Stories published in March, 2012

Five reasons to stop questioning Obama’s faith

I thought the question was so absurd to begin with, that it would go away on its own. I was wrong. Four years later, that absurd question, “Do you think Barack Obama is a Muslim?” keeps nagging the American psyche in national and regional polls – despite ample data to the contrary. In 2009, a Pew Research Center poll showed that one in 10 Americans believed President Obama was a Muslim; the number jumped to one in five by 2010. So when last week, one in two Republican voters in the states of Mississippi and Alabama reaffirmed the same phobia, I had to say something. Enough! Data ...

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Pakistan vs India: Silencing the match-fixing rumours

The match-fixing rumours started spreading after India’s victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup match that took place on March 18, 2012. The match was played in its real essence – a typical Pakistan-India match that contained everything: high scores, long partnerships, centuries, nervousness, misfielding, bad shots, huge sixes, all round performance by the top performers of both the sides, two heroes, two villains from both sides, tense captains and a nerve-wracking experience that a match between arch-rivals usually instigates. But still, they say, it was fixed and their reasons are: Cricketing authorities want a Pak-India final, to earn millions of dollars and ...

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Much frustration and resentment

I will be accused of coming down hard on political parties but wouldn’t be wrong in saying that on most occasions, there is a wide gap between what our political leaders say and what they end up doing. Ordinary Pakistanis are suffering from a myriad of problems in the country, yet we find our political leaders busy building castles in the air. Take, for instance, the slogan of the PPP whose credo for all its existence has been to provide Pakistanis with ‘roti, kapra aur makan’. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has a motto where it says that it will eliminate corruption within ...

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PTI and Marvi: A love story turned sour

When the PML- Q joined hands with the current PPP government, Marvi Memon took a stand (along with some other MNAs and MPAs of her party) and decided not to join the federation. She even went a step ahead and tendered her resignation from the National Assembly. This move improved her image in the public eye and people began to feel that she will take revolutionary steps in politics; that she will use her political standing for the people of her country. Political analysts and critics were of the view that Marvi Memon will join the PTI after she left her parent party. But due ...

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Agent Vinod: Another sign of Pak-India tensions?

This post was originally published on the Wall Street Journal. To read more by Tom Wright, click here.  ______________________________________________ Showing a Pakistani army general watching a courtesan dancing? Using shots of Karachi airport without permission? Or generally portraying Pakistan in a bad light? Whatever the reasons for Pakistan’s decision to ban Agent Vinod, the latest Khan-Kapoor offering, most of us will have to wait for Friday to see what the fuss is about. If earlier bans are anything to go by, it’s probably a storm in a teacup, more indicative of the parlous state of India-Pakistan relations than the content ...

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Why believe conspiracy theorists?

I read an article written in The Express Tribune yesterday by veteran journalist Nadir Hassan, titled “What if the conspiracy theorists are correct?”. In his piece, he said that all anti-US conspiracy theories of recent years have proven to be true. He also expressed the view that it is possible to be both anti-US and anti-Taliban at the same time. I was surprised at the lack of understanding displayed by the esteemed writer. Conspiracy theories, by definition, cannot be proven either right or wrong; as far as anti-US conspiracy theories are concerned, he just glossed over a few of them ...

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An innie in an outie’s world

Growing up, I was such a quiet child, especially compared to my loud, older sisters that my parents would often forget me. They sometimes failed to remember they had a third child. Once, they lost me at a supermarket and realised it when the store manager called. Had it not been for him, I’d be a feral child living in aisle six gorging on cereal and candy bars for the rest of my life. No offense to my parents, they just didn’t know what to do with a little person like me. Innately introverted Had someone explained to them that I was innately ...

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Did you buy Mohammad Amir’s story?

I want to. I really want to. I want to believe that Mohammad Amir is an innocent 18-year-old boy who was set up by his friend and captain – his fixer. But I can’t. There are a lot of things about Mohammad Amir’s interview that are bothering me. I feel like we are being told a story that is not true. I feel like we, Pakistani cricket fans, are being lied to… again. Since the interview aired, I’ve heard a wide variety of thoughts from the general public and Twitterati. One section feels sorry for the kid and believes that he was truly ...

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Was war always on the cards for Iran?

Iran has always played the role of the odd one out in the international arena. Its stand-out stance from the rest of the world has distinguished it from others and as a result, it is left isolated. There has been a lot of conjecture about an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, whether from Israel or the US. Iran has always been cooperative with the IAEA over the years but somehow they have been portrayed as an uncooperative, rogue state. Just a week ago, Iran agreed to allow UN inspectors to inspect its notorious nuclear facility against the odds. However, the dust ...

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The birth of our nationalist media

Ever since gung-ho nationalism was beamed into our living rooms (thanks to private channels) some 10 years back, a probing question stirred in my mind: what is wrong with our media? Is it normal to be in a state of continual war with every idea? Is our media a reflection of our society, or is it trying to lead a complete social transformation? It seems that the latter is true, and that the transformation is inspired by a particular mindset that perpetually defends the idea of “national security” while national welfare suffers. More importantly, is our media – especially the electronic media ...

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