Stories published in August, 2012

If I could wish a wish I would wish for Eid all year long!

With the last few days of Ramazan followed by Eid festivities, it is not unjustified to say that a period of celebration is fast approaching us Pakistanis. Thank God! The highlight of these celebrations is nonetheless the buzz that one gets to experience right before Eid. The moment you step foot into the tiny lanes of Gizri market, or the famous Ashiana, you can sense the excitement when a swarm of aunties are seen, making the lives of their ‘bechara darzis‘ (poor tailors) miserable. Designer catalogues in hand, ladies of all shapes and sizes, stand deciding their ‘trendy sa Eid ka jora’ (Eid clothes) to match their ...

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Time I killed, time that killed me

Time; the constant variable, Time; the very inevitable, Time; which stops for none, Like a tide, Time; no heed for us it glides, Time; which I valued not, Time; about which I forgot, Times on which I was careless, Time which I thought I had, And the very thought made me, Practically fearless. Times at which I was worthless, Heckles, reckless, In my laziness, In my craziness, In a hazed state, In utter distaste, I didn’t make haste, And an excess of my time, hence, I laid to waste. In my final testament, however, I must say to endeavour, I killed time, And it returned the favour! Read more by Hassan here or follow him on ...

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Rajesh Khanna: Your human side made you a superstar

It has been exactly a month since the world lost the superstar, Rajesh Khanna. However, I feel that when an obituary becomes adulatory, it stops being honest. Does an obituary need to be a blind obeisance of the person who died no matter how big or small he or she is? Why take the human out of an obituary and make a person look like an infallible supernatural force? If you read the pieces written on the film star Rajesh Khanna after his death, most of them ignored his human frailties, his weaknesses, his failings and his tragic and lonely ...

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Ek Tha Tiger: A star studded project and nothing more!

Phrases like ‘it’s a masala film’, ‘total time pass’ and ‘mass entertainer’ have been used by filmmakers to cover up for their bad scripts and below par performances all the time. These are the same excuses under which films like “Bodyguard”, “Ra One” and Rowdy Rathore” were made. “Eik Tha Tiger” (ETT) promised to go a notch or two above these films with its pre-release build-up because let’s admit it, even though Kabir Khan’s previous ventures (“New York” and “Kabul Express”) may not have been pieces of cinematic brilliance, they were not absolute no brainers either. “Ek Tha Tiger” has been the most anticipated film ...

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Is literary guidance in Pakistan comparable to the US?

I had never been to upstate New York before, and the whole idea of attending a writers’ conference at a liberal arts college ten hours away from my home in Michigan seemed daunting. I didn’t know what to expect. I was intimidated, to say the least. I have been residing in America for the past two years only, and I still consider my poetry in English to be deeply Pakistani; I believe it will take me some time until I fully adopt the American idioms. As my father drove us through the gorgeous green hills of upstate, I was filled ...

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G-B massacre: When will Pakistan really win independence?

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) is a natural splendour which Pakistan boasts as a tourist attraction for foreigners and expats. This mountainous terrain is adorned with snow capped  peaks, lush valleys and rivers that could revitalise your very soul. This place was heaven on earth; this place exists no more. G-B, which once stood as the most appealing attraction for tourists now stands amongst one of the most neglected regions of the world. Eaten away by sectarianism, extremism and militancy, our lush valleys of the North are embedded with fear and vulnerability. The presence of militant factions and clashes between rival sects have become ...

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Did the KGB kill Zia?

This year marks the 24th death anniversary of General Ziaul Haq. His airplane called PAK-1 (Model C-130 Hercules) crashed on August 17, 1988 about five minutes after taking off from Bahawalpur (Zia had flown there to witness a US M1 Abram’s tank demonstration). Zia, due to the geopolitical circumstances, was afforded a long list of possible enmities. To put things in perspective, he had been targeted on at least six previous occasions including an especially close save form a missile fired at his plane. The broad spectrum of his enemies ranged from the Bhutto family domestically to the Red Army fighting in Afghanistan. In ...

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TTP: Can we reverse the plague of extremism?

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for two well-publicised attacks in the country on Thursday, August 16. The first involved the well-planned attack on the Pakistan Air Force base in Kamra, where nine militants engaged security forces for nearly an hour before they were brought down. In the other incident, militants stopped several buses travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit in Mansehra and ordered 19 members of the Shia community to disembark. They were killed at point-blank range. Then, as I wrote this column, I heard channels blaring news about a blast near Safari Park in Karachi, just as a bus ...

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I am disgusted at what Zia did to Pakistan

To begin with, I absolutely loathe generals in uniform running countries. No matter how incompetent the politicians are, how relevant the doctrine of necessity is and how much of a messiah the man in the boots is, there is something very corrupt and amoral about the whole thing. I remember watching Ziaul Haq’s martial law speech for the first time as a teenager during the peak of the lawyers’ movements. As a child who grew up in Musharraf’s martial law, I, for the first time, was discovering terms like ‘judicial independence’, ‘supremacy of the constitution’, and the ‘primacy of democracy‘. ...

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Pakistan vs India: Who’s the better hacker?

The kids were probably bored at the other side of the border. August 15 was approaching; patriotism was burning up like inferno in their passionate hearts. Their country’s pride was at stake, they had to do something to make Bharat proud. And what better way to accomplish this feat than hacking a bunch of Pakistani websites? ‘Congratulations Bhai Sahab…yeh Bharat Ratna Apka hua…Taalian!’ The Pakistanis on the other side of the border are no less patriotic. They have been on these hacking sprees on and off, with the same zeal and fervour. For these Indian and Pakistani kids, cyber space is the ...

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