Stories published in June, 2012

Pindi’s Orwellian water crisis

With fuel and electricity shortages already rampant, one of the least surprising local stories in recent weeks was that water is in short supply in the capital and Rawalpindi. The latter has a much more acute shortage, around 15 million gallons a day or 26% of total demand. While an inexact measure, working on the assumption that one in four Pindi residents doesn’t have any water, one can get a better grasp of how bad things are. One may wonder, quite justifiably, why nobody saw this coming. Well somebody did and for once, it wasn’t just the experts, but the government. In ...

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An open letter to Ali Azmat

Dear Ali, I hope this letter finds you in great health and wealth. I am writing to you today to tell you that you have let your fans down – perhaps not all but quite a few of them. I have been a fan of your vocal prowess ever since I heard “Dosti” for the first time in 1988. You used to be part of The Jupiters then. Your voice and the song captivated me; I was instantly hooked. Then you joined Junoon, and from then on I and many fans like me swooned to the wonderful music you created. Pakistanis finally had ...

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God’s gift alone will not put us on the map again

No matter how good you are, there’s always room for improvement. Natural talent can take the individual only so far and to achieve greatness – to stand out in the crowd – a lot more dedication and hard work is required. It takes hours of practice to perfect one shot and even that can’t be enough when you’re under pressure in a crunch match. This is where intense training and having an optimum fitness level come in. They give a player the confidence he or she needs to feel superior to his opponents. That, in itself, can easily win half the ...

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Power crisis in Larkana

The menace of loadshedding is experienced across the country. Surprisingly however, irrespective of this alarming power shortage, the elite still enjoy uninterrupted power supply. Twelve to fifteen hours of loadshedding occurs in Larkana alone which is the centre of trade and industry. It’s also the stronghold of the PPP and the hometown of former prime ministers, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter, Benazir Bhutto. Irked with this step-motherly treatment, Larkana’s traders and industrialists observed a shutter-down strike, carried out a protest rally and staged a sit-in on June 12. The traders protested against discriminatory loadshedding because according to them, the ...

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Thanks for making me who I am, dad

I was gently awoken by the stroke of a warm and affectionate hand on my forehead. I felt someone remove my glasses and put away the book I was reading. As I tried to get up while half asleep, I heard my father say: “Beta, you should avoid staying up so late. It’s not good for your health.” This same man, while crossing the road today, held my hand reassuringly. However, his hands are different now, the wrinkles and veins are more prominent – he is getting old. Even though they show a mark of the years that we’ve left behind us, ...

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Every day is Father’s Day

Sunday is Father’s Day and yet again flowers, colognes, ties, shirts, cigars, books and general goodwill shall be shared mutually. Since ours is a populist society and we relate to and live vicariously through the characters of this expendable culture, Gone with the Wind is a visual treat most of us are familiar with. A timeless classic of cotton plantations and genteel society, propped up by dark skinned armies of either sex, brings to mind Rhett Butler in the movie. His daughter, Bonnie, is the pride and joy of his rather soiled life. In a heated confrontation with Scarlett O’ Hara (a protagonist in ...

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Baba, you will always be my hero

I will never forget that first day of Eidul Azha in 2009. My father had taken my brother and I to the race course graveyard to offer  Surah-e-Fateha at our grandmother’s grave. After offering prayers, my father stood tall and said: “Remember boys everyone has to come here one day, so do good and live a pious life.” Baba wasn’t one to not practice what he preached, and a pious life is what he did live. He endeavoured to do everything the best and the right way. My father was a great man. He is alive and always will be as he ...

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Thank you God for giving me my father

A father is role model for his children. He is their first hero and their first inspiration. My father was also my role model; I always wanted to emulate him in whatever manner I could. Whether this meant adopting his dressing style, the way he ate, socialised with other people or the way he treated his children and other family members – I wanted to be exactly like him. Ziauddin Khan left this world on February 26, 1995 at 10:05pm; he was my father. Heartbroken and disillusioned, I stood by his bedside when his doctor informed me about his demise. My world ...

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Let’s not hate Malik Riaz yet

I don’t hate Malik Riaz. I have no reason to. I can’t blame him for the time I had to bribe a Nadra official in Lahore to have my computerised ID card made. My name was similar to someone who was apparently wanted by the FIA for indulging in anti-state activities. I didn’t understand the system so it was a whole month before I came to my senses and realised that a couple of thousand rupees was a small price to pay to be taken off Pakistan’s most wanted list. I don’t even blame him for the time I had ...

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The morning I stood still

Qambar is enthralling during  the winter time. Its calm mornings with the mist and cool air mesmerise me. However, do not ever let yourself believe that you are alone; mysterious beings live alongside humans, and to some, they reveal themselves in the most frightening of ways. I too, had a similar experience. Read on. So, Qambar is a small town near the city of Larkana, with a population of almost four hundred thousand people. My grandparents live here. I was a financial auditor at a national bank in Larkana and on weekends, I left my hotel to spend time with my grandparents. The drive from my hotel ...

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