Stories published in June, 2012

The devil’s workshop and justice undone

Justice is supposedly blind, and in the case of Lal Masjid, it is also mute. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, treason is: The crime of doing something that could cause danger to your country, such as helping its enemies during a war. Given, some members of the world community look at Pakistan as being a country full of radicals and terrorist-sympathisers, but I would like to believe that is largely untrue. Eyewitness testimony says our troops were fired upon while they were still outside the mosque, which according to military protocol is cause enough to breach the complex. So forget helping ...

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Meeting the stars and seeing the light

My colleagues envy me, my family wants to know all about them and my best friend urges me to share the juiciest off-the-record bits on celebrities that I interview. Yes, there are perks of being able to interview and write about celebs. You have to track them down, meet them face-to-face, interview them, and chat with them about their professional careers and about everything else under the sun. At first, it can be a little difficult to break the ice, but if you become cosy enough and if you have a little background knowledge about their career and area of ...

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Euro 2012: Let the football festivities begin!

The football festival started in Europe this Friday with the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012. Poland and Ukraine are hosting the event, while the rest of the world belts up to experience an array of great goals and intriguing games in the next three weeks. There are many aspects of Euro 2012 that are being overlooked due to the various off-field scandals that have attached themselves to the sport. The media seems to be inclined towards reporting the gossip rather than following the team and the sport itself. With some unsavoury match-fixing rumours still in ...

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Soldiers of life

I was at work when my sister broke the news that my aunt had been diagnosed with lung cancer. This news left my entire family in shock. We decided to meet immediately to fast and pray together for her health. That day, we felt the amazing grace of God and His presence in our lives as each and every member of the family bowed down in prayer for my aunt. As the days passed, I visited her regularly and talked to her for hours. These frequent visits have brought us closer and I now realise that I had never given her ...

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Boys just can’t be girls

Sitting alone in a train compartment, I waited for my co-passengers to arrive in Bangalore. Like several people, I enjoy being a silent observer of those around me and particularly on a long journey that I was about to undertake, I figured, it was a fine pastime. I was headed from Bangalore to New Dehli.  A lady, not more than 35-years-old, struggled her way into my compartment carrying a rather heavy child in her left arm and balancing a huge suitcase in her right. Her hair undone, sweat rolling down her forehead, her eyes showed relief that she made it ...

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Who will speak for the Pakistani woman?

Whether you wear a dupatta or not, the fact of the matter is that the minute a woman steps out of her house, she will feel as if everyone is staring at her. And this will happen in the local market and regardless of which neighbourhood you may be in – affluent or relatively poor – the reaction from men is usually the same. They gawk at you as though you are from a different planet. Even when I have to go to my workplace, I quickly get off the car and rush inside, lest all kinds of prying and penetrating eyes be ...

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Trendsetters: Parliament to be new wrestling ring

Almost half-a-century back, the greatest wrestler in history died in Lahore. Gama Pehlwan spent his entire 50-year wrestling career undefeated.  Even today, he is considered to be head and shoulders above anyone who ever entered a ring. He was a role model, not just for wrestlers but for other athletes, too, with Bruce Lee among those that picked up elements of his workout technique. It is sad that today, not just Pakistan but the world seems to have forgotten about wrestling as a sport, focusing instead on ‘professional’ wrestling, which is really just grown men pretending to fight or noora kushti in ...

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Subliminal mockery and the devils advocate

A recent encounter with a firangi journalist made me realise that I have proudly joined the cult of perverse Pakistanis. Anyone who bears an accent and worships another deity must face the ‘us’ and ‘them’ complex. We will, at all times, find or literally pluck out a thread of sublime mockery from well-structured declarations of a love for Pakistan and every time these foreigners show us the positive side of Americano, we want to throw a brick at their Cau-caustic face. The jingoistic journalist started off the session just fine but then started chanting ‘bombs’, ‘bullets’ and ‘rape cases’ in ...

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Is a safe work-environment a privilege only the rich deserve?

Recently, I attended an International Conference on Occupational Safety and Health Training  in Islamabad. During this two-day workshop, I was baffled by the advancements made in terms of protecting the valuable lives of skilled labour.  I heard talk about the use of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) for workers’ identification and safety; the use of iPads for addressing construction workers during their toolbox meetings (a worker meeting held at start of a day); Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology for worker safety and, in short, a stream of new, innovative ideas. I must say, I was very impressed by how big companies valued ...

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What exactly are we teaching our children?

I opened The Express Tribune’s online edition this morning and read a news report saying that an eighth grader shot himself. Out of habit, I then opened the online news version of Deutsche Welle, a German national radio channel and found a report on how an increasing number of juveniles in India were being implicated in cases as serious as murder. With instances where there have been juvenile terrorists, and in a time when children decorate the first rows of protests and young ones attack cars and burn tyres, there is little hope for these kids to grow into sane human ...

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