Stories published in February, 2012

Will I ever be a Pakistani?

During the cricket World Cup in 2011, many who knew that I am a Hindu, including some of my colleagues, asked me who I would support; India or Pakistan. The question was very irritating and annoyed me to the point that I would lose my temper. I didn’t understand why on earth they would ask me such a stupid question – just because I’m Hindu? Why isn’t the same question asked of a Christian when Pakistan plays against Australia, England or New Zealand? Despite the fact that this state was created with a pledge by the father of the nation for ...

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How the mighty dollar weakens the rupee

Money only holds value because there are goods and services available to buy with that money. It is the goods and services that create a value for that money. Coconut water would be more valuable on a treasure island than kilos of gold. In that circumstance, it’s not the value of coconut water that has increased, but the diminished value of gold that is being reflected. The fewer goods and services available, the lesser the value of money – even if it is a pile of gold. Pakistan currently produces cotton, rice, fish, fruit, vegetables, pulses and much more. These ...

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Marie Colvin’s journalism of attachment

On Wednesday, another journalist was killed while covering the Syrian military operation in the city of Homs. Marie Colvin’s last broadcast, aired just hours before she died, was about the painful death of a child during the Siege of Homs. When CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper voiced some general concerns about the media showing gruesome images from conflict zones, Colvin replied by sharing her lifelong philosophy: communicating pain and suffering of the distanced “others” to the world in order to mobilise peace. The idea becomes even more significant in the context of international ...

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A visit to Shahbaz airbase: All is well…

I reached Shahbaz airbase along with several other journalists and senior Pakistan Air Force officials, to inspect the 36 new F-16 C Block 52 fighters. We were accompanied by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman. We toured the revamped base where the recently acquired aircraft will be housed, and which has reportedly cost the government over $5 billion! I could not see any American soldiers at the airbase, which is only 345 km away from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Everyone, including both the army and air force chiefs, appeared to be grateful to the United States ...

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Misbah is not the problem

If attack is the best form of defence, Misbahul Haq surely doesn’t believe in it. He is a calm character whose presence on the field is barely felt at times and – on some occasions – hardly even matters. He’s patient so he waits until he gets a chance to pounce and at times, it backfires. But he has built a reputation, and a good one, to steer Pakistan past many obstacles in dire circumstances and, while the adrenaline levels remain low, fans ought to be proud of the results ‘captain cool’ has achieved since he has taken charge. The criticism ...

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Hair today, gone tomorrow

Spotting a strand of white in a head full of black hair is fairly easy and insignificant, but if you are over 30, it can be very traumatic. Combine this with the hair-fall situation and the ever-increasing “naked-eye” visibility of your scalp and hello, Paranoia. Depending on: (a) how rich (or poor) you are (b) how bad the present situation really is, or (c) your organic/herbal orientation (straight or otherwise), one of the following will be your next course of action: Pretend everything is okay and do nothing; after all, you still have a lot more hair compared to cousin Salman (and I really mean a lot). Try ...

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An American in Lahore: Pakistan saved me

About a year and a half ago, I made the decision to move to Pakistan.  Since then, perhaps the most popular question my local friends ask is, “Were you scared to come to Pakistan, because you thought we were all terrorists like the Western media portrays us?” Honestly, no, I was not, and I did not.  Even before coming to Pakistan, I found the notion that all 180 million people residing in Pakistan, the sixth most populous nation in the world, were terrorists or had extremist tendencies completely ridiculous.  I figured that, as in every country, Pakistan had people from ...

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My problem with your staring problem

My daily walk from my point stop to my apartment is nothing less than torture for me; not because I am exhausted after a tiring day at college and my legs are unable to bear that five-minute stress; but because the dear men of my beloved nation are suffering from the staring syndrome. Whether I am wearing jeans with a shirt or am covered in a burqa, there are three points in that five-minute walk where I feel people eyeing me with extreme interest. The first is an under construction building, where poor and ...

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Iran, laughing in the face of nuclear disaster

Iran has launched a four day military exercise to show its strength in the wake of rising tensions with the international community and possible military action against them. Getting into gear, their Revolutionary Guards as well as their ground troops and air defenses, Iran is ready for anything. Coinciding with the show of strength is a two day UN inspectors’ visit to Iran, the second visit this month. Led by Herman Nackaerts, the team hopes to achieve access to Parchin military base, as well as talk to question Iran’s nuclear scientist. The inspectors, however, will not be visiting any nuclear ...

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Missing prisoners: Skeletons with urine bags

For many the media is a watchdog, but some want to make it a scapegoat to achieve their short-term personal goals. The prevailing crises in the country have also increased the challenges for the media to maintain its credibility and impartiality. I have no words to highlight the threats made to media people by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, or certain terrorist groups. But today I still have something to say. One of the country’s top lawyers, defending the prime minister in a contempt of court case, also accused the media of negatively portraying the issue. “Don’t get into this controversy, they are ...

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