Stories published in July, 2012

Aamir Liaquat: The second coming

Remember when Superman lost his life in a war against the seemingly unstoppable alien, Doomsday, in order to defend Metropolis? Except it turned out that he hadn’t really died and instead was actually just recharging in a Kryptonian regeneration mix for a few months so that he could return – fully alive and functional (notwithstanding that terribly embarrassing mullet). Now, Pakistan’s Ramadan hero, Dr Aamir Liaquat, will be joining the ranks of famed second comebacks so favored by comic books and holy scriptures. Yes, the rumor mill got it right this time around. Liaquat, who has often fallen from grace in the ...

Read Full Post

Kill me, for I have sinned

A few men came forth grabbed me by my collar, dragged me across the floor and took me outside. I tried resisting and digging my fingers in to the concrete ground, but I was helpless. They started beating me, crushing my hands underneath their shoes. I had no idea why they were so angry with me. While I was hauled through corridors, an angry mob was gathering in front of the station, they were furious and were destroying everything in their way. I could see some policemen trying to scatter the mob but they couldn’t protect me. The crowd terrified me but nothing ...

Read Full Post

Shahid Afridi: Our true all-rounder

The one word that I would use to describe Shahid Afridi is ‘exasperating’. His tendency to throw away his wicket at a rush-of-blood moment has many Pakistani cricket fans, including myself, clutching our heads in our hands. He has also displayed this spirit off the field, with frequent retirement announcements and press comments that have jeopardised his captaincy. And of course, who can forget the ball biting and the dancing on the pitch incidents? Despite all this, every so often Shahid Afridi pulls off a stunt that leaves us all in awe and simply inspired. His latest decision to contribute towards ...

Read Full Post

Will Imran Khan win hearts (and votes) in Gilgit?

As chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan is busy trying to woo the masses for a ‘change’,  a small but highly committed team of professionals of the Imran Khan Foundation (IKF) is quietly paving the way for the ‘tsunami’ to head towards Gilgit-Baltistan. Without giving top priority to the political agenda of the PTI, the team ventures into valleys to get a feel of the real issues that rural communities in Gilgit are confronted with. Based on first-hand information, the professionals have come to the conclusion that poverty is the biggest issue plaguing the region. So this year, they distributed ...

Read Full Post

Learning how to drive

“Speed bump ahead,” the driving instructor says. I should probably do something I thought. I wait a bit. “Speed bump ahead,” he repeats, this time a bit more urgent. I can actually see the speed bump now. On the Sea View road, out my right window I can see the beach. It’s 11 in the morning and families are already out, lazily enjoying Cornettos (ice cream) and camel rides… Bahir nahin, saamnay dekhay! (Don’t look outside, look ahead!) Speed bump! Clutch! Brake! It’s a tiny speed bump, so I don’t experience the car-flinging-in-air kind of thing I think I’m going to have when the ...

Read Full Post

Karachi encroached: Mi casa es su casa?

It has happened many times in Karachi. Somewhere, somehow a public amenity plot is commercialised. Encroachment on open spaces and parks is often carried out by powerful private groups. But what can be done when the government itself starts leasing out amenity space to make money? Karachi’s Safari Park was inaugurated in 1970. Spread over 300 acres of land in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, it was supposed to be an open environment where animals roam freely. That never happened and small cages were built for the poorly looked after souls – the previously envisaged park is just a zoo now. Over the years, the ...

Read Full Post

Why we Khan’t

A few days back, a family friend of mine narrated an incident about how he escaped paying taxes, or at least didn’t have to pay the full amount that was due. To cut a long story short, he bribed his way around the system by giving a very expensive mobile phone to the daughter of a tax official. This is a story that, I am sure, we have all experienced and witnessed in different forms and shapes in our everyday life. Now, I would like to point out a few things, which, I feel, are essential to the argument that ...

Read Full Post

The power of ‘sorry’

Back in 1967 during the Six-Day War, the USS Liberty, an American technical research ship stationed in the international waters of the Sinai Peninsula, was attacked by Israeli Air Force jets, who killed 34 crew members and wounded 170 more. Controversy surrounded the attack: was it a mistake or a purposeful strike designed to draw America into war against Eygpt? Nevertheless, the Israeli government subsequently paid out millions of dollars in compensation to the families of the men killed in the attack, as well as money for the wounded and to repair the catastrophic damage to the ship. The incident ...

Read Full Post

Run Katie, run!

It hasn’t been a very happy birthday for A-list Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, aka Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, as he turned half a century in his Beverly Hills mansion while the rest of his country prepared for Fourth of July festivities. It’s not easy to maintain a straight face, even for an actor, when the world and it’s telephoto lenses are waiting to catch a glimpse of a wretched expression (after discovering one’s spouse has filed for divorce and sole legal custody of one’s beloved  and only biological child). And then there’s Katie, who’s become a worn-down shell of her previous Dawson’s ...

Read Full Post

And then there was light, thank you WAPDA

Thank you, WAPDA; thank you for these two hours of continuous electricity. I was about to blow out the candle and go to sleep Santa ─ you like being called Santa, right? Considering you love to shower us with unexpected electricity flow as presents when you feel like it. So, in return for this generosity, I thought I should probably write you a little thank you note. I know I have been a bad boy lately, going to bed as late as eight when it’s already dark by six, but then it’s your laxity that’s to blame. Why supply electricity for two continuous ...

Read Full Post