Stories published in January, 2012

A modest ‘proposal’

The reaction that one expects after having written an explosive story on the gay and lesbian community in Pakistan is threatening warnings and murderous calls. All I got however, apart from that usual list of fiery comments on the article, was a very interesting email suggesting a ‘match’ for me (replete with a bio-data and picture akin to a rishta service). I honestly don’t know what to make of it especially since the email that was sent to me with this ‘proposal’ of sorts several months after my story was published.The fact that it coincides with my recent change in ...

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The president’s immunity

The question of whether President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity against criminal or civil proceedings requires an analysis of Article 248 of the Constitution. This states that: Article 248 (1) : The president shall not be answerable to any court….for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions. The article goes on to state that: Article 248 (2): No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office. Article 248(3): No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the ...

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LUMUN or competitions that turn into a losing game

Two weeks ago, Jinnah International airport was deluged by nervous yet excited parents. “Kya aap ki beti bhi LUMUN ja rahi he?” (is your daughter going to LUMUN too?) they cried as they bumped into each other. School teams kept arriving in jam-packed buses, students streamed through security checks in their uniforms and blazers. They were headed for Lahore University of Management Sciences Model United Nations, an endeavour that consists of night-long research marathons on different countries, eating too much at Hardees, and chilling out at the free concerts. It is also incidentally a convergence of some of the country’s brightest, sharpest ...

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Why democracy should stay

Pakistan’s administrative setup was modeled after the British system: an elected legislative assembly was to give form to an executive government headed by the prime minister. The president was to hold a symbolic role while the judiciary was set to be independent. It remains a reality that despite the narrow scope in the electorate, Pakistan was a product of democracy, and will only thrive and succeed if it is democratic in structure and spirit. The continuous hampering course that Pakistan is passing through is not helping it become a truly democratic nation which can grow strong economically and deliver welfare to ...

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An open letter to Maya Khan

It started with this video. Dear Maya Khan, My name is Mehreen. I like browsing through morning talk shows when I’m waiting for breakfast made by my mom who, like your colleague said in a particular clip, is like my friend and I confide in her often. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I do. She’s never demanded an oath of eternal confidence in her. We’re humans, and we love our private space. You might be thinking, “Why is she telling me this?” I thought I should let you know about the knitty gritty of my personal life since you do enjoy delving ...

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Know your rights: Ilmpossible

Distracted by the political instability of the country, Pakistanis have failed to draw their attention to the termites that have been incessantly devouring the well being of the country. The crippled education system of Pakistan has proved to be one of these destructive creatures. Nevertheless, the presidential assent given to the Constitution (18th Amendment) Bill in April 2010 was an occurrence of great magnitude in this matter.  What were the outcomes of the 18th Amendment? It turned Pakistan into a parliamentary republic; it removed the powers of the president to dissolve Parliament unilaterally. What else did it do to the constitution? ...

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Why women need to complain more

I can’t tell you how much I relied on my girlfriends for my sanity in my 20s. During our student days at the University of Virginia (UVA), we were each other’s roommates, psychiatrists, parents, and siblings. Far away from my family in Bangladesh, my friends and I became each other’s families. But something happens to our female friendships when we leave our 20s and enter our 30s. As we get older and get married, have babies, work, work more, and did I mention, work more, we also begin to talk less. Why is it that when women need their girlfriends the ...

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A new year in the land of Hitachi

The beginning of a new year in the land of the rising sun was a very memorable experience for me. I learned a lot about Japanese culture when I spent my first new year away from my homeland here. Like the fact that Hitachi is defined by many Japanese people as the ‘rising sun’, where hi means ‘sun’ and tachi means ‘to rise’. December 31 and January 1 saw hordes of people on the streets, making their way to shrines, temples, and matsuris (festivals). On December 31, I made my way to Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. It is a small city full of ...

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Adnan Akmal: Chirping away towards success

For all the banter that Adnan Akmal parts with behind the stumps, he comes across as a rather shy, no-nonsense individual away from the cricket field, unlike his siblings that have played for Pakistan. Adnan doesn’t ooze defiance and arrogance like Umar and hasn’t mastered the smooth flow of the bat that Kamran often offered. He doesn’t have a bag full of big hits and isn’t likely to attract an IPL or a BPL contract anytime soon. But he does approach every outing with the dedication – however limited and unappealing his talent might seem right now – and conscientiousness of ...

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For the love of hot halwa

The greeting  ‘What’s up, doc?’ immediately conjures up an image of Bugs Bunny in my head, nonchalantly chewing on a carrot, trying to evade (or shall I say, torment?) his eternal  archenemies Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam. I am a big Looney Tunes fan and I know for a fact that many people ate carrots as kids only because Bugs Bunny ate them, just like Popeye fans couldn’t get enough of spinach (yuck!). All the toon-talk aside, carrots are one of the most loved of all vegetables (some even argue it’s a ...

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