunday between the two bitter rivals Manchester United Football Club (MUFC) and Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) in England. ‘Six and the City’ refers to the 6-1 thrashing that Manchester United FC received at the hands of Manchester City FC. Manchester United has given Manchester City a torrid time over the years, and must I say ...

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9 stupid questions you hear when you wear hijab

I wear a hijab, and contrary to popular belief, I am not sheltered. I have a thriving social life and enjoy talking to different people. However, I am always amused and sometimes irked with the looks of curiosity people direct towards me. Even though the hijab is becoming a popular fashion trend in most countries, and in some as an act of rebellion there a few people are still suspicious of it.  I have come across some hilarious questions -being a polite person, I generally don’t answer as I would wish to. But if  I did answer these questions the way I wanted to this is ...

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The Three Musketeers: Ridiculous, not ridiculous fun

Very early on in The Three Musketeers, the servant Planchet (James Kimberley Corden), in a scene that falls distinctly flat, is discourteously awoken while sleeping on the balcony, by loads of pigeon droppings on the face. In more ways than one, this failed scene sums up the entire film; not only does The Three Musketeers stumble clumsily from passage to passage, but on the whole, for viewers, feels like having pigeon poop dropped on one.  Directed by Paul WS Anderson, whose career highlights include mediocre video game based films like Mortal Kombat (1995), ...

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Nusrat Bhutto didn’t need a public holiday

It seems declaring a public holiday is one chore the government does best. Any opportunity or the slightest of pretext is grabbed by both hands – and feet – that have now become so lethargic that a two-day weekend is effectively achieved. Political parties find it almost routine to declare a public holiday when they please and shutter-down strikes seem to be observed every other day. Let alone the loss businesses or labour suffers, it casts a doubt on the country’s ability to be productive and sends out a wrong message to impressionable youth who believe it’s alright to slack ...

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“My family thinks I’m disgusting”

Transgenders are often forced to live under miserable conditions in Pakistan. Society does not accept them and they live as outcasts who are discriminated against in every field of life. This treatment extends not only to strangers but the family of transgenders too, who disown them and may even beat them till they are forced to leave their homes.  In this video we learn of the humiliation they are regularly made to suffer. People not only mock and ridicule them, they do not allow transgenders to study alongside them in school. Many eunuchs are, thus, forced to live a life of begging, ...

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Speaking imperfectly among the perfect

She said “core”. Not “choir” but “core”. The person she said it to was perplexed for a minute, before it dawned on them that the word “choir” had been mangled. As the story made the rounds in school, for a little while, everyone listened, chuckled and was amused by the girl who said core not choir. It was an easy enough mistake to make in a country where English is not a first language for many. It was cruel and mean-spirited to make fun of that girl. Some people would argue that they were just school kids. But would you ...

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Pakistan’s approach defies logic

Test cricket has been losing its edge in the day and age of T20 slam bang cricket. Who would you want to watch David Warner or Chris Gayle bludgeoning sixes or Asad Shafiq playing as though he were playing  a timeless test match? It is fairly natural for all of us to look for some excitement in test matches. Pakistan had a golden opportunity to bring back the flare that it is famous for – unfortunately, Misbah and his men decided to play for a draw on a pitch that provided very little chance of allowing ten wickets to ...

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Hillary Clinton: She came, she saw, she befuddled

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan has left the civilian and military leadership here more perplexed than ever. As one foreign office official put it: “If you think we have differences between the government and the army, it is nothing compared to the Americans.” During her talks, both public and private, Clinton stressed on peace, going so far as to tell a questioner at her town hall-style question and answer session that the US would be looking to Pakistan to help with peace talks rather than military operations. This emphasis ...

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