Stories published in December, 2011

Dear Imran Khan, I beg to differ…

I have observed Imran Khan’s recent meteoric rise with mixed emotions. On the one hand, he is scrupulously honest and seemingly sincere in his desire for a new Pakistan. This is in stark contrast to the political cretins who inhabit our legislature and executive. And as my sister would confirm, I am somewhat predisposed to a positive view of Imran based on years of boyhood hero worship (she labelled it a man-crush). On the other hand, thoughtful liberals can only cringe as he invokes a heady mix of right-wing ideology, jingoism, Islamic nationalism, and anti-American vitriol – dangerous follies that tap into ...

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Think before you kill

As a citizen of Karachi, I’m not particularly startled when I hear gunfire late at night. In most cases, I assume that it’s aerial firing to mark a wedding or similar festivity. No cause for alarm, right? Wrong. Aerial firing has been known to kill, with several documented cases over the years available to back this claim. Personally, despite having read news of people getting killed by ‘stray bullets’ for a while now, I’d never understood how such accidents happened. Over time, I developed a vague notion that they occurred when a shot was fired at an acute angle from the ...

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PTI rally: Sights, sounds, observations from Karachi

Participating in the PTI jalsa on Sunday was a transformational experience for me. Originally, I did not plan to attend the rally because I didn’t agree with everything Imran Khan has to say, and felt his policy platform was too vague. Plus, there was a small chance that a bomb might go off, or something else would go wrong – it’s Karachi after all. The tipping point came when Imran Khan positioned this rally as an opportunity to usher a new era of peaceful politics in Karachi. Sitting with friends the night before the rally, we made an impulse decision to attend. “You’ll tell your grandchildren that you were ...

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The Karachi tsunami strikes

The successful PTI rally in Karachi proves one thing for sure, especially to the Imran Khan naysayers and doubters: that come next election, his party will be a formidable force to reckon with. A bulk of the audience comprised youth, many of them presumably disenchanted with the way politics is done in this country. Of course, his party has already accepted several former ministers and members of parliament from the PML-Q and one heavyweight from the PML-N in the shape of Javed Hashmi. Mr Hashmi stood on three seats in the last general election and won all three and is ...

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Grooming batsmen for all conditions

Our think-tank in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should analyse the needs of the different formats of the game. The Pakistan cricket team shouldn’t just be a side that can play a good T20 match or an ODI – they should be prepared to play all the different versions of cricket, and the PCB  should prepare them accordingly. I am glad that under Misbahul Haq the team is finally learning the essentials of Test cricket. They are spending time in the middle and accumulating runs rather than treating it like a one-day match. The results are obvious; the team has started to perform consistently, and the ...

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Is the PPP defiant or in disarray?

Christmas Day in Islamabad is like any other day, except for the turkey on dinner tables. Natives still try to procure invites to parties hosted by foreigners and they still speculate about President Zardari’s murky future. The night before Christmas provided further grist for the coup rumour mill as Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani skipped the dinner Zardari hosted for Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, sending Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Waheed Arshad in his place. The night before that Kayani was a no-show at the dinner Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had for Bingguo. Zardari’s aides have ...

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Demystifying Jinnah’s Pakistan

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, rightly known as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, spent most of his life advocating for a united India in which rights of all factions would be respected and Muslims given an equal representation in all state affairs. It was not until he realised this was not possible in the prevailing political atmosphere that he took up a different path to protect the rights of the Muslim minority – fighting for a separate homeland. For as long as Pakistan has existed, liberals and conservatives have debated the true nature of the state that Jinnah envisioned and helped ...

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A look at the PTI rally

Since the PTI rally in Karachi, people meeting in drawing rooms, at weddings and roadside restaurants are wondering what helped propel Imran Khan to prominence all of a sudden. The argument goes that just six months ago, no one could have thought that PTI had a real chance to do well at the next elections. It was unlikely for seasoned politicians to break ranks and join Imran Khan. But for those who attended the Karachi rally, bigwigs like Shah Mehmood Qureshi didn’t matter. There were entirely too many cars, motorcycles and rickshaws at the rally. People had come there of their ...

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8 things I love about Christmas

Christmas is a time of giving and sharing; it is by far my most favourite time of the year. Since I have been I child, I anxiously await December 25 because there is so much that I love about this holiday. This Christmas, I have decided to share a list of things that I enjoy the most of this merry season. Listening to Christmas carols. The joy of listening to Christmas carols with a cup a cocoa is one that is matched by very few other things in life. Snuggling in a blanket with family and friends, and humming these tunes can cheer ...

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The spirit of Christmas

Over recent centuries, especially in the west, the season of Christmas has been commercialised and glamourised beyond recognition, and its basic significance has faded into the background, perhaps forgotten. The Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the exchange of gifts, the shopping, the new clothes, the house decorations, the dancing and singing, the community festivities – these are a far cry from the simplicity of the event that all of us supposedly commemorate: the birth of the messenger of peace and goodwill, in a manger in a stable meant for animals, attended only by his carpenter family parents and poor shepherds ...

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