Stories published in January, 2012

Flashback 2011: Pakistan in all its glory

Team Pakistan entered 2011 under the dark clouds of the spot-fixing scandal. With the backbone of their squad ripped apart as a result of the suspensions of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, and Salman Butt, few expected them to achieve anything significant in the next 12 months. However, as they often end up doing, Team Pakistan fought back magnificently and achieved a number of milestones. Here’s a look at some of the memorable events of the past year: 1. Series win in New Zealand Pakistan started the year with a closely fought series against New Zealand. Under alien conditions, Pakistan’s new squad showed tremendous determination to seal ...

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We don’t need a school like Jamia Hafsa

The Islamabad administration has given the city a much needed gift on the eve of the new year. With education already in a hole and extremism showing no signs of fading, city bosses, under the guidance of our beloved fruit-alchemist interior minister, have decided to grant Jamia Hafsa, the Lal Masjid burqa brigade school, permission to rebuild in Sector H-11. While the Supreme Court ruling on the matter called for an equivalent area of land to be turned over in compensation, the esteemed city authorities went one better by granting the land-grabbing, hate speech-espousing Abdul Aziz, a part-time religious leader, ...

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Being a nurse in Pakistan

Nurses work shifts that last 12 to 24 hours. They perform numerous unpleasant procedures and even put their own lives at risk for the sake of their patients. Many nurses say they are harassed by young men who come in as either patients or relatives of the patient. They are asked personal questions and are, often unable to perform their duties due to harassment. Asking a nurse for her phone number is a regular occurrence in the hospitals of Pakistan. Patients even ask them if they can photograph them, and sometimes take pictures while the nurse is not looking. Under these conditions, ...

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Fashion 2011: Here to stay or totally passé?

2011 was a year of ups and downs. The year saw everything from international change (the youthful, high-tech Arab Spring modernised the word ‘revolution’) to tacky commercial publicity stunts (we’re used to seeing near-naked Bollywood starlets grace our screens, but Veena in her birthday suit was a novelty across the border). We were jolted by the demise of larger-than-life personalities like Elizabeth Taylor, Steve Jobs and the infamous bin Laden. And from the glitzy pinnacle of the Royal wedding down to the fall of the Murdochian empire and unprecedented urban riots, the city of London experienced a roller coaster ride ...

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Wanted: More than a uniform education system

Politicians agree that the education system in Pakistan has failed. When they are not arguing about whether or not a section on jihad is necessary, most agree that the country requires more schools and a unified curriculum.  When it comes to education, politicians and bureaucrats love building schools and talking about reform. However, building schools is something tangible and easily achievable; they hang banners, pose for a photograph, pray before an inauguration plaque, and bask gloriously in the satisfaction of constructing a new school. Curriculum reform is also another talking point, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement on exactly ...

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This year, I need to get in to college

This is what most reporters, bloggers and conscientious people will worry about in the year 2012 – Imran Khan, terrorism, Pak-US ties and Afghanistan. And this is what a certain demographic of 17 to 18-year-olds across the country will care about in the year 2012 – college. And yeah, Imran Khan, he’s a cool guy. It is now January 2 and the biggest firework or patakha that anyone this age can face is a blank Word document for a college essay. Today, I know the following – the admission dates for the Institute of Business Administration, the zipcode of various locations in Karachi ...

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10 notable protests, political movements of 2011

When a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in late 2010, he ignited a mass protest movement across his country. What Mohamed Bouazizi likely never expected, however, is that the uprising would be followed by many others worldwide. With 2011 drawing to a turbulent close, now is an opportune time to highlight the ten most notable protests and political movements of the last year. Tunisia protests: Removing President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power is only part of the story. Remarkably, notwithstanding isolated demonstrations against the new government’s failure to prosecute the ousted president’s supporters, Tunisia has enjoyed a relatively smooth ...

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Budget cuts mar higher education

Heads of the public sector universities have warned the government of protest if the finance division fails to provide an additional Rs8 billion to the cash-starved Higher Education Commission (HEC). The university heads and HEC officials say that without the additional funds, the commission will not be in a position to ensure payment of 65% salary raises for employees of the 70 public sector universities under its domain. Cuts in the commission’s budget have already affected research and development projects, when a major chunk is being diverted towards the employees’ salaries. Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh in Friday’s meeting gave ...

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Rehman Malik tops 2011 ‘Hall of Shame’

Be it Veena Malik, Shoaib Malik, or Rehman Malik, there is one thing I have realized; it’s not easy being a Malik in Pakistan. The Maliks of Pakistan are forever surrounded by controversies. Despite stiff competition amongst politicians and artists who struggled to top the “hall of shame, 2011,” guess who has managed to secure the first position once again? Our very own, very dear, very entertaining, Dr Abdul Rehman Malik. To acknowledge his outstanding performance, he has even been awarded a PhD degree by the Syndicate of Karachi University in recognition of his “matchless services to the country.” Some of his golden words ...

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Top 5 video games of 2011

5. Mortal Kombat: FATALITY! Available on the PS3 and Xbox 360, this notoriously gory fighting game returned to its 2D roots this year, in what turned out to be one awesome game. Not only is this ninth instalment in the Mortal Kombat franchise fun to play with friends over the internet or by sitting side by side, but it also features a very good singleplayer campaign, with a storyline fleshy enough to have Mortal Kombat fans salivating. In fact, the narrative is so good that many critics found MK9 to be the best at storytelling in 2011. Now who would have ...

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