Stories published in April, 2012

Satisfied with TV coverage of the Bhoja Air crash?

As the Bhoja Air plane went up in flames on Friday evening, so did tempers within the Pakistani social media crowd. Along with the “RIP all victims of Bhoja Air crash” status updates on Facebook, there were angry tweets questioning why television channels aired the passenger list and why images of the crash site were being aired. It seemed that it was easier for people to direct their fury at the media for being “sensational, insensitive and unethical”. Some from the media circle, however, defended the coverage and retaliated by saying that the reporters were doing their jobs. This brings to light a few ...

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‘Have some paan, Bhai jaan’

Bhai jaan! Yahaan sub milta hai: meetha paan, tambaaku wala paan, khushboo wala paan aur aap kay liye khaas, special paan. (Brother, you will find everything here; sweet paan, tobacco paan, scented paan, and just for you, a very special paan.) Aslam, a 15-year-old boy, dressed in filthy clothes and oiled hair, which diffuse a pungent smell, usually utters the same statement to every man or woman strolling in front of the tobacco shop in a market in Defence, Lahore. The young salesman never fails to grab the attention of passers-by. It’s impossible to ignore the boy because he delivers the sales ...

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Seraikistan will not weaken the federation

While it may seem that the PPP-led government has failed to deliver to the masses, it has definitely added some feathers in its cap by extending autonomy to provinces through the NFC Award, by abolishing concurrent lists, and through the passing of the 18th and 19th constitutional amendments. In addition to this, it has provided the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan with identities, and given representation to religious minorities in the Senate. Indeed, PPP is one of the few parties in the country which strongly believes in provincial autonomy that is directly proportional to strengthening the federation. However, whenever ...

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The politics of doctors’ protests

Fifty per cent of the general cadre doctors in Punjab retire while still in the basic pay scale (BPS). The health department, like many other government departments, doesn’t have clearly defined requirements procedure which, once attained, put you into the next pay scale. This is what the doctors call a service structure and are fighting for in Punjab these days. The issue came in to the limelight this time when 691 new doctors were recruited by the Punjab government through the Punjab Public Service Commission. The government had to transfer around 450 doctors to adjust these new doctors which infuriated ...

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Bhoja Air crash: Where are our media ethics?

Hit by one colossal tragedy after the other, the people of Pakistan are heartbroken and disappointed. What could have been an averted disaster became the inevitable when Bhoja Air decided to fly its 40-year-old Boeing 737-200 for Rawalpindi on April 20, 2012. Boarded by newly married couples, children and their parents among others, at 5:05 pm from the Karachi airport, the inaugural flight came hurtling down towards the outskirts of Rawalpindi at around 6:46 pm on Friday. While I checked channels for updated reports and alerts on any survivors, I couldn’t help but notice how rash and obscenely inappropriate the local ...

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Hate Story: Vengeance with vulgarity

We all know Vikram Bhatt as the infamous director who dares to be different. Remember Raaz, the horror movie starring  Dino Morea and Bipasha Basu? Well this time Bhatt is back with a film that he penned himself. Hate Story brings to screen the same old Bhatt formula; the story of a scorned, wounded woman seeking vengeance. However, the very first promo of the movie makes quite an impact;  with audacious and explicit scenes and lines, this film promises to be the “the most controversial film of the year“. Hate Story revolves around a journalist, Kavvya Krishnamorti (Paoli Dam) who conducts a sting operation and successfully defames a corporate house. ...

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Lifestyle Pakistan: To India, with love

If India and Pakistan had to update their status vis-a-vis each other on Facebook, what would they write on their page? Would it be ‘divorced’, ‘separated’, ‘it’s complicated’, ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’? Seeing their mood and bonhomie these days the most appropriate status update would be “in a relationship”. After the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, the two neighbours almost separated and their relationship remained complicated for two years. However, with the passage of time the wound started healing and a new realisation dawned on them; that it’s futile to lead separate and complicated lives just because of some ...

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What the Pakistan Premier League should look like

The dream of Pakistan Premier League (PPL) has finally become a reality: the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zaka Ashraf has declared that this event will be held in October.  Here’s what I think the event should look like. Name To be really honest, I would like a unique name for our tournament. Case in point; Spain’s La Liga and Australia’s Big Bash, two unique names which almost every sports fan knows. And frankly there are too many Premier Leagues in our region. Why not something in Urdu? Total number of teams  There are speculations that 16 teams will feature in the event, which is ...

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My reasons to believe in Pakistan

“Main to kehta hun bas karo aur Malaysia challo.” (I think we should drop everything and move to Malaysia.) For what seemed like an eternity, I just stood there with my eyes wide open. Shocked to the very core of my heart, I stared at him. My mind could not decipher where in God’s world my patriotic father had gone. He is the same guy who took bullets in his arm during student movements in his youth, and the man who helped me write my first speech in Montessori that ended with ‘East or West; Pakistan is the best.’ What happened to Pakistan Zindabad? What ...

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Remembering the day I saw Moin Akhtar

When I was eight years old, I had the chance to be part of a scene in a show with Moin Akhtar.  The shooting of the show took place at my father’s friends place at night. I remember standing in a corner while my sister got to film next to the legendary actor. Jealous beyond measure, I finally convinced my parents and joined the scene just to sit next to him. My sister and I played guests who had come over to dine with him. He was delivering his dialogues along with his co-actors and I was eating oranges. I remember being amused that the elders ...

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