Stories published in January, 2012

Golden moments from the 2012 Globes

“I feel like five million dollars!” Sofia Vergara’s red carpet comment at the Golden Globes updated the million-dollar phrase to today’s currency values. Clad in her signature form-fitting, mermaid style strapless gown (this time by Vera Wang), with massive Harry Winston diamond cuffs on her wrist, she was a sight to behold. Mature glamazon Helen Mirren, trendy as ever, sported no less than five trends listed below, while wildchild-turned-crusader Angelina Jolie surprised many with an elegant old Hollywood look. Here are some red carpet trends and other memorable moments: Gowns Lengths: Typically floor-length and trailing. Colours: Ranged from pale champagne, metallic gold, teal, and ...

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The misunderstood orphan

In Pakistan you don’t need money. You don’t need good looks. You certainly don’t need to work. You just need one phrase. That’s it just one. One phrase and all doors are majestically and mysteriously opened with the meanest, vilest and most dangerous of men succumbing in fear to your presence. For any would-be travelers to Pakistan (this is a rhetorical scenario) I can let you in on the secret. All you need to say is:  Tumhay pata hai mera baap kon hai? (Do you know who my father is?). There is nothing you can do in Pakistan without this phrase. You want ...

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As Pakistani as you

This past summer I met with a prominent lawyer, one who supposedly fights for human rights and women’s activism in Pakistan. Before I met her, I believed her to be a symbol of the fact that women can bring change in Pakistan. However, when I confessed to her my desire to live in Pakistan and engage actively in civil society, I was snapped at and told crudely that my “misplaced sense of patriotism” was unwelcome. Unfortunately, her crass “holier than thou” attitude is not unique to her. There are hordes of Lahoris, Karachiites and more, itching to tell me that ...

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Has the PPP learnt any lessons?

From day one, this country has seen a topsy-turvy relationship between the military and various civil administrations. The security establishment shares equal blame, if not more, for the dwindling fortunes of this country after having ignored the far-sighted advice of their country’s founding father delivered in the Quetta Staff College — ‘of not intervening in the political affairs of the civil government’. However, civilians, too, have not been able to deliver the goods of astute political governance. The only exception is the Bhutto government of the seventies where ‘real’ and ‘meaningful’ political change did arrive at the fore — the ...

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England’s might will soon be put to the test

‘It is more difficult to stay on top than to get there.’ England are rated as the number one ICC Test team but the current series against Team Green will determine whether they truly deserve the position. This is the first time England will be playing an away Test series after gaining the top position when they humiliated India at home. By the look of things, the series is shaping up to be an exciting one for the fans of  both teams. In 2011, Pakistan and England  put in some dominating performances and both won six Tests each. England’s performances came against ...

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I’m sorry I never thanked you, Arfa Karim

She sat across from me in a swivelling chair, staring at me just as inquisitively as I was at her. She was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world – I had every right to gawk in awe. Arfa, on the other hand, was looking at me because she was just a child eager to make friends. “So, how was it?” I asked with unease. I couldn’t believe that I was intimidated by an 11-year-old. “How was what?” she asked, smiling. She still hadn’t lost the baby fat on her face, and I wanted to pinch her cheeks. She was Arfa Karim, the ...

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No, I don’t want ‘fraandship’ with you

Most people reading this, especially women, probably already know the drill. If you happen to be a female in Pakistan and if your age just so happens to fall between the range of 16- 30, then you are liable to have already accumulated a respectable (sic) variety of cell-phone stalkers and perhaps a handful of the corporeal variety. The jury is out on which brand tends to be more abhorrent.  What is particularly interesting about cellphone and/or Facebook stalkers in Pakistan is the consistency of their attack and the belligerence with which they continue to assume that the word ‘no’ means ...

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Following Bhutto’s way: Religion above rights

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former prime minister and president of Pakistan and the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), still remains one of the most popular and most controversial figures in Pakistan. With the title Quaid-e-Awam (leader of the people), he is undoubtedly the most charismatic political leader Pakistan has ever seen. Bhutto was also the first democratically elected leader to introduce the culture of using religion for political gain in Pakistan. In 1974, Pakistan’s parliament, under his premiership, adopted a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. For Bhutto, the move was purely political as he sought to appease religious conservatives. If this move was ...

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When journalists and politicians become friends

If you are familiar with the recent work of left-of-centre reporters and columnists, you will know two things about them: that they consider Babar Awan a fake pipliya who distributed sweets after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged and that Husain Haqqani is the only remaining bastion of liberalism. Why the double standards? After all Haqqani has also taken a slow journey to the PPP, with detours at the Islami Jamiat Talba and PML-N. During his sojourn at the PML-N, Haqqani was also widely believed to have spearheaded a dirty tricks campaign against the sainted Benazir Bhutto and her mother. The answer ...

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In Arfa’s name

There is need to change Arfa’s dreams into reality. The entire nation is mourning the sad demise of the world’s youngest IT professional Arfa Karim Randhawa. She died on January 14 at the very tender age of sixteen. No doubt, she was an extraordinary genius, and a committed and intelligent individual. The grief caused by her untimely death is likely to stay embedded in the collective national psyche for some time, especially given that people like her are born one in a billion. Also, she died too young, before the nation could have benefitted from her talent and prowess in ...

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