Stories published in March, 2012

Thin needs to stop being ‘in’

I love fashion and what it has come to represent in modern society- a widely accessible form of individualistic expression, the opportunity to communicate wordlessly from the outside what lies within and a universal, culture-defying form of art. And oh the divine ability to wear something  out-of-style with confidence and suddenly start a trend? I love that the most. There is no doubt that one of Pakistan’s many gems is its fashion industry. As a Pakistani-American in love with both cultures and often finding myself having to choose between the two, I have no problem pledging my allegiances with the ...

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Political moralization is not the way

A politician will stand on the pulpit and thousands of people will watch, as he or she weaves a story about the past. For some, it will be Ayub Khan’s decade of development, for others it may be an issue or a cause like Kashmir or Balochistan. Regardless, the gestures and punches that will be emphasized will all constitute an act of moralization. For democratic societies, political moralization, in its greater sense, undermines democratic political culture because it discourages debate and discourse. Democratic systems are based on the concept of competing ideas and institutions against a moral framework that allows for a system ...

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Asad Mehmood’s out-of-this world dream

The first time I gazed at the sky in fascination was on a clear night on an off-road trip in Hingol, Balochistan. I had never seen a sky so full of stars and stood awe struck at the beauty and magnificence of the heavens. Naturally, my next impulse was to buy a telescope powerful enough to see them up close. I found this to be a very costly venture as telescopes, especially good ones are expensive. So I proceeded to scrounge for details on how to build one on the Internet. When I discovered that building one requires an ...

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Husbands who beat, women who get beaten

What happens when your savior also becomes your enemy? How do you feel when the father of your child emotionally, psychologically, verbally and physically abuses you instead of giving you the respect you deserve? How do you reclaim your self-esteem when he ridicules you and your family and makes you believe every time that it is your fault, when actually it isn’t? Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and who you think loves you in return, because you’ll always end up ...

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Lessons from the Japanese tsunami

At exactly 2:46 pm on March 11, one year to the Japanese tsunami, sirens wailed through the skies to mark the first anniversary of the events of the horrible day. Trains stopped, work stopped briefly as mourners bowed their heads in prayer for the victims. Measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, it was the strongest ever recorded earthquake in Japanese history, claiming approximately 19,000 lives, with thousands still missing. A year later, as reconstruction work continues and debris is removed from the cities — giving the Japanese landscape some semblance of normalcy — things are still not near or close to ...

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I speak Punjabi (but my kids might not)

‘Ik Sutti Uthi Dooji Akhon Ka’ani ’- Do you understand what this Punjabi idiom means, or do you need a translation in English first? The literal translation may be “one just woke up and the other one is partially sighted!” but that isn’t what it means.  This funny phrase refers to a person who has just woken up and then on top of their disheveled appearance is cross-eyed as well. It is used “icing on the cake” in English. Most people wonder why everything in Punjabi sounds so comic? Maybe our ancestors just appreciated humour. If you belong to a Punjabi speaking family and couldn’t ...

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Why Imran Khan won’t go to India

As political debates go, the recent announcement that Imran Khan will not be going to the India Today Conclave due to Salman Rushdie’s presence there, left opinions divided, with some calling Khan’s decision the right one, and others referring to it as pandering to the right. Unfortunately, neither one is correct. While Khan would argue that his decision is based on the “immeasurable hurt caused to Muslims across the globe” by Rushdie, his decision, just days before the event should not come as a surprise. He has been consistent in saying he would refuse to attend any event at which Mr ...

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Maybe you should resign Mr Vice Chancellor

It was the last thing we were expecting; after last year’s deadly blast in which ten students were injured the we hoped their thirst for violence would be satiated. But the beatings, clashes and stoning  just wasn’t enough -they were still not satisfied.  Being a student at the University of Karachi, we, the students, are used to certain disruptions, but that day in December when while we got ready to leave our respective houses for a scheduled exam, the news even came to us as a shock. The news of a blast at Karachi University crashed down on us with a burst of ...

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Lawn is (literally) the latest rage

We love being angry don’t we? As a nation, Pakistanis are most certainly good at one thing: criticizing. I’m not saying that is a bad thing. It’s good to have an opinion, but we should know where to draw the line. Being enraged about the violation of human rights by Maya Khan in her morning show was great. We showed her that civil society is sensible and very active. However, when my Twitter and Facebook were flooded with angry comments about the latest Sana Safinaz advertising campaign last night, I had to see what the ‘poor’ brand had done to deserve ...

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Protocol phobia in Punjab

During present week the Punjab government remains occupied to provide red carpet reception and protocol to visiting Turkish guests and Lahorites had to face unprecedented traffic congestion, lack of civic facilities and travel hindrance. Although Istanbul Mayor Dr. Kadir Topbas was a distinguished guest in the city, the inconvenience faced by city folks because of the elaborate protocol accorded to him was above tolerance level. Topbas was offered a VVIP protocol with signal-free movement, high security apparatus and lavish banquets. The protocol was against the stipulation of the blue book, a document which decides the level of protocol to be ...

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