Stories published in June, 2012

Peshawar’s transport blues

The city of Peshawar lacks an organised system on all major fronts. Each successive government gives hope by promising relief. However, the promises go completely silent thereafter. There is no respite for a commoner. In the backdrop of the recent reduction in oil prices, the fact that people undergo hardships while travelling through public transport is rather abysmal and thus, increases the public’s misery manifold. According to public statements made by the authorities concerned, fare for transport is calculated in relation to petrol prices. Why then, is there a hike in fares when gas stations remain closed due to violence, ...

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Yes, I don’t watch TV

The last time I took a five week break from writing my exams, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad. The whole world oohed and aahed. Did anything that exciting happen this time around? Nope. Same old, same old. The chief justice’s son accepts bribes and we all get out our popcorn buckets for another showdown. Becky Anderson wins the prize for the most loathed CNN anchor in Pakistani CNN viewership history. And I won a bet with my Dadi (grandmother), who was convinced that Mubashir Lucman was the fountain of all TV holy wisdom until he finally, ...

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Husain Haqqani’s story

Perhaps no individual in Pakistan has had a rise as steep as Husain Haqqani. As an ordinary journalist, he climbed the ladder of success to become first a respected academic and then Pakistan’s envoy to the United States within a couple of decades. Before becoming an ambassador, he was a staunch critic of the Pakistan Army and its US support. His books, opinion pieces and articles in various newspapers are ample evidence of his pro-democratic mindset. The notorious Memogate scandal, accusing Haqqani of seeking US help against the Pakistan military unfolded in a very strange and unbelievable way. As a ...

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Lessons in disguise

The present controversy involving Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz is a lesson in disguise for institutions. The media caught in the explosive case was a matter of concern and opportunity for the honourable judges to reconsider their positions. In its order, the Supreme Court mentioned the media’s role, inviting its practitioners to follow the code of ethics before reporting such delicate matters. It also referred to meaningless statements made by the three anchorpersons. The astounding planted TV talk show again raised eyebrows causing the judges to discuss it in their full court meeting this week and issue directives for ...

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I hate you, Ali Gul Pir

Ali Gul Pir, I hate you. I hate you because I just watched your music video on YouTube; the same video that people are frantically passing around; the same video that has even managed to catch celebrity attention. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy @sharmeenochinoy Waderay ka beta: Hilarious track & oh so true! Catharsis Boy @CatharsisBoy Ali Gul Pir making fun of waderas using wadera money. That’s funnier than the youtube video itself. FU @VitalSaeen My profile is now inspired by Waderai Ka Beta :D I hate you for writing, singing and putting up this song. What I hate even more is that I can’t stop singing ‘waderai ka beta waderai ka beta‘. I hate you , Ali Gul Pir, because I didn’t think of this idea ...

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Beware: Your knight in shining armour might be out to get you!

We’ve all been advised at some point in our lives to choose our company wisely. Never in time has it held more importance than today, when you can’t even trust your own blood. Javaid Choudhary’s column, some time ago, titled “Save your children” in the Daily Express makes for a chilling read in this regard as he meticulously outlines how certain gangs are operating in the country. They settle in posh areas, admit their children to a pristine private school and the next thing you know, your child has a new best friend that he can’t stop raving about. Soon enough, as this ...

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Put a red dress on

And he asked, and asked For her to put red on; She smiled, and mischievously, In white got donned.   He wanted, and wilt, To propose to her that night; Take her, seduce her, Under the moonlight.   She knew, and enjoyed, The extra attention he showered; Smitten souls, budding love, No more strength to be a coward.   He hoped, he prayed, The answer would be ‘yes!’ Make vows, utter loyalty, And not a tad bit less.   She laughed, secretly ecstatic, Comprehending it all too well; Preparing mind, controlling heart, Shall she go all “Of course, what the hell”?   He smiled, he talked, As they got into the car; Joked well, hid jitters, Winked, saying they were going far.   She coaxed, she cajoled, Though not tell ...

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The horror of ‘the other side of the bridge’

Phrases like, ‘Oh no! Your house is on ‘the other side of the bridge’,’ or ‘That side of the bridge is so far away,’ often frequent the regular Karachiite’s tongue. In fact, there is a general feeling of time wastage, shock, disgust, annoyance, frustration and condescension associated with ‘the other side of the bridge’ in Karachi. Many of these chords ring at the mere mention of the bridge that connects the Defence side of Karachi to the rest of the city; the ‘other side’ of the city – the darker, scarier, gloomier side of the city. Sheesh, the drama! Here are a ...

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‘Punish’ the eunuchs, because they are ‘vulgar’

We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side. Apt words by Thomas Mann. Life is hard for most Pakistani’s but for those of us who are different – whether by accident or by choice – survival is certainly an achievement. The transgender community of Multan realised this recently when the ASWJ demanded that their members be punished for spreading vulgarity in society. So now, an entire community is to be ‘punished’ for the sins, ...

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Drones are our friends

There is a dichotomy of opinions between people about the ongoing drone attacks. Where some consider it to be a good deed when a terrorist is killed, others think of it as mass murder due to the innocent casualties attached to the attacks. ‘Drone’ is one word that every Pakistani knows of at the present time. It is one of the most useful inventions in modern warfare, after the birth of the AK-47. You don’t need a huge on-foot operation to eliminate your targets anymore, nor do you have to risk the lives of your men. Most importantly, drones give instant results which one ...

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