Stories published in March, 2012

Pak-India showdown: Let the quivering begin!

Show me a sporting rivalry greater than Pakistan-India and I will show you the cure for cancer! Those who want to rebuff me at this stage by pointing out that “The Ashes” is the number one rivalry in the game, can save their breaths. Pakistan and India have fought three wars against each other! How many have Australia and England fought? As rivalries go, they don’t come any bigger than this. The tension is palpable in the air when these two great cricketing nations go head to head. The last time these teams competed against each other, it was the World Cup semi-final almost ...

Read Full Post

‘My husband is my father’s age…’

A few weeks ago, I happened to witness the unfortunate crumbling and subsequent break-up of a close friend’s marriage. After hearing both sides of the story, I arrived to a conclusion regarding the main reason behind the failure: The husband was 20 years older than his wife. Although common in an eastern society where arranged marriages are the norm, such large age-gaps (10 years and more) often have great drawbacks in a relationship as intimate as marriage. In our society, parents are in a rush to marry off their daughters before they hit the twenty-fifth birthday mark (or even earlier), ...

Read Full Post

‘If I delete this message, would it be a sin?’

I am 18 years old, and I am a regular receiver of Faiza’s Islamist text messages. Every other day, I can be sure of being forwarded a Hadith, or a prayer or advice, sometimes about the path to happiness or in other cases, about maintaining modesty. Whether I read them, delete them, forward them, or watch as they pile up in my phone inbox, is irrelevant. This electronic message is not the kind of message carried by a paper flyer from a mosque, or a dars pamphlet invitation from a relative. They are mass produced, more old-school, and definable events. These ...

Read Full Post

Mata e Jaan Hai Tu: A new age drama

Humsafar fever is over. The drama may be remembered but the excitement has ended before you can sigh “Khirad”. But there is a new drama on the block! Hum TV’s Mata e Jaan Hai Tu is  based on a novel by Farhat Ishtiaq who also wrote Humsafar. Honestly, when the promos for the show were first aired I couldn’t even understand the name Mata e Jan properly! So, what got me hooked? The cast. Over time, directors have understood the importance of faces that brand the drama. This drama stars: Sarwat Gillani, Adeel Husain, Sanam Saeed, Junaid Khan and Sajida Syed. In the show Sarwat Gilani plays Hainya, a girl ...

Read Full Post

Girls can throw acid too

Earlier this week, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy returned to Pakistan after winning an Oscar award for making “Saving Face”, a documentary about women who are victims of acid attacks. Yesterday, a news report in the media about another acid attack caught everybody’s attention. This time, however, one thing was different; the girl wasn’t attacked, she was the attacker. Nabeela, an 18-year-old girl, in Faisalabad attacked her boyfriend Asif with acid after he allegedly decided to end a two year commitment. As far as I am aware, this is one of the first cases heard of where a woman has used acid as a weapon. While I admit my first ...

Read Full Post

Who can answer the silent questions of a young Hari boy?

My Eids are always spent in my village located in interior Sindh. Last Eid, I spent the whole night playing cricket, feasting on Karhai at a highway eatery coupled with the occasional smoke. I sat with my paternal cousins, waiting for another round of tea till four in the night. That is when the ‘haris’ woke up to start another day of their daily toil. The peasant’s life – what miserable existence! Generation after generation, cycle after cycle, season after season; the tiller of the soil, the reaper of mother earth’s countless benedictions, clothed in nothing more than rags, an axe in ...

Read Full Post

How to avoid getting slapped

Recent events have led me to believe that this world is a very dangerous place. Teachers get slapped at polling stations, bouts of amnesia suggest that politicians don’t believe the accused is the accused at all and then politician’s claim the slap never occurred, contrary to video footage! Even after you pardon the person who slapped you, there may be naysayers who say you were never actually slapped at all!! How are we supposed to protect ourselves from the inevitable? In these troubled times getting slapped has become a greater threat than ever before. While PPP’s Waheeda Shah seems to be the new ...

Read Full Post

Why fighting Mullah Radio is not easy

It was on May 7, 2006 that our team started the transmission of Radio Khyber, located within Khyber Agency, one among the seven districts of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the north-western part of the country. I started transmitting with a passion to empower local people and give them a voice- a voice which had been kept silent since 1901, the day the colonial empire of India promulgated the Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) in Fata. The FCR was designed by the British, who used the region’s own tribal traditions and social psyche to rule ruthlessly over the territory. All the ...

Read Full Post

Whatmore: Magician or mistake?

With the appointment of Dav Whatmore as coach of the national team, several former Pakistan players and fans have voiced the opinion that removal of Mohsin Khan from that position was an uncalled for action, considering the excellent run of results the side had enjoyed under him, notwithstanding the recent drubbing at the hands of England in the limited-overs series. However, an overview of Pakistan’s performance over the last year-and-a-half indicates that the good results that they enjoyed predate Mohsin’s appointment as interim coach. That’s why it would be unfair to the likes of former coach Waqar Younis — under ...

Read Full Post

There is a Muslim in evolution class

Protest is becoming a fanatical obsession within Islamic discourse. In recent news, British Muslim students have been walking out and boycotting biology lectures that focus on the theory of evolution. Before we revert to citing the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism let us remind ourselves these are students that are clearly intelligent enough to study medicine in one of the most competitive universities within the country. Clearly, we must move beyond stereotypical divisions of ‘faith vs. reason’. This is a complex issue because the issue here is clearly not about intelligence, scientific curiosity, hard work or open enquiry. These British Muslim students have enrolled ...

Read Full Post