Stories published in December, 2011

How to pray (five times a day) with a busy schedule

Before I genuinely began to cultivate and nurture my relationship with God, I regarded the five daily prayers that Islam enjoins on believers as laborious. It seemed impractical to expect that I would be able to stop what I was doing during my busy work schedule to take time out and pray. Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending over 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn’t working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and ...

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Why Ashura is a ‘Holy-Day’ for all of us and not just you

I was tempted to write this article when I read another one on The Express Tribune titled ‘Muharram is your holiday, not mine’. In this blog, the writer complains about how she feels discriminated against and threatened by the Sunni sect, especially during Muharram and the day of Ashura. While my intention is not to preach my version of Islam or contradict any sect’s belief, I feel that both Shias and Sunnis fight over the wrong reasons, with each sect going to the extremes to defend its own beliefs and judge the others’ doings. For me, following the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) ...

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Bella and Edward are not role models

In the United States, Pakistan, and pretty much all around the world, the Twilight series is a huge hit. In light of the release of Breaking Dawn, it’s important to analyse some detrimental aspects of this ‘love’ story. Isabella Swan, the protagonist, is an awkward and insecure young adult. Even though she embodies characteristics that are in line with pre-adolescents and teenagers, here is my problem – her decisions make her unsuitable as a role model for teenage girls. Edward, her much older vampire love interest, is obsessive. He stalks her and watches her sleep. ...

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A field trip to a festival of hate

“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” Stephen King Teachers are entrusted by parents to help mould children into ‘good’, responsible, people. They are also trusted to tell their parents the truth about what their kids are being made to do in school. That trust is one of the most important things in the student-teacher-parent relationship. Breaching it makes one an embarrassment to the profession, and threatens the welfare of the child. In the last fortnight, there was the Gujranwala incident, where, according to this newspaper, “the local administration ordered the heads of all government schools to ...

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I love ET blogs. Here’s why…

It is sometimes argued that blogs are inconsequential, petty accounts of peoples’ personal dilemmas which are misrepresented as national issues. In a recent piece “10 things I hate about ET blogs” the writer says that blogs demand neither skill nor experience, and offer little more than tunnel-visioned narratives. Is it ironic that I’ve decided to write a blog-like account of this matter? Society under a microscope The story of one individual, say a pesky feminist, or a bitter member of a minority group, is seemingly petty and inconsequential. In a larger scheme, these stories are anything but. A society is a ...

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‘Sherry Reham’ strikes the right balance

Perhaps it was an indication of how hurried her appointment was, but when the Prime Minister’s House sent out a press release announcing the new ambassador to the US, they called the person “Ms Sherry Reham”. However her name was spelled, the redemption of Sherry Rehman is now complete and, appropriately, she has been given the country’s most important diplomatic post thanks to a two-year charm offensive to win back her doubters in the party. Sources within the party say that Sherry’s appointment was proposed and championed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ...

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The CIA recruits came to campus

Two members of America’s spy nest, the National Clandestine Service (NCS) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) visited the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh today to attract potential recruits into the spy agency. The NCS, formerly known as the Directorate of Operations (DO), is where agency trains spies in secret trade-craft for clandestine activities. The briefing lasted a little over an hour, followed by questions about the application process. The two presenters themselves were career spies. The male speaker was a Russian expert with extensive experience in the Middle East. He had military experience prior ...

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A wheelchair shouldn’t be a curse

It was just another day at work. I was enjoying my coffee and looking out of my office window at the magnificent headquarters of a renowned commercial bank close by. Admiring the architectural beauty of the building, I suddenly stopped when my eyes caught sight of a heart-wrenching sight. A man had just come out of the main door of the bank on a wheelchair and was looking extremely distressed. On closer inspection, I realized that the gentleman was wondering how to get off the beautiful platform which sprawled across the bank’s front. The platform had a grand staircase, however, ...

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What the Nato strikes mean for TTP’s jihad

The tragic killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at the hands of US-led NATO troops on 26 November 2011 gave yet another opportunity to the local and international Jihadis to ridicule Pakistan’s so-called alliance with the ‘crusaders’. The first statement by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) coming on the heels of the incident reiterated its anti-Western mantra and reminded the government that the US can never be a friend of Pakistan. Manipulating the tragedy to further humiliate the Pakistan government, the TTP spokesman declared that his organization is not holding any talks with the government of Pakistan because “it is futile to negotiate ...

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How many PMs does it take to fix an X-ray machine?

A few months ago, there was a news piece about the prime minister’s visit to the biggest hospital in the capital which resulted in a change of the X-ray machine a few weeks later. It appeared that the prime minister had visited the hospital to get a chest X-ray done, but was kept waiting owing to one of the machines being dysfunctional in the ophthalmology department. Two hours later, the dilapidated machines refused to budge due to a ‘technical fault’; if anyone was expecting a miracle it did not happen. This is a normal ordeal for an average visitor to ...

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