Stories published in April, 2012

Thoughts on anti-vulgarism day: Dear Diary…

Dear diary, Today I came back from school after having an interesting day in my class. We, the fourth graders, learned about science, math and geography. We also had one man come to our class. He reminded me of Santa Claus but he wasn’t as nice. He was very strict. He told me that I can no longer sit with my best friend Mariam because it is wrong. I’m very sad about that. He said I don’t look at her in a nice way. I don’t know what he means but he’s older and everyone said he is very religious ...

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Asad Umar: From Engro to Imran Khan

After all the negativity attached to our trembling politics, corporate tycoon Asad Umar’s addition to the scene is a welcome surprise. Who is Asad Umar? Asad has been with the Engro Corporation for the last 27 years in different capacities, before he finally assumed the position of company CEO and president in 2004. During this period, he played an active role in the complete transformation of his conglomerate, and converted it into a diversified industrial business, with interests ranging from fertilisers, foods, petrochemicals, chemical storage, energy and commodity trading. An amicable and intellectual personality, Umar has enjoyed a great reputation amongst his friends and colleagues. A ...

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Prime Minister Gilani: Gone in 30 seconds

The pictures were baffling. Once a verdict is announced and the gavel comes pounding down, a convict is supposed to be handcuffed and bullied away by a team of hardnosed officers. This one was waving his unrestrained hands and ushered into safety by his colleagues. Those guilty of serious crimes serve endless sentences languishing behind bars, gripping them as if they were the only ones listening. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani served his in the air conditioned comfort of courtroom number four between the moments when Justice Nasirul Mulk uttered the short order and seven pattaywalas (court ushers) in starched white uniforms ...

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Who is the real enemy in Afghanistan?

In 11 years of warfare, Kabul has never seen a Taliban offensive such as this; government buildings, foreign embassies, NATO offices and bases were continuously attacked for two days by coordinated rocket and gun attacks around the country. Deeming the violence as a ‘spring offensive’, it is disheartening to see that 11 years of war and devastation have not had the result some may have hoped for, and also raises questions as to who the ‘real enemy’ is, and whether the ‘enemy’ can be pinpointed to being one group or individual. It also raises the question as to how many different perspectives ...

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Fashion will save Pakistan from terrorism n’ stuff

Fashion is not just what you wear. Sometimes, it’s a statement; sometimes, it’s a call to action. But in Pakistan, fashion is resilience – an ‘in your face’ to the forces that aim to destroy the country. Pakistani fashion is fast evolving into the counter-narrative that will put this nation on the fast-track to progress. Don’t believe me? Below is a selection of just a few of the ground breaking, era-defining, nation-building and instantly wearable designs that are fast eroding the cultural malaise we are experiencing. Behold! Design sense: Po-mo (post modern vs postmodernism)  trash bag chique Inspiration: Neon signs, California beaches, trash bags. The ideal dress for the upcoming ...

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What will Grossman’s visit achieve?

On the face of it, Pakistan and the United States are inching closer to a possible reunion as US Special Envoy for the Af-Pak theatre, Marc Grossman, is set to reset the volatile relationship with Islamabad. But there is a lot more to the equation than what meets the eye. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has presented its recommendation to the parliament, and the defence and cabinet committees are set to endorse the new terms of engagement with the United States. Despite all the fuss, it seems that there is no fundamental change in the relations between these strange ...

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Your child needs surgery – come back in 2016

Here’s something interesting that happened a few days ago. I was going about my routine afternoon work when I was interrupted by a lady who walked into my office with a cute four-year-old boy by her side. The lady introduced herself as the daughter of a maid who used to work at our house a long time ago. As she spoke I could not help but notice the little boy, Rehman was his name, as he had already started fiddling with a pen that had been sitting on my desk. As my attention shifted back to the mother, she handed me ...

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The way forward for Pakistan cricket

All the rumours of sacking Misbah as captain have been laid to rest after Pakistan’s victory in the Asia Cup. The fear of Pakistan going downhill after the ODI series lost against England is no more there. Pakistan cricket has been stable, and for once the cricket season ended on a high note with not much to worry about. But what’s next for Pakistan? There are still many unanswered questions like: Who will be the next captain for Pakistan? Which new bowlers will have a future in the team? For how long can we persist with spinners as our main weapon? Who is the right ...

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The last few minutes on a crashing plane

They were headed for a destination; some for familiar places, others looking for new ventures. She must’ve been sitting on the aisle, slowly sipping a glass of coke, glancing at the in-flight entertainment every now and then. A toddler must’ve been on his first flight looking out the window amazed at the puffy white clouds outside his window. The crew may be behind the curtain, cracking jokes, stacking up food trays and fixing their attires. There might have a been a man in a suit, typing away corporate plans for his company for the next two quarters. A father may have ...

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Modern syllabus with outdated content!

“Copy rights are reserved — the book has been approved by education department of Pakistan according to the modern syllabus”. This sentence has been written on the first page of Gulshan Urdu, taught in class six in schools across Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan. You will find more of the “modern syllabus” as you cursorily go through its pages. For example, there is a specimen letter on pages 97–98. A student, after receiving a money order from his father writes back, thanking him for it. The words of the letter are translated here verbatim to help the reader retain original impression. “Dear Dad! ...

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