Stories published in July, 2012

Ramazan packages: Disguised acts of benevolence to win votes

With the holy month of Ramazan upon us, the federal and Punjab governments have announced subsidy packages for the poor public to facilitate price cuts on edible items as a goodwill gesture. The Punjab government has earmarked Rs4 billion to provide subsidies on kitchen items to the poor during the holy month. In a similar initiative, the federal government has reserved Rs 2.532 billion to extend subsidies on various food items and edible commodities. The prime objective of the packages is to ensure relief to the low-income segment of society. This is an election year and the PPP has thought about the ...

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Make your spider sense tingle with The Amazing Spider-Man

When I first read about the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, I was immediately sceptical about it and rightfully so. It felt like just another Hollywood gimmick to cash in on the character after the dismal Spider-Man 3 of 2007 tainted the trilogy with its embarrassing mark.  But when the news got around that Marc Webb would be directing the new franchise and that he was to take a much more serious approach towards it, my anticipation started growing for the film. Sure, Marc Webb displayed his talents in the quirky comedy 500 days of Summer (2009) but the question was, Can he direct a superhero flick? But why a reboot? What was wrong with Sam ...

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Back in Pakistan and loving it!

The second best decision I ever made in my life was to come back to Pakistan. The best decision I made was teaching in this country that has been labelled as the ‘most’ dangerous country in world. Michael Kugelman, the program associate for South Asia at the  Woodrow Wilson Centre, recently wrote a blog for Dawn about the return of expats to Pakistan. He concluded the article with a question to expats about what it is like to be back. This is a question posed to me almost on a daily basis by anyone I meet who discovers I have returned after having ...

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Destination Abu Dhabi

It’s strange how an ordinary reporter’s perspective can change overnight with a single trip abroad. A reporter, according to the norms of a society, comes from them and lives amongst them and, thence, reports what he or she feels must be reported justifiably and correctly, about them. The perks associated with being a reporter pull you in all directions; you are given many opportunities to advance in the field, globetrot occasionally and become a great writer. My recent adventure landed me in Abu Dhabi as I was on a Familiarisation Trip, hosted by Etihad Airways. I got to travel in the ...

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Radiated mind

I painfully limp towards a pile of poetry buried in dust, Devouring words and lines Like the bittersweet intoxication of a spinal tap; To feed a brain long dormant For three months in a hospital bed.   To awaken the poet that almost died, Words wither away and sentences snarl imperfection. Nocturnal witching hours are spent in pursuit of creativity, Hopelessly. I had the word! And now it’s gone, In the fuzzy, indistinct chatter of air-conditioning vents.   Claustrophobia. A plastic mask clasped me during cranial radiation, Like an implacable pillow in the hands of a killer. A tight white prison For technicolor sensibilities, Banning any muses from melting through.   My mind is nothing without my art. And to escape from the eternal facade, I present to ...

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Why one should love arranged marriages

It is hard for every girl growing up in Pakistan to brave drawing-room meetings, aimed at deciding their fates for life. But one only finds the recipe for matrimonial bliss, after coming to terms with it. Arranged marriages may seem awry to some, but you only realise when you have undergone or seen cases in which love marriages don’t quite prove to be the best way out. Here are some of the reasons why I believe arranged marriages trump love marriages. Statistics have proven that the probability of a love marriage failing is higher than an arranged marriage. People who usually fall in ...

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Can Pakistan witness an Egyptian style revolution?

Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor, who poured fuel over and set himself ablaze in an elegant double-storey building with arched, azure shutters. The hard-scrabble loitered in the hospital for a few hours before breathing his last breath. His self-immolation became a catalyst for the Tunisian revolution. Khalid Mehboob, a depressed and dejected father of six, jobless and poor, self-immolated himself outside Karachi Press Club. Unlike Tunisia, normal life sustained in Pakistan. According to the annual Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 12,580 people were killed all across Pakistan in 2010. Thousands of innocents fall prey to sectarianism, ethnocentrism, drone attacks, ...

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On bringing Akmal back

To most, the name ‘Kamran Akmal’ brings back bitter memories of some of the most embarrassing defeats our national cricket team has ever faced. The worst of these was the Sydney Test of 2010. Four dropped catches and a run-out missed enabled the Aussies to snatch victory out of the jaws of a certain defeat. To me, however, the name brings back memories of when I sat in the National Stadium, Karachi, and saw our three prime batsmen being dismissed in the first over of the match; a defeat lingered on our heads and we were only to be redeemed ...

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There was a time when I could walk through Quetta

Balochistan, and Quetta in particular, is very close to my heart. I have an emotional attachment to this place since a great part of my childhood was spent travelling though it’s scenic landscape. There was, indeed, once a time when this was possible. It was far removed from any ethnic killings. There were no Baloch Liberation Tigers (BLT) and people were not opened fired on for just passing though the area. The killing of 18 people in Turbat yesterday left me heart-broken and shocked. Was this the same place where I spent some of the happiest moments of my childhood? I ...

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Dr Abdus Salam: Pride Pakistan does not deserve

Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive of the Science and technology Facilities Council, told reporters at a briefing in London that they have discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson.  I’m sure that strikes a nerve with many knowing Pakistani’s. The Higgs’ boson, in Pakistan, is synonymous for Dr Abdus Salam; a scientist who was at the fore of this frontier of discovery in the 1970s. But rather than appreciation for his magnificent achievement, he was shunned and sidelined. Why? Dr Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first and only theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate, was also an Ahmadi. His grand unification theory of strong, weak ...

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