Stories published in November, 2011

I am a victim of liberal fascism

It was about three years ago when the infamous tableeghi jamaat (missionary faction) rang my door bell and humbly invited me to join them in congregation.Without pondering too much on the possible implications of my actions, I decided to give it a try. They inspired me, and I started spending more and more time with them, and soon, I fully ‘converted’. Since I come from a so-called ‘moderate’ family background, my conversion was greeted with sheer hostility. According to my uncle, I now look like a part of the Taliban, as I now sport a beard. To these ‘liberals’, my conversion ...

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Some security should trump freedom

For a long time after 9/11, the US was faced with the question: how much should it be willing to sacrifice its liberty to keep its citizens safe? The US Patriot Act was signed into law rather hastily, riding on the fear that America was under threat and drastic measures were needed to counter it. There was invasion of privacy, arrests were made on suspicion alone and let’s not even discuss Guantanamo Bay. Law enforcement agencies were criticised, abused and, in some cases justifiably so, after incidents of torture and misuse of authority became common. In Pakistan, all of this happens ...

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Two Golds and five Silvers! Well done Pakistan

People view the IT and software industry of Pakistan as a fledgling market. It does not get a lot of media attention and there are many rumours and speculation about what is actually being developed in these offices. However, this industry has behemoth competition, not just from our neighbours, but within the region itself. Our IT and software sector has an organization, which acts as an umbrella body representing and grooming products and companies to pitch to the world, called [email protected] or Pakistan Software Houses Association. A month ago [email protected] held the ICT awards in Pakistan, where they selected 18 ...

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Are toilets a human right?

This weekend was one of the year’s most auspicious days. A day that the WTO prides itself on and purportedly uses to create awareness of a problem facing 2.6 billion people. A day best celebrated sitting down. I am, of course, referring to World Toilet Day, and if you’re confused, that’s not the World Trade Organisation, it’s the World Toilet Organisation. This ‘other’ WTO has organised ‘Big Squats’ globally ever since the WTD began being commemorated since 2001. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), the website does not elaborate on what a ‘Big Squat’ is, but simply says that “WTO would ...

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Pakistan cricket: Being bad has never been this good

Having watched the whole Test series and the third ODI last night, there is no doubt in my mind that Pakistan should officially be labelled as the most unpredictable cricket team of all time. The theme might sound to some as being repetitive or cliché, but the men in green can be so exhilarating and so exasperating in the same breath that you just can’t stop marvelling at the erratic nature of their game play and even more so at the results they keep coming up with in spite of it. Even though it is near foolishness to try and predict what the Pakistani ...

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Bollywood, give us something new!

The Indian film industry just copies ideas from wherever it can. Be it from China, Arab countries, Pakistan or the USA, Bollywood has turned in to mere replica. This is why I had to stop watching Indian movies. What happened to the good old days, when a movie was just based on a good story line and didn’t have fancy animations? Recently I saw low-budget movies like ‘Dou Dunni Char’ and ‘Love Express.’ Now these films really have substance. They don’t rely solely on dance and songs. Even high-cost comedies do not have any content these days. It is the low-budget ...

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Prostitution in the land of the pure

Whenever I hear the word ‘prostitute’  the first image that comes to mind is an inappropriately dressed woman standing in filthy streets waiting for a client. The discussion on the issue how cruel the profession is to women – their empty, hungry stomachs forcing them to sell their bodies in order to buy bread for the family. But let’s think for a moment; what about all the men, the children, and the teenagers that engage in such acts? In Pakistan, the topic of prostitution is taboo – one that is hardly ever discussed. It is difficult to describe or understand the ...

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Discourse on corruption: an exercise in futility

If there’s one thing that captures public imagination in this country, it’s the phenomenon of corruption. The very word, thrown around in public discourse by politicians, talk show hosts and drawing room conversationalists, is as omnipresent as the occurrence of the phenomenon itself. Although the idea of ‘scourging’ Pakistan of corrupt politicians appeals to our morality-crazed middle class, my argument is that this paradigm is an inherently flawed way of viewing the problem. Asking Nawaz Sharif or President Zardari to declare their assets is not going to rid the country of corruption – and here is why. Corruption and fraud are ...

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Let transgenders vote!

It appears to be the season for new voter demographics. With perhaps the largest, long-dormant voting segment – the Pakistani youth – finally energised to cast their ballots in the upcoming elections, it is heartening to see that a much smaller and traditionally ostracised segment of the population will also be voting next year. The latest decision, on the part of the Supreme Court, to register transgenders as voters could not have come at a better time. Tentative estimates put the ‘third gender’ population in Pakistan between 80,000 and 300,000 people, and SC Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhery, has ordered ...

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Puss in boots: A kitty with claws

If you liked Shrek, you’re going to love Puss in Boots. This is the story about the orange tabby cat, first introduced in Shrek 2, another cat, and an egg. It delves in to the exciting life of Puss before he met the green ogre and Donkey. Watching Puss in Boots made me realise three things: 1) Cats are funny 2) Self-obsessed Spanish cats in high-heeled musketeer boots are even funnier 3) Vain Spanish cats voiced by a husky Antonio Banderas are flat-out hilarious. The movie starts with Puss escaping a bounty hunter. He learns that the magic beans he has been searching for are ...

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