Stories published in August, 2012

A beginner’s guide to Pakistani liberal politics

For the past one year, I have met quite a few people who are termed in Pakistani politics as “liberals”. Personally, I find this quite refreshing as I am from the generation who grew up during Zia’s era; the generation which was mainly inspired by our armed forces and characters like Mehmood Ghaznavi. However, based on my prolonged discussions with the liberals, I have managed to devise a five-step approach for the layman towards becoming a liberal in Pakistani politics. Step 1: Question the Two-Nation Theory: This is the most important and basic step. You must question why India was divided and ...

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G-B massacre: The government is all talk, no action

It was perhaps the first time that an international forum as prestigious as the United Nations took strong exception to sectarian violence, referring to the massacre of passengers belonging to the Shia community at Babusar Top, two days prior to Eidul Fitr. This was not the first incident where passengers were disembarked from a bus, identified and killed on the basis of their religious sect. Such brutal assassinations of innocent commuters in broad daylight, in some cases in front of their families, have occurred on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and other routes in the country. Secretary General of the United ...

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10 relatives I meet every Eid

Eid is one festival that brings together even the most distant of family members. We celebrate it with so much love and enthusiasm, mostly in hopes of bagging as much Eidi as we can. There are, however, certain types of relatives that you are always reluctant to meet on this auspicious day. Here is a list of ten kinds of relatives you hope to not encounter on Eid as much as you get to, much to your disappointment. The unknown one: You walk into the drawing room and begin your round of hugs and Eid greetings. Just as you are about to sit ...

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Spicing it up this Eid

Eidul Fitr, the first of two annual Muslim festivals, is a time to appreciate, share, and be thankful for what Allah has bestowed upon us. It marks the end of the Ramazan and fasting. People cannot wait to say: “Mubarak ho. Chand ho gaya hai! Kal Eid hai!” (Congratulations. The moon has been sighted! It’s Eid tomorrow!) Eagerly awaited by adults and children alike, this Eid is also dubbed as the ‘meethi Eid’ (sweet Eid) as it was a practice of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to start the Eid day by eating something sweet. For me, Eid is about waking up to enticing aromas wafting from the ...

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Blunt Manto: Your sensitivities are unimportant

Saadat Hasan Manto was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz on August 14, 2012. For all I know, Manto is probably uttering his favourite catchphrase, “bakwas hai” (it’s all trash), over and over again from up there, while calculating the pints of liquor, which selling the award at Lahore’s Landa bazaar will procure him. Manto, you thought the only better story teller than you was God himself? Oh, you clearly haven’t met the government. Manto mania; that’s my disease. It results in spasms of depression when Manto’s work is spoken about condescendingly, and soaring spirits whenever I meet people who love Manto’s stories as much ...

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What to do if you are caught in a bomb blast

Suicide bombing is an operational method in which the very act of the attack is dependent upon the death of the perpetrator. Though only 3% of all terrorist attacks around the world can be classified as suicide bombing attacks, these account for 48% of the casualties. Pakistan witnesses a suicide bombing attack on every 6th day on average. While there is no magic formula to protect you from acts of terrorism, one can always follow some common sense steps to reduce the risks. The following things you can do during and after an explosion to make the horrible event less painful ...

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‘Pack-is-tan’ stereotypes in the US

When I was 12-years-old, I visited my aunt in the US. During this trip, I tagged along with my cousin, who is barely older than me, to participate in a very American pastime: we hit the mall. There, we bumped into his desi American friend and I was introduced as the cousin from Pakistan. His friend turned to me and said, “Aap ko angrezi ata bhi hai? (Do you even know how to speak English?)” He enunciated every word loudly, as if I were deaf. I was 12, and this made me bristle with anger. “I’m not stupid,” I replied very stupidly. The boy ...

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Eid shopping is not therapeutic

Is it just me or does local off-the-rack fashion appear to be more cookie-cutter than ever? On the lookout for an Eid-appropriate outfit recently, I expected to enjoy browsing through the racks featuring the usual array of namesake labels, from trained professional designers  to bored housewives. Instead, the general search was nothing short of a frustrating nightmare; hideously large crystals on chikan, animal prints with fussy aunty-style details, and radiant colours made mundane with maternity cuts. Now, people pay tens (or hundreds) of thousands to look like sparkly gift-boxes on certain occasions, (and I’ve voluntarily done it, too) but I honestly couldn’t stomach it ...

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T20 World Cup: Can we make it to the semi-finals again?

As every cricket lover in Pakistan would already know, the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup has been announced. Experienced wicket keeper Kamran Akmal has made a comeback after having been cleared by Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) integrity committee along with the all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and batsman Imran Nazir. Pakistan has done very well in the T20 World Cups so far, making it to the semi-finals on all three occasions and being victorious on one. Here we will have a brief look at what we can expect from the selected squad in the upcoming T20 Cup. Mohammad Hafeez: The newly appointed captain ...

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Karachi for Dubai: An unfair trade

Ever since my family was robbed at gunpoint, we’ve been planning an escape route out of Pakistan. Lately, my family has given me a very serious country testing mission. The objective: to find a place that feels like Karachi — minus the killings and corruption. Naturally, my first stop was Dubai because if countries were related, wouldn’t Karachi be its twin sister? Only Dubai would be the prettier, more fashionable one with more money. But three days in the city and I couldn’t wait to come home to the ugly, wretched sister with no morals. I’ve always believed that every city has ...

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