Stories published in November, 2011

The US media’s (biased) version of the NATO attack

While the Pakistani media paid serious attention to NATO strikes on a check-post near the Afghan border, the US media seemed to defend the incident with its biased reporting. A blog on the TIME magazine website rejected the concept of a proper border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The post states that: “there is no well-defined difference between the Pakistani military and anti-American insurgents crowded along (the) rugged frontier.” The report by Mark Thompson concludes that the American forces mistook Pakistani forces as Taliban militants by accident and were confused about the border demarcation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps Thompson does not know that the ...

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For Shah Mehmood Qureshi, it’s about logic, not emotion

Shah Mahmood Qureshi finally decided which party to join. He held a large rally, and in true political style announced that he was joining PTI. While Qureshi was making this announcement, I could imagine Marvi Memon smiling to herself, thinking she is likely to take a similar route. Now, here is the thing; firstly anyone who thought this was not going to happen was kidding themselves, and secondly what Qureshi has done and what Marvi Memon and many other are going to do is the smart thing to do — joining a party that ...

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Where did that desi wedding magic go?

Pakistani weddings are high on my list of reasons I would like to move back to Pakistan. Unlike some of my other ex-pat friends who went to a wedding when they were four-years-old and don’t remember any of it, thanks to desi family traditions I have gone to a gazillion weddings and enjoyed them to my heart’s content. From dance practices to assigning the least attractive jora (outfit) to the valima I love it all. Thinking back to a wedding I attended a couple weeks ago, however, I found myself yearning for the old-fashioned weddings with all the quaint traditions. And so, ...

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Nudity, Niqab and the illusion of ‘free choice’

Today, I read what are possibly the most beautiful opening words of any essay or opinion piece ever. It went like this:  “When a woman is the sum total of her headscarf and hymen – that is, what’s on her head and what is between her legs – then nakedness and sex become weapons of political resistance.” This comes from a powerful essay by Mona Eltahawy in the Guardian, called “Egypt’s Naked Blogger is a Bomb Aimed at the Patriarchs in Our Mind” (Eltahawy was recently sexually assaulted and beaten by police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, her left hand and right ...

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Balochistan: Hunger strike for not teaching?

Last week about 100 teachers of state-run schools in Balochistan launched a hunger-strike “unto death” outside the Quetta Press Club to pressurize the government into issuing a notification for the acceptance of their demands. They asked for a restructuring of their pay scale, conveyance allowance, and investigation into embezzled money. This sort of activity is quite popular in Balochistan. Teachers of state-run schools often resort to protest for a rise in pay scales, particularly when the annual examinations are near, in order to exert maximum pressure on the government. Teachers from far flung areas also turned up to this protest in Quetta only to show their strength, ...

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US playing Call of Duty…in FATA

The ever so popular first-person shooter game has a new instalment. As the world awaits the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the excitement builds as gamers prepare for the chance to get their hands on the game. I’ve also spent a lot of time playing the previous versions of this game. There are brutal ways to kill soldiers of the opposing army, an adrenaline-pumping style of game-play and new technology that makes warfare a lot of fun. If you get multiple kills without dying, you get to control the Valkerie missiles which allow you to guide where ...

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Can Kabaddi ever be taken seriously?

Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi. Dope, dope, dope. The biggest highlight of the Kabaddi World Cup 2011 earlier this month was not that India won the tournament but the fact that 45 players failed the dope test in a single event. The tournament featured 14 teams, but by the time it finished there were only 12 teams officially named at the closing ceremony. This is primarily because Australia was expelled as five of its players were tested positive for dope. The organisers, additionally, banned the US from the tournament before the semifinals as three of its players refused to take the dope test ...

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Slaps won’t get us anywhere

India is in in the midst of a violent clash today – a clash between headlines and history. Too many headlines over the last few years have blurred our vision, and suddenly we find ourselves in chaos. The shrill voices discord that we thought we had left behind have let themselves loose on the consciousness of a nation. The nation that is angry over the political menopause of the Opposition party which has lost vigour at a time when the youth population is expanding. In a rush to garner attention, a devious political agenda is being put forward which might ...

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Google isn’t an MD

Am I a turncoat? Having spent the better half of my adult life denigrating technology, computers, internet, Facebook and so on, I have finally been converted. Yes, I am now learning how to operate the computer, make an email account and type. My reservations about social networking are basically privacy issues. People want a witness to their lives. It gives them an angle to ventilate, express, and validate their opinions, mistakes, grievances, aspirations and so on. However, it is an intrusive social network , giving so much access to others about the mundane everydayness of your lives. If I had ...

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When grown men fight, Mirza,our nation dies

Being optimistic is an uphill task in the best of times in our chequered past and present. It takes quite a lot to indulge along the elusive lines of buoyancy and change for the future, considering all the mess we have created for ourselves, right from the political playing field to the murky arena of sports. Recently, my sense of optimism got a stark beating, if not a down-right reality check. A lot has already been written about the tirades of and against Zulfiqar Mirza. Interesting and entertaining at the same time, I never thought that Mirza would help me ...

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