Stories published in July, 2012

US ties are not dispensable

Supporters of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council are bent on blocking Nato supplies. Rubbishing the possibility of any backlash from Western governments in the form of hostile trade policies and international isolation for Pakistan, they say the US is already a sunset superpower and that Pakistan should foster stronger trade ties with China and other emerging powers. According to critics, two fully-fledged wars in the last decade have shaken the economic foundations of the US. However, when the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were at their peak, its war-related expenses amounted to $125 billion a year, which is not even one ...

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Malaysia’s exquisite mosques

It is always a treat for me to go to mosques in the countries I visit because it reminds me how universal the message of Islam – describing a state of mind where one surrenders or submits to the one Almighty God -truly is.  One of the highlights of my first trip to Malaysia was visiting a number of the country’s beautifully designed and diverse mosques catering to the 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people who are Muslim. Some of the mosques were Ottoman or Arabian influenced in their style, while others boasted traditional Malay architectural designs, some exhibited  modern and ...

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Ramazan and the ‘holier than thou’ syndrome

The month of Ramazan is upon us. People from all walks of life are preparing for a month of fasting, praying, giving and showing off. I mention “showing off” on purpose to bring to light all those people who become religious only during the month of Ramazan. Not that there is anything wrong with becoming all religious for just one month out of 12. Who am I to judge? However, what becomes irritating is the ‘preachy’ and ‘screechy’ attitude people suddenly adopt. A few days ago, I was having a casual conversation with a friend of mine and just as ...

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To hell with ODIs and T20s; it’s Test cricket that matters!

When the ICC made the annual adjustments to its Test team rankings to reflect the recent form, a couple of days ago, the Pakistani fans were in for a pleasant surprise. Pakistan was ranked at number four, which is the highest ranking it has achieved in the past five years! There was a time when Pakistan was ranked third in Test matches. It was not that far back and till the first half of 2007 Pakistan maintained this rank, behind Australia and England. When the annual revision came around in 2007, the new rankings showed Pakistan at number six – its lowest ranking ...

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All I ask for is two drops

They whisper of demons that lurk in water the secrets it holds, the lies I thirst… The oasis knocks at my door, With the two drops I seek But my water, I’m denied By the whispers of the unknowing I thirst… Helpless before this treason, Of whispers I cannot stop, The word you utter is a plague, The vengeful cackle of pox, I thirst, I wait… In the lonely hills of the west, That sanity long forsake, No water to be seen, In the empty nest of my dove, The oasis knocks at my door, They’ve hidden away the key, My water has been swallowed, By the barrels of their guns, Lo, a vanguard of toddlers, Whom warriors cower behind, We, the ...

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Ramazan and its blessings

Living in the second biggest ‘Islamic Republic’ country of the world, we inevitably take this title for granted. Furthermore, being born in a Muslim family, we tend to neglect all opportunities to explore our religion. Since Ramazan is here, let’s examine what it’s thought of from the views of all kinds of Muslims. A 7-year old: “Mama, can I keep one fast at least? All my friends are allowed to keep two”. A 16-year old: “Mama, do I have to keep all fasts? I have sports practice after school and I get really de-hydrated”. Fitness lovers: “Can’t wait for Ramazan; it’s the ...

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Ramazan bazaars: A hub for personal publicity

I was surprised to see Ramazan bazaars set up across Lahore providing subsidised food items to the poor for the holy month. These bazaars have become popular sites for the publicity of rulers. The canopies in these bazaars are graced with pictures of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. It seems that both the federal as well as Punjab governments are in a publicity competition to attract the maximum number of people at these bazaars. Ads, banners and pamphlets are being used to highlight price differences of kitchen items. This publicity may ultimately eat up a lion’s share of the reserved ...

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India: Who’s the fairest of them all?

While I sat lazing one Sunday morning, I received a frantic phone call from a friend, “My naani (maternal grandmother) thinks I will never be married!” she yelled. “She says I am 28-years-old and dark!” she exclaimed. Fairness was central to the lives of our older generations (I keep asking why that was, to no answers!). Even long before the British arrived in the subcontinent, the fairer among the Indians were well received in social settings and marriage markets. I remember my grandmother referring to her grandmother as being “as white as snow” (and hence being immensely beautiful). Therefore, the subcontinent has ...

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Euro 2012: So Poland and Ukraine can host but not Pakistan?

The UEFA‘s decision to choose Poland and Ukraine as hosts for the Euro 2012 was dealt with criticism and rightfully so: The two countries are known for their hostile attitudes. Poland, where 96.7% of population is pure Polish, is ranked number 14 in the list of the most racist countries in Europe. Ukraine, which has a whopping 78% of pure Ukrainians, has bagged the 23rd position on the list. However, we were not aware of the situation regarding racism in Ukraine and Poland before the release of the famous BBC documentary “Stadiums of Hate”. ...

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How is Abdul Qadir Gilani’s win a victory for democracy?

Yesterday the by-elections on NA-151 were held in Multan. This was the very seat from which Yousaf Raza Gilani was removed as the Prime Minister. Ever since PPP was elected and Gilani was appointed as the Prime Minister, Gilani’s sons, Abdul Qadir Gilani and Ali Musa Gilani have been doing exceptionally well. We found a few hints of this in the ephedrine case in which Musa Gilani is currently implicated. But I digress. So, in the by-elections Abdul Qadir Gilani scored a win. No surprises there – the Gilanis are a Pir family with a huge number of followers and a lot of influence ...

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