Stories published in April, 2012

Murtaza Razvi: A former colleague remembers

As I told probably a dozen people yesterday, I met Murtaza (or ‘Sunny’ to his close friends) the day he came to Dawn – as assistant editor, from an advertising company, where he had been in a senior position. Saleem Asmi was the editor of the paper at that time and asked me if Murtaza could share my room while his was being prepared. I am glad I said ‘yes’ because the next four to five years, while we were both editorial writers at the paper, developed into a mutually cordial and respectful friendship. Murtaza, along with, the now, senior editor ...

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To wear or not to wear a niqab

It is no surprise that both our top blogs this week have talked about the face veil. In the first one, our blogger wrote about a social experiment she conducted by wearing a niqab for a day. The other blog talked about the controversy surrounding a picture of a veiled woman holding up a bra. Here are some of the reactions to these pieces: “’Female figure is a source of evil and therefore should be kept strictly hidden. All girl children be taught to be ashamed of their own bodies. Any reference to female anatomy meets with a response of disgust, ...

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The phone call I wish I had never received

I don’t know whether this is the right time to write this blog or not, but I do hope that when people read it, it will help them make the right choice when faced with a situation similar to mine. Exactly 16 months ago, I was standing in line with other confused Pakistanis – the lot who ask themselves the same question day and night: should we move abroad to greener pastures? I am not trying to vindicate my actions by writing this; the truth is that it was a difficult decision for me. On the one hand, you think of your ...

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No one wants to tour Pakistan

As someone who has watched Pakistan play cricket on numerous occasions overseas, as well as in Karachi, I can tell you the experience is enormously different at home. Overseas, the seats are comfortable, the stadiums in pristine condition, the crowds well-behaved, the food non-threatening and no eyesore security grill to separate the playing area from the spectators. At home, the seats will put your rear to sleep, the biryani is spicy enough to make you wish you brought antacid with you, and the frighteningly energetic crowd is so loud that you can’t speak to the person next to you without the aid ...

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Let the Sialkot Stallions represent Pakistan

A selector once associated with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that he would not hesitate to select players from even a small town if their performance outshone cricketers from other parts of the country.  The point that he wanted to make is that quotas should not be set per region and teams should be selected in the best national interest, irrespective of which provinces and cities the players come from. Nowadays, a lot of effort is being made by the PCB think-tank to form a formidable squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Amid discussions on who should ...

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Meet Umair, Pakistan’s very own child prodigy

Child prodigies are an eclectic bunch; being  on the fast-track in the lane of life at such a tender age makes them so. Although, some go on to commit suicide, turn to crime and develop drink and drug problems, we remain irrevocably fascinated by them.  We are overcome by their childhood achievements and allured by the fame and recognition they bring to the family. Secretly we wish in the depths of our hearts that our children would also do the same. However, what we fail to realise is the immense pressure that these kids are put under, the long hours that they spend ...

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It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right, I hope you’ve had the time of your life

School is over. No, I don’t mean it’s over because of a strike or bomb blast. I mean it’s over in the sweetest, most beloved of ways the end of year party. Eighteen-year-olds from A-Level institutions across the city suddenly cleaned up, straightened their ties, and ironed their dupattas. Mascaras were lost and found, bathroom mirrors were overtaken, and poses were struck in airy gardens and sleek white studios. Jimmy’s and Dossani’s probably made a killing this week. And Facebook won’t let me forget it. Suddenly, everyone’s cover photo is that of them with their friends, eating halwa puri at Boat Basin ...

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In FATA, radio is the only voice

Twice, I missed the cadet college test because the only source of news was newspapers, and the admissions news failed to reach me in time. Even today, students and the people of Fata don’t get news in real time. An international media development organization in Pakistan has trained the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) broadcasters on public service announcements (PSAs) in training sessions held in Islamabad Pakistan. Broadcasters from local radio stations have attended this five day, hands on training on PSAs. While PSAs are used widely elsewhere in the world, they have never been used by these stations in Pakistan ...

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Offended by a veiled woman holding a bra?

I have been asked to comment on this picture by the blog editor of The Express Tribune, probably because the last time I blogged about the niqab, I took a controversial stance that earned me hundreds of comments, at least a thousand “likes” and retweets on Facebook and Twitter, and the ire of several dozen internet trolls who branded me as the blogger who “supports nudity”. Rather than provoke an equal amount of ire this time, I decided to do things a little differently: I posted the picture on my Twitter account and asked people what they thought about it. Given the ...

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Prison break: Lessons to learn from Bannu

A brazen attack by militants on the Bannu central jail that led to the escape of 384 inmates, including several hardcore Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan members, shows just how much of a threat trigger-happy fighters pose to provincial and state-run institutions. Their ability to strike any target at will is scary indeed. Time and again they have demonstrated their prowess by targeting Nato supply terminals smack in the centre of the settled district in Peshawar. And now the central jail attack in Bannu has proved beyond doubt that all government claims of having curbed militancy are nothing more than shallow political statements ...

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