Stories published in July, 2012

Kamran Akmal: Is he really worth it?

Kamran Akmal, who has been out of favour since 2011, is all set to make a comeback to the Pakistani team after having being named in the 30 man squad for the September’s World Twenty20. We have often heard people state many reasons for why he should be back which is mainly due to his batting abilities. People in favour of selecting him state that he can provide the required oomph to our batting in shorter formats; that Kamran, on numerous occasions, has saved Pakistan with his batting heroics and that he has been scoring consistently in the domestic circuit since his drop in ...

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Veena Malik: Why I love to hate and hate to love her

My fascination and repulsion with Veena started while I was working for the Life and Style pages. Our reporters would get the barest whiff of Veena – whether it was a broken meaningless sentence from her or some sleazy pictures that had appeared online – they’d pass it on to us. Sub-editors, like myself, would pad it up (some reluctantly others gladly) and make it into a full blown story. Within just a few seconds of uploading it, it would go viral – much to my dismay! At the time, it seemed wrong, unethical and a bit like cheap reporting. Six ...

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‘Firaaq’: When the suppressed resort to terrorism

Since the year 2004, Pakistan has seen its North-West tribal agencies recurrently get bombed by American drones. After a total of around 300 drone strikes, about 3000 people have lost their lives. Though the United States proudly claims these attacks to be instrumental in eradicating the terrorist activities in the region, drone strikes still invite the debate as to whether they actually serve this purpose and this purpose only. More so, a wide majority of Pakistanis─ the tribal population included─ question the casual use of Pakistani air-space by the American military. Though people complain that these attacks ridicule the sovereignty of Pakistan, there ...

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Social Media Mela or Twitterati kitty party?

Yesterday afternoon, I was at the Social Media Mela, (better known as SocMM12) at Avari Towers, Karachi. As I neared the hall where the particular session I had to attend was to be held, I heard they were running late ─ and fashionably so. When I first saw #SocMM12 trending on Twitter, I immediately thought of guns (let’s blame rap songs on the radio for this). When I found out what it really was and I took a look at the event guide online, I made a biased assumption; this wasn’t going to really be a broad-horizoned ‘social media’ mela; ...

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Spoiler Alert: Gangs of Wasseypur – real to the core

I have serious reservations against the terms ‘parallel cinema’ or ‘art movies’. These just confine some dazzling cinematic experiences to a select audience. Why do people go to watch movies? For romance? For great music? For action? For sex? For humour? Would you go to watch a movie that has all the four? Probably not. You will call it an ‘art movie’ because it does not have a Khan or a Kapoor or a Kumar in it. Gangs of Wasseypur (GoWp), instead  has Manoj Bajpai in his finest performance ever. Yes, even better than Satya and that’s a lofty claim. This film is a shut-up call to ...

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Let’s love Pakistan ─ a new resolution (III)

In September last year, I took up the challenge of making a list of 65 reasons why I love Pakistan—the poor, broken country I and everyone else I know takes for granted. The idea was simple, but its execution, not so much. Which is why it’s taken me all these months to come up with the third set in the series. With 26 reasons down, I now plan to complete the list in a number of quick and regular posts by August 14, 2012—Pakistan’s 65th Birthday. So, here goes, again. 16. Thanda Pakola Inspiringly green with a distinctively refreshing taste and smell, this ...

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Banking bullies and the way to set them straight

Every now and then there is an instance where a banking institution treats its customers like trash and does everything that is not to be done with regards to customer service. I recently had a similar experience at a bank in Lahore where I have an account. I was shouted at in the bank by employees who refused to listen to me and instead told me to get out as they did not want to help me. I am certain other people have gone through horrible experiences with other banks just like I did with mine. So, what does a consumer do after ...

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The common man can make Imran Khan win

Will Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ‘sweep’ the next general elections? Well, Imran might not be able to sweep them but he will definitely register significant gains. There are two reasons for that. First is the addition of around 38 million new voters in the electoral rolls, the majority of which are constituted by the country’s youth. As explained by Imran Khan in a recent talk show, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were able to garner 18 million votes in the 2008 elections. Thus, it’s a ...

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Nullah Leh: A solution for one, a solution for all

A continuing theme in the management of the twin cities has been misplaced priorities. Where water and sanitation, two interrelated issues that are basic requirements of a healthy life, remain low on the list of priorities, bigger roads, the need for which can easily be eliminated by the introduction of a genuine public transport system, seem like the single focus. Aeschylus, a Greek playwright widely regarded as the father of tragedy, once wrote, “By polluting clear water with slime you will never find good drinking water.” Case in point, Rawalpindi’s famous Nullah Leh. The Leh, probably the city’s most recognisable natural landmark, ...

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Culture cousins: Beirut and Karachi

The population is made up of people from diverse religious, linguistic, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Political parties are based on ethnic and sectarian lines which go hand in hand with political identities. Unity is relatively rare among the political leadership and the population in general. The masses blindly follow the incompetent and corrupt leaders and unfortunately some have no other choice as their livelihood depends on it. The same faces and names remain in power for years on end considering the main qualification for holding office is that you belong to a specific family. The blame game never ends (external or ...

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