Stories published in November, 2011

Favouring India isn’t easy

Without cordial relations between Pakistan and India, peace in the Asian region will always remain a distant dream. Trade is the only thing  that can tie the two nations together. We know that war is not the solution to our problems and we have realized this in over 60 years of enmity. Thus, it came as a relief to me and many others, I am sure, when  a historical move on October 2, in the meeting of the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan approved a proposal granting India the status of “most favoured nation”. The step has come ...

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Yes he Khan, but he may not

To say that Imran Khan elicits mixed emotions from me is like asking me whether I like chocolate; it’s complicated. On October 30 after seeing the swarms of people collect around the Minar-e-Pakistan, I was hoping that Imran Khan would come on a white horse and sweep me off my feet; I wanted to follow him. But alas I found the content of his speech to be lacking. Despite the fact that he was able to mobilize such a large number of people, I was not ready to put the Daniyal Noorani seal of approval on him (clearly all politicians ...

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You ain’t no princess

In wake of the ceremonious lambasting of the Y-chromosome, I believe I have a right to mount a defence. Now that Pandora’s box has officially been opened and the first stone has been cast in the battle of the sexes, dare I put my own two cents in? In the past, I’ve often defended women in our present social milieu to the point where I fight to keep my own men’s club card from being revoked. I’ll lay my cards on the table and admit up front that I’m a feminist. I can sense eyebrows being raised at the concept ...

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Relax and let Siri look after you

“Hi Siri!” “Hey honey! What can I help you with?” OK, so this particular assistant isn’t quite as ‘personal’ as that, but admittedly, does sound a touch seductive, especially if you are into the whole android – pun intended – female from the future kind of thing. Siri is also smart, funny and very useful, and essentially, is like an aide for your pocket. But I am getting ahead of myself. What exactly is Siri, you ask? Well, Siri is voice-recognition based personal assistant application, integrated in the iOS5, and offered only on the iPhone 4S smartphone, which is manufactured by Apple Inc. ...

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Maybe they forgot it wasn’t Pakistan…

The conviction of Pakistani cricket players in a UK court is truly embarrassing for the nation in general and for cricket followers in particular. So what should we do next? Should we close the chapter and move on? I think we should stop, step back a little and view the entire episode in the larger context. I see it as a symptom of a disease that has spread far and deep across the length and breadth of the country. When you keep on brushing filth under the carpet for too long, it sometimes finds its way out. The spot-fixing trio ...

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The tragic tale of a Lahori vegetarian

The value of a society is usually gauged by the way they treat their minorities. Folks, I confess to being a minority. No, I am not a non-Muslim; I am not gay, or a lesbian; I am not an atheist, nor am I fat (not that there is anything wrong with that).  I am a vegetarian and I have spent most of my life answering stupid questions with uneasy looks and evasive answers. Questions like the following have often been put to me: “Why aren’t you eating anything baita (child), do you have a medical problem?” or “You don’t eat red meat, that is all right. Have some chicken?” I have had ...

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A Pakistani soldier’s Eid

This Eid-ul-Azha, like the many Eids before, I was clad in my camouflage uniform. On the second day, I had been ordered to take a convoy of rations to my troops on the barren mountains of South Waziristan. On the way there I began to feel homesick, and took a stroll down memory lane. I reminisced about my college days in Lahore, and the fun my friends and I used to have. Smiling and thinking about the alu kay parathy my mother would whip up, I felt a sudden gush of gratitude towards her for the ample love she showered on me. I ...

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Hunger in South Asia, and other man-made fiascos

We will build a bomb, even if we have to start eating grass to do it. When ZAB used these inspirational words to encourage the people of Pakistan to make sacrifices for the security of the nation, he probably didn’t know that the day would come when eating grass is an upgrade for many. The world’s population went past 7 billion last week, and the growth rate doesn’t show signs of stagnating any time soon. Amid this, the problem of world hunger continues to get more pronounced. According to the World Food Program (WFP), one in seven people around the ...

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Test cricket: Pakistan, five for five

With the third Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka ending in a draw, Pakistan managed to win yet another Test series under the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq.  This is now the fifth consecutive Test series that Pakistan has played under Misbah’s leadership. This is also the fifth consecutive Test series that Pakistan has not lost. That surely must be some sort of a record. When was the last time Pakistan played five Test series without losing even a single one? With draws against South Africa and the West Indies, and wins over Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe, Pakistan’s Test outfit is looking quite strong. These results ...

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You are so not Prince Charming

The more I interact with men, the more I realize how loathsome they are. They usually have just one thing on their minds when talking to a woman – no – make that always, and it doesn’t require a lot of imagination to think what it is. Why, I ask is that? I understand that it might have a little to do with biology and chemistry and some other sciences but it gets boring, mundane and repetitive. Even if a man has the power to hold my attention for more than a few hours with his intellect and humor, by the end ...

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