Stories published in May, 2012

The Dictator is no Borat

Those who are familiar with Ali G, Borat and Bruno, must definitely be waiting for the new and much awaited movie by Larry Charles called The Dictator which stars Sacha Baron Cohen. There is no doubt that the actor is amongst the finest comedians and can bring life into any script with flare. But this particular movie surprisingly received a mixed reaction from the audience. The Dictator is based on the bestselling novel Zabibah and the King, purportedly penned by Saddam Hussein. The movie tells the tale of a ruler (a dictator) who lived a jeopardised life trying to make sure that democracy never enters his land. ...

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Dr Shakil Afridi’s verdict: A can of worms

Dr Shakil Afridi recently got sentenced to a virtual life-imprisonment, courtesy of the Jirga that decided his fate. Putting all emotions aside along with issues that surround the debacle of what remains of the US-Pakistani relationship, this case has raised some very pertinent and challenging questions, all of which stimulate yet more controversies.  First things first – Afridi ran a fake vaccination campaign. This is totally, irrefutably unethical on every level. The trust and bridges that international aid organisations have built over decades were swept away by one vain action of a doctor. People in Pakistan already look upon vaccination efforts as ...

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The grand divide

My faith is righteous, And yours is void. My Book is divine, And yours is flawed. I say my prayers, And you do too, But yours are worthless, And mine are true. The light is mine, And yours is gloom, I will taste those wines, Oh, you’ll be doomed, I do not hate you But can I love you? And mingle with you, The way brothers do? Oh no, maybe not. I am told not to. My brothers are those, Who share my faith, No… not you, And I am baffled, By the life you lead, The path you tread, The things you do, The words you recite, The way you deny, That you are not right. All of it is nothing, Nothing but a fallacy, Even if you ...

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Kolkata Knight Riders ride to victory

Finally the Delhi Lease & Finance Limited Indian Premier League (DLF IPL) 5 ended last night with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) being crowned the new champs. This season was marred by controversies including the ugly allegations of spot-fixing after a sting operation resulting in suspension of a few players. But for the Knight Riders, that would hardly seem relevant as they took the Cup with much aplomb and passion. And it only seems fair that the Knight Riders were the winners for the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who were making their third straight appearance in the final of the IPL, had ...

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They do leave, Mr Prime Minister

Despite calls from Pakistan’s opposition to step down or be ousted, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani  is still in charge. Fresh from his triumphant reception outside the Supreme Court, Gilani took on a different kind of challenge when he sat down for an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson last week. I have to say, the prime minister has come a long way since his television debut as the bumbling leader of a parliament of dunces. Throughout the CNN interview, he sounded confident and combative. His answers were mostly canned responses to the usual canned questions ...

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Splitting atoms: Can your nukes save you?

Pakistan’s nuclear program, much like Pakistan itself, is always a headline grabber. And like Pakistan, it’s usually for all the wrong reasons. Certainly, there are all the perfect ingredients for a pot-boiler present –the potential death of millions, espionage, conspiracy, the threat of pilferage and/or outright takeover and so on. Also predictably, very few of us really see eye to eye on the usefulness of this programme. Those to the left of the political spectrum see it as a wasteful, dangerous and unnecessary tool, while the rightists amongst us see it as an indispensable asset and a laudable achievement. There ...

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Why sending bureaucrats’ kids to govt schools won’t work

Would forcing government servants to send their children to public schools help improve the quality of education? While such a populist measure seems well intentioned and simple enough, it betrays our continued ignorance of how education works or at least how it should work. Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe that state schools need to be expanded and improved. I believe that schools should be palaces. However, the factors that contribute most to improving the quality of education, measured in terms of examination performance include, the quality of teachers, supportive parents and the financial standing of the student’s household. In ...

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Entity Paradigm: Can one milk a dead cash cow?

In Weekend At Bernie’s, the two protagonists spend the whole duration of the film carrying around the corpse of their boss Bernie, trying to cover up his death. The same seems to be the case for Ahmad Ali Butt taking over EP with Fawad Khan and Waqar Khan having recently left the band. The band has died but Mr Butt wants to carry its carcass around pretending that there is still life in it. EP for all intents and purposes died when Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan aka Xulfi the main creative force left the band to form Call. In the last few years with ...

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The Speaker has spoken

In light of the short order announced by the Supreme Court in Criminal Original petition no. 06 of 2012 in suo motu case No. 04 of 2010 on April 26, 2012, I maintain: (a) the disqualification of Mr Gilani was instant upon him being convicted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan; (b) Neither the Speaker nor the Election Commission of Pakistan can sit in judgment over the order passed by the Supreme Court. The ECP can simply notify that a seat has fallen vacant as a result of the disqualification of Mr Gilani; and (c) Mr Gilani would not be able to stand ...

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The Harvard Syndrome

Every morning when he wakes up, the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes are the big block letters on the chart opposite his bed: HARVARD. It taunts him, tempts him and ultimately motivates him; it’s what gets him out of bed every morning. This is the manic spirit that possesses much of the student populace in the ‘most prestigious’ schools of Pakistan. Come the first year of A’ Levels and every student switches to college mode. Thus begins the madness. On an academic level, students fill their schedules with even more tuitions, in pursuit of those elusive (or not) A-plus ...

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