Stories published in February, 2012

Telling the Balochistan story

When I visited Balochistan in 2009, my train to Quetta stopped at a station near Sibi for two hours. Desperate for something to quench my thirst, I was surprised to learn that there was no water – not at the station or even the village nearby. After some time, we came across a local selling muddy pond-water. We refused to drink it, and remained thirsty. My Baloch compatriot casually stated that the muddy water was what the majority of people in Balochistan drink. Taken aback, I said that it was probably because our poor government did not have the funds to provide a water pipeline ...

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Why porn is popular in Pakistan

It’s late at night and the hands of the clock signal that it is just past midnight. The whole family is sound asleep with the sole exception of a young man sitting on the bed, with the laptop right in front of him. To anyone, including his family, it seems as if he’s studying, or working on an important project, or checking out the latest headlines online or watching innocent, comical clips on YouTube. All it takes is a peek over the shoulder and all is not what it seems. This scenario is part of an average, everyday lifestyle for ...

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Save cricket in Pakistan

For a developing country like Pakistan, with a population of almost 190 million, sports play a vital role in developing the society on both social and ethical grounds. Although the national sport is hockey, cricket is the heart and soul of the whole nation. Taken as a platform to express feelings, every day history is made in the numerous cricket grounds across the country. As the game does not involve severe exercise, it is played by many and more recently the gender discrimination that used to exist has also ended. Cricket is amongst one of the few sports in the country played ...

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A tear for you, dear soldier

There are very few images which have the power to draw out the deepest emotions of the seer. These are the snapshots which really make you empathise with the subjects of the photograph – you try to imagine yourself in the same circumstances, under the same context and events pictured. One such image was that of the 15 FC troops killed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants on January 5.  Fifteen men, all from less privileged economic contexts, standing hand in hand with the realisation firm in their bosoms that life ends at this moment. It is a sepoy, a ‘jawan’ who ...

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Dekha Na Tha: Never seen a cover like this

This has been a tough year for Alamgir .You all must be assuming that it’s all about his double kidney transplant and lack of funds but there seems to be a further complication: the QB and Bilal Khan cover of “Dekha Na Tha”. Let’s get this straight: I haven’t heard such a horrible cover in my life. I first heard about this song from a female friend of mine who was obviously lauding Bilal Khan’s amazing vocal talent (not trying to imply anything here). For a moment, the thought of such a song humbled me too. Two of the newest ...

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Down with Valentine’s Day!

It’s that dreaded day of the year again, unknown to none, prohibited by many and celebrated by most; Valentine’s Day. Pagan rituals and worshipping “Christianized” idols are probably at their peak right now. A commercial excuse for public displays of affection and then the hateful price hike in the market on ultimate necessities like flowers and chocolates? I’m so glad there are groups on Facebook that addressed this rising concern like: Sorry, Valentines Day I am Muslim Let’s boycott Valentine’s Day and Jihad against Biddah. A post on Jihad against Biddah asks pertinent questions like: Will u b my valentine on d DAY OF JUDGEMENT ...

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Is Gilani’s indictment good for democracy?

With the news that the Pakistani Supreme Court, in a widely expected hearing, indicted Prime Minister Gilani yesterday morning, it is becoming increasingly clear that the two national institutions, the judiciary and the civilian government, are headed for a full-on collision. Despite statements over the weekend, where the Prime Minister seemed resigned to losing office, there is little indication that a resignation from the PPP stalwart is coming any time soon. If Gilani is indeed destined to cede power, it will likely come at the behest of the Chief Justice Chaudhry and his court. As chaotic and unpleasant as the ...

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Captain atom and the indulgence of war games

The latest news to come out of the Iran-United States stand-off is a deafening statement from the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, that there is an increasing possibility that Israel will pre-empt an attack from Iran in the spring of 2012. Come April, Panetta can see a ready of arms from the United State’s most important ally in the Middle East. Reiterating Panetta’s stance was Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the time to stop Iran’s attempts at producing nuclear weapons was running out. Israel’s military chief said that Iran could produce its first nuclear bomb within one year of planning, since they had enriched ...

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Top 4 most annoying passengers on an airplane

Travelling by air means running into some very interesting people. Here are some regulars I have come across: 1.The little angel Every economy class plane is bound to have its adorable cherub. This little angel is wrapped in plush blankets, has the pinkest cheeks and starts the journey peacefully. That is until he/she lets out a banshee shriek that has every passenger’s ears ringing. The angel suddenly transforms into a demon spawn with a terribly loud siren for a larynx. As mama tries to calm lil’ sweetie, baby remains resolutely stubborn to give headaches to one and all. 2.The seat-stealer When you checked-in online, ...

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Faiz: Political poetry for the soul

A piece of Faiz’s poetry looks like any other poetry. Black printed script on white parchment. The staid, two-dimensionality of parchment. The mundane blackness of the script. But as the reader’s gaze sweeps upon the verses, he is conscious of a clamor therein; a raging storm extricated within the dull entrapments of font and page, pining to be let loose, to disturb the tranquil air, to prod awake the sleeping conscience, to alter the course of the clouds, the blow of raucous winds, and flow of mighty rivers. Yes, these grandiose metaphors do complete justice to Faiz’s poetry, because the ...

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