Stories published in January, 2012

The media made a mess of Memogate

In the last couple of months our country has been plunged into a self created crisis that our media has dubbed ‘Memogate’. Everyone who is anyone has an opinion on the issue, which has become the most discussed topic in the country. However, throughout this discussion on the memo issue, majority of the people have either failed to understand what it actually is, or have simply taken the media for its word without putting all the facts in perspective. In this blog, I am not going to give you an opinion on this issue. What I am going to do is ...

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The rights and wrongs of Imran Khan’s politics

With the Arab Spring sweeping  away dictators world over, Pakistanis too are looking for a revolution to get rid of its democratically elected government. Interestingly, they have found new hope in the Niazi from Mianwali.  Former cricketer turned philanthropist turned politician, Imran Khan, is probably the most popular politician in Pakistan today. While Pakistan will never get its Arab Spring, a change in the political landscape is definitely a looming reality. Previously naive Khan has learnt some vital lessons from his mistakes, and has started to mature. He is careful to not criticize the military and its top brass – apparently he has ...

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I am ashamed

I moved to Hyderabad  Deccan about a year ago, but somehow Hyderabad’s suffering doesn’t register with me. Its people still don’t seem to be my people, and their misery doesn’t seem to be my misery, or even misery at all. This is probably because I’m a Karachiite. Being a Karachiite means you’ve lived through bombings, target killings and the city going up in flames over and over again; it means there have been times when your father hasn’t come home for the night because it was safer to stay put wherever he was; it means there is a high probability that you ...

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10 things I hate about Hindi soaps

I have always been impressed by how Bollywood has emerged as an internationally renowned entertainment industry. People from all backgrounds, even in Pakistan, keep a close watch on the happenings in Bollywood, despite the silly India-Pakistan strife. I love India and Indian people, and let me make clear before I begin that I do not intend to attack or offend anyone through this post. I am merely highlighting some aspects of Indian soaps which I find amusing. So without further ado, let me begin my list of the ten things I hate about Indian soaps: 1. They are endless: To put it simply, ...

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Photoshopping the prime minister

A photograph circulated by the Press Information Department across newsrooms recently had Yousaf Raza Gilani standing in the middle, chatting with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General Khalid Shameem Wynne, with his fingers stationed uncomfortably near his chest — a pose we normally won’t stand in. But then again he is the prime minister. A sub-editor’s journalistic curiosity and an acute eye for detail led to a legitimate inquiry. Experts were called in. Professional advice was sought. No one could figure out this enigmatic conundrum: What happened to the prime minister’s fingers? “They are hiding something,” screamed one over-worked editor. ...

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Spare me the Zionist conspiracies

“The parts are Jewish!” screams Barry, an ill-tempered white convert to Islam, played to perfection by Nigel Lindsay in the critically acclaimed film, Four Lions. The car has broken down and rather than admit to his friends that he hasn’t had it fixed, he claims, “Jews invented spark plugs to control global traffic.” We’re meant to laugh at outrageous, outlandish accusations such as this, but this scene could be used to portray a sad reality in Pakistan. It highlights what is wrong with a large segment of our society. Many Pakistanis seem to have this unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories, especially those ...

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Who is the ISI reporting to?

You know the game is up when even Asma Jahangir walks off in a huff with the ball mid-match. The indefatigable human-rights lawyer threw a tantrum after the Supreme Court decided that the charges against her client, Husain Haqqani, in the Memogate casewarranted investigation by a commission. Jahangir decided she could no longer represent Haqqani after accusing the judiciary of working in league with the ‘establishment’, a term that means ‘everyone I disagree with in Pakistan’. In this case, she seemed to be referring to the ISI. Earlier, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani more or less admitted that he had no ...

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The rise and fall of Dhoni and Clarke

It is often said that success is easy to obtain but very difficult to maintain. Winning the World Cup was the biggest thing that happened to Indian cricket in recent times. It was a rather young side that went on to scale new heights a few months ago. Maintaining momentum and hunger after such a spectacular achievement was a big challenge for India. Sadly, the team failed to live up to that challenge. Looking at India’s overseas record in Tests since the World Cup, it is evident that the fizz has gone out of their performances. Also, considering the current scenario, it ...

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Kharotabad doctor: Brutality for bravery

The murder of Dr Syed Baqir Shah last week probably won’t resonate as loudly as some others in recent memory. He wasn’t a politician, a victim of a trigger-happy American, or an icon for global jihad. He was just a doctor. A police surgeon committed to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. And that’s precisely what makes Dr Shah’s death all the more tragic. Last year, Dr Shah had given steadfast evidence to the effect that the death of five Chechens in Kharotabad in May was caused by bullet wounds fired by the police and Frontier Constabulary (FC). He said that ...

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A Pakistani Spring is not enough

The Arab Spring has captured the imagination of young people around the world with a powerful message about people taking control of their own destiny. In Pakistan, the spirit of the Arab Spring is playing out to a different tune. Instead of adopting “overthrow of the system” as their battle cry ala the Arab Spring, a visible and growing number of young, educated professionals in Pakistan are channeling their energies to incrementally improve the system by engaging with the current set up. Young Pakistanis, including many who have traveled to the West to get educated, are returning home to make active contributions ...

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