Stories published in March, 2012

Sympathy for a terrorist

The production of illegally detained, suspected terrorists in the Supreme Court should have been met with a sense of triumph. Instead, the families of missing persons, who have joined  the Amna Janjua led missing persons camp over the past month, as ‘sympathisers’ of terrorists and militants. On the other hand those who have hailed the Supreme Court’s actions have been accused of neglecting the memory of the victims of terrorism and their families.  Things have changed quite swiftly over the past few months. Then, everyone seemed content with denying that anyone was actually “missing” or that the military and intelligence agencies had anything ...

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Why Ponting was dropped and Tendulkar wasn’t

The month of February saw two greats being met with two different fates. Both Ponting and Tendulkar have not been pulling their weight in the ODIs recently but while one was dropped from the ODI team and his career in the format all but ended, the other got a life line to go to Bangladesh and participate in the Asia Cup. Australia is a country where tough decisions are taken in a stride and selectors are ruthless and unforgiving. As Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor found out before Ponting, reputation counts for little when a team is being picked. If you ...

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Rinkle Kumari was Hindu last month

For many years, I was convinced that Sindh is the most liberal and secular province. I thought that minorities were more secure here because of the history deeply rooted mysticism. But that was until I became familar with teenager Rinkle Kumari’s tragic tale. One, amongt many, whose story needed to be told. While most of us know Maya Khan and Veena Malik how many of us know Rinkle Kumari of District Ghotki, Sindh? She was picked up from her home and then reportedly forced to convert to Islam just a few days ago. How many of us are even aware of these incidents taking place? Nand ...

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Suffering through Humsafar

It’s Saturday night and this room full of 18 year olds could be doing anything, anything at all. But instead we are squashed up on the sofas savouring our Magnums, because we are hungry and have no social lives. We discover, however, that neither does anyone else because the boy in the corner checking Facebook suddenly cries out: “The Humsafar finale just ended!?” Each head whips around to look at the grandfather clock on the wall. It is 9:05pm. One girl lobs her half-eaten Magnum at him. “You idiot! Why didn’t you tell me when it was 8 ’o clock! How could I ...

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Confessions of a Humsafar fan girl

The most popular show in the history of Pakistan television (with a TRP rating of 7.6) came to an end on Saturday, and the whole country went crazy. It was only when the electricity at my house suddenly went at 8:05 that I realised that I was a a Humsafar fan girl.  I called KESC begging them to restore the electricity. Why? Because I had to watch the last episode of Humsafar. My pleas however fell on deaf ears and I had to convince my family to go to our uncle’s house so that we could find out if Ashar ...

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‘Trashy’ tales from around town

I was walking back from a coffee shop this morning when I got a wonderful reminder of one of the failings of our city administration. I wanted to throw away my empty coffee cup and realised there wasn’t a single trash can around. There was however, a small pile of garbage every few meters, along with the dozens of cigarette butts, bottle caps and similar “pocket lint” strewn across the entire sidewalk. My friend asked, “What are you looking for?” “A trash can,” I replied. He snatched the empty cup from me and dropped it on the ground. Problem ...

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We expected better from you, Marvi Memon

Marvi Memon is one of the few politicians I admire. She is one of those rare leaders who are actually seen on the roads protesting for a cause that they care about instead of just arguing on television shows. Her credentials as a former MNA and the youngest female CEO in Pakistan after launching the county’s first satellite tracking fleet management service speak for themselves. But what sets Memon apart is her moral high ground. Not only did she give up her seat in the National Assembly and resign from the PML-Q because she believed it was working with a government wasn’t ...

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Think you have gonorrhea? Call Rahnumma

At 23, I have only used condoms as water balloons. So when a friend of mine told me that she had some warts down there and wanted me to go with her to a gynecologist, I felt…quite awkward. The awkwardness stems from my first and only visit to the gynecologist – which was about six to seven years ago. My mother, who had been pregnant at the time, had miscarried and had to go for a follow up check-ups regularly. She took me with her once and I must say it was rather unpleasant. I could sense that we were ...

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Civil servants with a conscience

Civil servants are considered to be the engine of any state machinery and their performance has a direct link with the building of a nation. It has been observed that the vested interests of the top hierarchy itself are a key hurdle in many cases to ensure good governance by victimising efficient, committed and honest public servants in one way or the other. The role of the civil servants of Pakistan has been time and again controversial in Pakistan, more or less due to being misused by the ruling elites. Victimisation of bureaucrats has been on the rise, and it ...

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Don’t vote (but don’t complain)

As a young Pakistani I often feel patriotism is a virtue deficient in the Pakistani youth. To us, the phrase, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ is a suitable misfortune. We dwell upon how to escape – to a different country, a country more ‘suitable’ for the development of our skills or a country swelling with appreciation for individuals from other nations; those individuals being us. We, who didn’t like the working of the corrupt government in our country and didn’t bother making it suitable. Us, who didn’t vote and chose the ‘corrupt’ government by default. ...

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