Stories published in December, 2011

The president’s speech: Pot shots at the Chief Justice

President Asif Ali Zardari’s speech was not what I expected it to be. It went against all predictions and rumours by different analysts that had stated that our president, in his speech at Garhi Khuda Bux, would hit back at the establishment for conspiracy against him in the Memogate scandal. Zardari, however, remained mum on the issue. Rather, in a few words he said that “the parliament is supreme and all forces come under its control.” However, most of those who witnessed his speech wondered when exactly he had asked Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry “what happened to Benazir Bhutto murder case.” ...

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Selling a kidney to end poverty

The government’s bold claims of eliminating poverty from the country are clearly derailed by the dismal state of the public health institutions. It seems that the government has found an innovative system to kill poverty by killing the poor themselves. Meanwhile, the increasing sky-rocketing inflation has also limited the common man’s access to basic health, as a large majority cannot even afford the transport expenses. In fact, this differential between the haves and have-nots is at an all-time high. It was clearly depicted recently when our president went to Dubai for his medical treatment which costs lakhs of rupees per day. I ...

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Pane and Amore: Sweet, savoury treats

Named after an Italian term that means ‘bread with love’, Pane and Amore is a fairly new café located in Shahbaz Commercial, DHA Karachi. When I visited this Italian cum Turkish styled cafe, I could smell the aroma of freshly baked products as soon as I stepped inside. The café is small, the ambiance artistic, and the food includes many snacks from sweet to savoury; cupcakes that make your mouth water, brownies, Italian sandwiches, and gourmet burgers along with a wide range of Arabic starters are some items on the menu. The menu is updated regularly. The sandwiches are made with fresh, crunchy bread, ...

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The unsung heroes of Pakistan (I)

“A hero is a man who does what he can,” Gottfried says to Jean-Christophe, in Youth Part 3: Ada, a work from Nobel Prize winning French writer, Romain Rolland. It is a simple thought, isn’t it, to be a hero by simply doing what you can? Yet, it is this simplicity that makes the thought potent, because it dictates that any one of us can be a hero by doing what we are capable of. It is a thought that many of us can take to heart, especially those living in Pakistan. Many amongst us would just turn and look the other ...

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Don’t let mullahs take over Pakistan

I had goosebumps reading the recent news that several criminals gathered in Lahore under the banner of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and aligned themselves with the Pakistan Army. Was it a conspiracy to malign the army, I wondered. Who could be behind this? You see, I have no sympathy for characters like Hafiz Saeed who have eroded Pakistani society and have pushed it in a state of profound crisis. Our health, livelihood, the quality of our environment, our social relationships, our ideology, economy, and politics have all been affected. It is a crisis of intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions; a crisis ...

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Pakistan cricket, soaring through the ranks

It wasn’t a very long time ago that words such as ‘stability’, ‘consistency’ and ‘Pakistan’ were never used in the same sentence. However, since the spot-fixing trial, it seems that the Pakistan players and the incumbents at the board have finally grown out of their primitive mind set and realised what needs to be done. The emphasis displayed on consistency in selection and backing of players has been crucial to Pakistan’s success in the one dayers and Test matches. And, of course, the fear of real jail time and extended bans seems to have worked in favour of Pakistan.  Pakistan now sits comfortably ...

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CNG blasts: Too many deaths

Following recent incidents involving CNG cylinders exploding in public transport vehicles in Punjab and Sindh, in which dozens of innocent people lost their lives, the authorities have finally woken up from their slumber. A recommendation has now been presented before the federal government to completely ban the use of CNG cylinders in buses and vans. The ministry of petroleum and natural resources has given a deadline of one week to owners of vehicles that use CNG to ensure that the cylinders that they have installed comply with safety guidelines. Of course, there is also the issue of whether these guidelines ...

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A tribute to Benazir, the eighth queen of Bhittai

Benazir Bhutto was loved as much as she was hated. Unfortunately, those who hated her were victorious on that freezing evening in December four years ago, when she was shot dead. Benazir belonged to the land of Sindhu (River Indus) – the very same land of Bhittai and his seven Queens Marvi, Momal, Sassi, Noori, Sohni, Sorath, and Lila who are valued for their bravery and courage. Benazir is fit to be the eighth queen, the leader of all of these. Opposing the vehement character-assassination campaign against her that was run by the inventors of “Chaadar aur Chaar-deewari” and Hudood, Bhutto chose ...

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Pakistani politics, a messy affair

Why is Pakistani politics so insipid? With no charismatic leaders to look up to after the country’s founder, parties floundering in their unkept charters and distinctions between left and right shrinking, it is no wonder that a majority of Pakistanis give the ballot box a miss. Coupled with the irregularities in the electoral system that have finally been identified and being worked upon, the prospect of voting in elections seems daunting, to say the least. Right leaning parties are abundant but most of these are just reactive blocs who have found it difficult to provide real services to people, thereby failing ...

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The fall of Blackberry

Research in Motion (RIM) is a smartphone manufacturing Canadian firm, which has been operating since 1999. Its product, the Blackberry, is currently the fourth most popular smartphone in the world, with 11.7% of the market share. It sits behind Ericsson, Google, and Apple. This is surprising because Blackberry started as the market leader, introducing push e-mail, internet faxing, web browsing, and other wireless information services back in 2003. It started off as a professional smartphone and soon gained commendable publicity worldwide. However, lately the BlackBerry’s popularity has been declining significantly and it is losing market share, especially to the Android and iOS. So, ...

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