Stories published in October, 2011

Blame the West: of inequality and duplicity

Pakistan, in addition to the myriads of socio-economic problems and political instability, is also one of the most unequal countries in the world. Our economic affluence is restricted to a select few – our homes, academic opportunities,  state institutions and overall society cater to a specific segment of populace. Our Gini Coefficient of 68 (according to US state department report in 2006) is a  testament enough to the grotesque inequality in our society. My point of contention, however, is related to how segments of our society have gone about addressing the problem. Specifically, how have the ‘mullah defenders’, so bent on instituting ...

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Raped on Christmas

 A 12-year-old Christian girl was gang raped repeatedly, forced to convert to Islam and was then married to one of her attackers in Lahore. I got to know about this case a few days ago, and since then, I have not been able to overcome feelings of disgust and sorrow. I have been unable to sleep. An FIR was filed against unknown people on January 5, 2011 – FIR No 18/11, to the Factory Area Police Station, district Shaikhupura, Lahore. When I called the concerned police station to make inquiries the sub-inspector was hesitant to talk about the incident. However, when I strictly asked him ...

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Autism: A league of their own

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition not very widely known in Pakistan, although in the last 20 years, there has been a staggering increase of 600 per cent in the number of diagnosed cases of autism in the US. People on the Autism Spectrum Disorder are generally believed to have developmental disabilities that hamper social and communication skills. My interest in autism emerged in college, when I attended a seminar which was organised to raise awareness on the issue. Learning that great minds like Einstein, Jonathan Swift and Glenn Gould were speculated to be autistic, I became interested in understanding ...

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What your Facebook profile picture says about you

Sigmund Freud printed Interpretation of Dreams one hundred and eleven years ago. I’m sure he’s turning in his grave right this minute because I’m about to pay tribute to his great work in psychology with one of the most shallow representations of our personalities. I am about to embark on the noble mission of interpreting the many profile pictures I have come across on Facebook. Please find below my analysis of the top seven worst profile pictures: 1. The ‘I’m too hot to handle’ teenage girl Description: Hugging a bear and/or posing with a commode visible in the background. The pouty face is mandatory, of course. The low-down: ...

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The life of an abused woman

In this video a young woman by the name of Allahrakhi, from the Panah Shelter in Karachi, Pakistan, is interviewed. For her entire life, Allahrakhi has known nothing but sadness and misery. Orphaned as a very young child, her uncle took her and her siblings in, only to deprive them of their father’s wealth and make them bonded labour. On getting married, Allahrakhi was again subjected to abuse; she was beaten often and severely by her husband. Her sister-in-laws-, too were cruel. They did not allow her new clothes or food, and kept poisoning her husband against her . Later, when her child was born, ...

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10 reasons why Vampire Diaries is way better than Twilight

After I finished reading the Twilight Saga I swore to myself that never again would I indulge in another vampire romance story. My oath remained unbroken for the next few months, until that one memorable day when my friend and I were on the way home from school. “Oh guess what!” she said excitedly. “I started watching Vampire Diaries and, oh my God, the guys are so hot. You have to watch it.” The next thing I knew I was sitting in front of the computer, about to click play on the first ...

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Muhammad Ali: An unexpected inspiration

I’ve never been involved in a proper fist-fight, but somehow I’ve found inspiration in the form of a former professional boxer. If that isn’t ironic enough, do take note of the fact that I generally find boxing to be a cruel sport. No offense to anyone connected to boxing, but isn’t the objective of each bout to explicitly beat your opponent down to a pulp? It’s beyond me really. What isn’t beyond me, though, is admiration for one of the greatest boxing legends of all time: Muhammad Ali. Ali provides two-fold inspiration. Firstly, he was quite the fighter! One only needs ...

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Pakistan’s love-hate relationship with the US

Once upon a time what united Pakistanis was hatred against India. Now the nation has set its sights higher: it is now the US that brings out the worst passions in us. India has quietly receded to the background despite the fact that it is busy building dams on rivers allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty and is massively upgrading its army’s arsenal. On the other hand, the US, which has come to our aid every time we started a needless conflict, has become enemy number one. Had the US not forced India to cease fire during the ...

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Rehman Malik does not deserve a PhD

Our Interior Minister Rehman Malik has been awarded a PhD degree for his remarkable efforts in bringing peace to the country, specifically to Karachi. He now joins the ranks of 5,300 PhD scholars in Pakistan and sits amongt the top rung of the educated population. Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, who is also the Chancellor of the University of Karachi, conferred the degree on Senator Abdul Rehman Malik in a special convocation held at the Governor House.  The degree was awarded by the syndicate of Karachi University who justified this award with the words: “(for providing) matchless services to the country in the war ...

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Many Mumtaz Qadris: We are children of hate

Many decades ago Rafiq Sabir entered a Gujarati businessman’s palace-like home in Bombay. Almost 60 minutes after this intrusion, he was led out, handcuffed, by policemen. The charge against him was that he had attacked ‘a leader of a religious party for political reasons’. This leader survived the attack and went on to create a country where sixty-eight years later ‘another Rafiq Sabir’ attacked ‘a leader of a political party for religious reasons’. The snake was taught another language, the venom was given another colour but their effectiveness was undiminished. Today, an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis hold in respect a ...

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