Stories published in August, 2012

Have some mercy, Pakistan!

For 65 years, Pakistanis have struggled to agree on an identity that defines us as a nation. However, a sickening incident that occurred on Friday could serve as a reminder of the one thing no sane, literate person can question. An 11-year-old Christian girl in Islamabad was booked for blasphemy after being accused of burning a Noorani Qaida, a booklet used to familiarise children with Arabic as written in the Quran. The girl is believed to have Down Syndrome. While enough to explain and even forgive her for her actions if they are true, it did not save her or ...

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Pakistani Football: Where are you?

Pakistan has been blessed with prodigious sporting talent, with success ranging from the cricket field to the squash court. Despite this fact, one area has puzzled Pakistanis for generations – football. For a country that’s been involved in the sport since its inception, it’s extremely surprising that not even a single world-class individual has been churned out. Even as a team, Pakistan has performed deplorably on the international stage; with an international ranking of 176, it is virtually a non-entity in the sport. A combination of poor management, lacklustre infrastructure, uninspired coaching and minimal support has all led to ...

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A president puts people first, not his comfort!

It was a normal day in the city and roads were open for traffic. Not a single person could be found expressing resentment over the visit of the most important person of the United States of America, in the wake of foolproof security measures that had been taken. Yes, I am talking about President Barack Obama. He visited Kirkwood Community College where I am currently enrolled in a programme to learn about American culture and language. President Obama addressed a large audience in a hall located on the premises of the college, which stretches across 680 acres. However, while security ...

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Are Pakistani Ahmadis loyal to their homeland?

Consider this before buying your next Umra package: Jabbar sahib can grab your shoulder, beam you to the Kaaba from anywhere in the world, where you can offer prayers and return back home in no time. The idea is laughable on many accounts. It rejects physical laws, discards scientific evidence, and makes a mockery of Islamic practices too. Add to the giggles that it was not an illiterate mullah, but Pakistan’s star scientist, AQ Khan, who made this assertion. Please watch the following video clip from 37:30 minute onwards. That’s where the laughter ...

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So long, farewell: College really isn’t that far off, right?

What makes a bunch of kids pack up a lifetime (albeit a short one) worth of belongings into a suitcase, say their goodbyes to family and take last-minute pictures with friends, and then quite suddenly, leave? When did going to college become so dramatic? It begins, as it ends, in drama. Last Monday’s A’ Level results involved the usual pre-result splitting up of students into the overly religious (no goat left un-sacrificed), the annoyingly hyper-worried (I’ve failed, I’m doomed, I am a blot on my parent’s izzat), and the blasé (wake me up when it’s over). But there was also an ...

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Lets love Pakistan: a new resolution (VI)

Finally, after months of struggle and heaps of derision and negativity, I complete the challenge I laid out for myself last year: to compile a list of 65 things that make Pakistan so special. I don’t know if I’m taking much away from this seemingly futile exercise, but one thing is certain: in a small, feel-good way, I think it has served its purpose by rekindling that flickering flame of patriotism and respect for the one certain thing in my life that is my country, my home, my Pakistan. My dear Pakistan, may you live long and prosper. 51. The new wave ...

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Airport travelers: Friends afar

There’s something magical about letting yourself disappear in the music of your mind and losing your heart to absolute strangers in their conversations, their actions and their journeys. Like a ghost, I sit on one too many buses and trains just observing people. I take mental notes about their mannerisms when they’re not watching. I make up stories about where they may be headed, who their lovers may be and what they might have overcome in their lives. I fall in love with some and end up hating others. And though we never even exchange a single word or glimpse, I ...

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Bollywood, please stop demonising Muslims

The relationship between Pakistan and India has always been a challenge because of the cultural and religious differences.  However, both governments are trying to promote diplomacy and are trying to formulate resolutions regarding the Kashmir dispute. We must not disregard the ‘Aman ki Asha‘ initiative either, where decisions like releasing prisoners and making amends is being employed. What should be scrutinised and acknowledged is that the media has a great role amidst all of this. This is especially so for films; film is a medium through which we can influence the general views of the public and tow it in the right direction. Regrettably, ...

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Lahore, how I love thee

I may not have seen the whole world yet, But I have seen a lot of it. Sure, I left my heart in Paris, Yes I lost my self, Wandering the sloping streets of San Francisco True, my mind found solace at the top of Mont Blanc Yet, my soul will always belong to Lahore The city that still captivates me, like no other Maybe I’m biased; maybe it is nostalgia, But when I am in Lahore, my soul is alive, The whole city pulsates with unabashed life The sounds of New York, The lights of Hollywood, Even the grandiose of Las Vegas, Nothing, Nothing compares to this city of my childhood, The city where my soul ...

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Dar-ul-Sukun: Celebrating Eid without loved ones

Dar-ul-Sukun (Lahore) is a shelter for the mentally disabled or handicapped located within the premises of Punjab Welfare Society. This shelter comprises of wards for both men and women. The female ward houses ten women in total. While for many of us, Eid is spent with friends and family, it is different for these women living in Dar-ul-Sukun. Their day begins when their attendant, Ms Shameem Zulfiqar, comes in accompanied by her two young children. Together, the traditional Eid breakfast is prepared, following which, she helps the residents dress up. They do each other’s make-up and have fun while doing so. ...

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