Stories published in May, 2012

Bella Vita: Satisfy that sweet tooth

Desserts do make life sweet; this is exactly what I thought as I entered Bella Vita in Karachi – the new classical and trendy Italian gelateria and dessert bar that was formally launched on May 19.  Serving a variety of gelatos, shakes, sorbets, coffee and a range of unique Italian desserts, this place is strictly for those with a sweet tooth. The brains behind Bella Vita are Omer and Hassan, two young business graduates who have started this venture after the success of Del Frio. The cozy outlet offers a relaxed atmosphere; the high backed chairs are comfortably cushioned, there is wood ...

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What the NATO Summit achieved

The Pakistanis came, they didn’t quite conquer, and now they’re leaving. At the end of the day, the NATO Summit in Chicago produced no news, and yet there was much to report. With hundreds of media personnel camped at the massive media centre at McCormick Place, the venue of the summit, the subject of the day remained Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reporters tried to work out whether Pakistan would announce the re-opening of the supply routes, an issue that has been raised in nearly every press conference that took place during the summit. All that work really was in vain – Pakistan ...

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A transplant surgery gone wrong

The liver transplant centre of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) witnessed its first liver transplant surgery on May 2. The establishment of this transplant centre was directed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the utilisation of huge amounts of fund required for its construction still remains controversial. The sad reality is that no one can hold the minister and his team accountable for this sum of money. The surgery — which took place on May 2 — was historic because it was the first of its kind in the country. Indeed, this is true, for it met a ...

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Losing our dignity, one drone at a time

I still haven’t forgotten a story that my father told me about eight years ago. We were sitting outside one late night, revelling in the midst of family and friends, smoking the traditional hookah and dining the night away. I don’t remember how we reached this topic but suddenly I found myself listening to my father reminiscing about the days when he first flew to Saudi Arabia in the 1960s. He spoke of that time with great admiration and fondness, recalling how, when he first mixed in with the locals, the first question they asked him was where he was from. And ...

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How much Klout do you have?

Is there a way to measure your influence on social media sites? People have forever been confused about what exactly makes one important online and where they rank. Is it traffic or engagement? What is the actual standard for success online?  In September 2009, a small San Francisco-based start up with 40 employees stated that they had the answer to all of this. Their answer was Klout. Klout essentially claims to be the standard of gauging how much influence a person has in the world of social media by aggregating their Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other footprints to come up with a score for influence. Yes, there are tons of social ...

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A small town girl with big dreams

I am a small town girl from Balochistan, Pakistan. Six years ago, I moved to Karachi in order to achieve a better education, and a year ago I got a scholarship as an exchange student to represent Pakistan in the US. I was obviously ecstatic when I got selected. I know that everyone feels happy when they get a scholarship, but for me it was a little different. I was not just an ordinary teenager living in the big city; my life was more of a continuous battle. Against whom, you might ask? It was against my own family. So, here is my story: My arrival in the ...

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5 signs of a lame conspiracy theory

We often find ourselves being buried alive beneath an avalanche of conspiracy theories that are often racist, usually illogical and almost always hilarious. That does not change the fact that conspiracies do sometimes take place. So how do we sift out the handful of sensible theories from a mountain of preposterous hogwash you ask? BSD. BSD (where D stands for detection) is an art quite easy to master. Here are a few things that you should be on the lookout for, as they may help identify a false conspiracy theory. I’ve deliberately refrained from directly naming any conspiracy theories, so as not ...

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Let’s not forget my brothers, the men of Siachen

The sentries changed duties and the humble started preparing to bow before their Lord, oblivious of the misfortune they were about to meet.  Just about the time when darkness cracked and light approached, with an intimidating thump and a spine chilling swish, thousands of tons of glistening snow descended on the 150 helpless souls, crushing and destroying all that came in its way. The entire Battalion Headquarter was gone within seconds and I, along with thousand others, lost their brothers in arms. Once again we are left to mourn and bewail the deaths of the brave sons of the soil, ...

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Why the Twitter ban is serious

Two years ago, a ban on Facebook was enforced in Pakistan. Yesterday, Twitter was blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Do you see a pattern here? The reason for this ban – which was lifted within a day by Prime Minister Gilani was that it was against the ‘promotion and encouragement to participate in blasphemous contests’ through Twitter. Here’s my first argument: if such contests are being held by some people around the world, how exactly will Pakistan’s suspension of Twitter stop the practice? How does barring people from any site accomplish anything, leave alone the discontinuation of the allegedly ‘offensive’ content? Coming to my ...

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Ugly realities: Protestors have no rights

Protests are a legitimate mode for citizens to convey their rightful demands to those sitting in the corridors of power. By using a combination of tact and skill the civil and police administrations can help avoid any embarrassment by discharging their basic duties. But time and again we hear of demonstrators facing mistreatment as the administration turns to brute force in quelling the protests. The other day, the Punjab civil secretariat observed an ugly episode when protesters of the Population Welfare Department entered the premises to protest. They misbehaved and as a result, official paraphernalia was damaged. Fortunately, Chief Secretary ...

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