Stories published in January, 2012

Not another Humsafar episode

You know you need a parody on Humsafar when everyone and their mother’s great grandkhala is talking about it. So here it is! The video begins with a tongue-in-cheek comparison of sorts between the Twilight saga and Humsafar. It then moves on to a sketch piece featuring Karachi-based model and actress Rubya Chaudhry, and local theatre actors Mustafa Ali Khan, Sundus Jamil (also a model and local television actress) Haris Shahbaz and myself. The sketch is a comedic ‘recap’ of the initial 11-12 episodes of the drama serial, highlighting the key moments in a not-so-dramatic interpretation. The video also features a ...

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Why divide Punjab?

“Why not create a Seraiki province in Sindh?” This is my cardinal question to all those who want Punjab to be divided. The MQM’s recent call for new provinces to be carved out in Pakistan has irked me a great deal. To explain my sentiment, here’s some background on the province of Punjab.  Many different dialects are spoken in this province, some of which include Majhi, Jhangochi, Pothohari, Saraiki, Jatki, Hindko, Chhachhi, Doabi, and Derewali. The MQM has submitted a bill to the National Assembly calling for Punjab’s division on linguistic basis. What they don’t understand, perhaps, is that Seraiki is a just dialect of ...

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Screeching at the pulpit: Is this Islam?

Whenever I face a problem in my daily life, I turn to the Holy Quran. If I cannot find what I am looking for there, my second option is always the mosque.  Unfortunately, I am often disappointed. Imams and maulvis are seldom able to provide me with guidance. This is in stark contradiction to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). At that time,  mosques played a vital role and people used to come to Muhammad (pbuh) and share all kinds of problems – financial, physical, emotional, or psychological – with him. My conversation with a maulvi reiterated the unfortunate reality of sermons in mosques today. I work for a telecommunication company, and the ...

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India and Pakistan: Sharing one soul

Recently, I was in India to attend a course on environmental journalism hosted by a renowned New Delhi-based NGO. One day, I was at one of Delhi’s social clubs and ran into a retired Indian general, Maj-Gen Ashok K Mehta, to be precise. We ended up having quite an interesting conversation. He said that he was in the Indian Army during the 1971 Pakistan-India war and that he had been in contact with several Pakistani prisoners of war. One of them, he said, was a senior officer, who on the day the Pakistani forces surrendered to the Indians, wrote in ...

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Dear dictator, your rally really sucked

Dear dictator, Your ‘show of power’ in Karachi was, if I may respectfully say disappointing and anti-climatic. Despite all your tall claims of having massive public support, and an equally large Facebook following, you did not garner enough support to draw even close to 10,000 people at your rally. Leaders from your party proudly boasted that your rally would be bigger than Imran Khan’s, yet one can only wonder what happened and where you went wrong. Maybe if the attendees were paid more than Rs1,000 and a plate of biryani, you would have been able to fill the ground.  Not only ...

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Another Imran Khan article that’s not about Musharraf’s rally. Sorry.

If Pakistan were a school and voters were the graduating class, then we’d know exactly where Musharraf would fit in. Musharraf would be the angry guy who sits at the front of each class and has a problem with things no one cares about, like the colour of the chalk the teacher uses. He would be a suck-up to everyone but his peers, and be like the head boy or prefect who gets the job done, but really, does anyone like him? His dog (his profile picture on Facebook) would probably be a lot more popular than he is. This was ...

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Don’t be yourself, be pretty instead

One cannot change what society considers beautiful. Neither can one berate it for being attracted to certain physical features, say a fair complexion. We can, however, change ourselves. If there is something about one’s body that nettles him or her consistently, why not change it? It is inarguable that in an ideal world, inner beauty is more important than physical beauty. However, it should be realised that these two are not inversely related. A good-looking person is not ipso facto a black-hearted, Sauron-esque villain. There’s nothing wrong with being beautiful both inside and out, which is why I bluntly say: Don’t be yourself, ...

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My blue passport doesn’t make me American

There was an incredible comment I read on one of my previous posts about how it’s impossible to live on in the oblivion of being both Pakistani and American. I don’t remember who wrote that to me, but if you’re reading this, thank you. You are a small part of the motivation that inspired this topic you are reading today. I was born in Karachi and lived the first nine years of my life moving back and forth between Karachi and Lahore before moving to the US. Though I can’t recall what the people, culture and society were like ...

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Cruel winters

Large swathes of the country are currently in the grip of a cold snap. The federal capital is said to have received snowfall over the weekend, with the Margalla Hills getting the most snow in two decades, according to the meteorological department. As expected, this has made many of the area’s residents quite excited because it’s not often that they get to see snow in their midst. Further north, in Murree, the Galiyat region and northwest into Swat and beyond, there has been snowfall for the past few days and much of the region has been blanketed with several inches ...

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I pledge not to travel in the pink bus

This week the Punjab government inaugurated the first three ‘pink buses’, which are meant for female passengers only. With enough seats, affordable fares and smiling women conductors, this bus is not less than a dream come true for women tired of travelling in the jam-packed, wee ladies’ compartment in public buses. For Pakistani women, no doubt the trepidation of unexpected hands, nasty ogling and irksome comments in public transport is reason enough to want a separate compartment in public transport vehicles. At least, it was for me. Throughout my university years, I travelled in all sorts of public transport on ...

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