Stories published in September, 2012

Batting for the Associates

So we have Ireland and Afghanistan representing the Associates in this World Cup. Associates, if anybody needs explaining, are countries that have not been granted Test membership from ICC. The focus of the whole world is on the big teams with the big reputations. I say fair enough, they are quality sides, more dazzling and since fever for the sport on a national level is restricted to few countries, it makes good business sense to do so! However, for a little while in global cricket competitions, we witness the less fancied sides – lo and behold the Associates!  Nations with ...

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Spare me the last grenade

Spare me the last grenade, My city bleeds like an ailing heart.   Spare me the last grenade, My mind is numbed by the whispers of death.   Spare me the last grenade, My dreams are shattered with every explosion.   Spare me the last grenade, My hopes are foiled by relentless fear.   Spare me the last grenade, My eyes cannot see a mother’s pain and grief.   Spare me the last grenade, My innocence is not prepared for death.   Read more by Taha here or follow him on Twitter @TahaKehar  Join us on Facebook for blog updates and ...

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A journalists advice on press conferences

When attending a press conference, be wary of casting a friendly smile or fiercely penning down notes in your notebook … refrain yourself from lifting your head to track the chain of growing whispers and strictly contain the urge of investigating it for these are all the signs of a tragic narrative in the making. It all begins with a gesture of friendship and idle chatter about the growing need for young people in the field. And, just as you decide to let down your guard and let slip the word that you, too, are one of the fresh inductees, ...

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Anti-Islam provocation and protest: Why react?

Last week’s attack at the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad over the US-made anti-Islam video brought back the memories of disappointment. It took me back to my Karachi University (KU) days in 2005, to the cartoon controversy and the frenzy it generated among Muslims. Students would come to classes only to be sent back home, while other students joined the cause and protest. Of course, KU protests were not as violent as the ones in Islamabad, but the intensity was the same. While it was evident that the protesters were hurt, I failed to understand why they further hurt themselves. We lost ...

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Bring an underground subway system to Karachi already!

Travelling back home from work is always a tough and tiring job in any metropolitan city across the world, but in Karachi, this experience can be downright torturous. Motor-cyclists and rickshaw drivers squeezing in from every tiny little space they can manage to find, rash bus drivers, security protocols – the never ending list just drives us underprivileged car drivers crazy. A while ago, while I was in Ukraine for the Euro cup, travelling via the tube in Kiev city, my hosts, a middle class Ukrainian couple, inquired about the subway system in Karachi. I very casually told them that we did not ...

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Why my heart sings for the Himalayas

There’s nothing in the world that I find more gratifying than being out in the wild. I can spend hours gazing down into a valley or watching a river flow by and that’s what attracts me to trekking. It gives me the opportunity to be amid settings that I love the most. When I’m in the wild I become one with God’s creations. All the treks I’ve been on and the places I’ve visited are etched in my mind forever. The moments of unadulterated joy I’ve experienced on these trips live on within me; captured in my mind’s eye to ...

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Can online activism lead to any real change?

Slacktivist me? You have got to be kidding me, answered a self-declared cyber activist. I feel the real pain of anyone suppressed anywhere in the world, and it is my duty to highlight issues on Facebook, Twitter, and any online discussion forum; my moral duty to speak for the rights of the oppressed. Such are the thoughts and ideas of a typical self-proclaimed cyber activist who may cross any online boundary to get across his/her point. It is said that societal norms can determine how individuals utilise digital technology for activism. There are certain expectations regarding how we act, speak, and dress ...

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Comic relief: A day at the circus

Mounting security concerns in recent years have meant fewer opportunities for citizens to leave their homes without fear and festivals that were once a part of Islamabad’s culture have been far and few for these reasons. A few winters ago, a traveling circus came to the capital, bringing with it some comic relief and affordable entertainment.  Here are the most memorable moments: A vendor lures customers to his gol-gappa stall at the Saanwan Mela. A young female acrobat is seen elevated in the air during an act. A girl watches in rapt attention as the circus performances commence. A lion parades lazily around a ...

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Has Hindi become our national language?

Recently, interviews were held for admission at the newly established Cadet College Sarwakai in South Waziristan. It was then that a tribal child, being interviewed by an army officer in Urdu, shocked the interviewer. The child was asked why he was eager to join cadet college. “Sir, I want to join the Army”, replied the child. “Why do you want to join the Army?” asked the interviewer. The innocent child replied, “Sir, main apne desh ki raksha karoon ga.” (Sir, I will protect my country.) The innocent child had no clue that these were not Urdu words, rather he had replied in pure Hindi instead of his national language! ...

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A day from the life of Lehri

In the past 10 days, my thoughts were floating just like my wafting expressions in the year 1956. It was the year when the world saw the first hint of amusement in my words. No! I was not a madman running on the streets of Karachi but the famous “Lehri”. Those were the golden days of my life and also of the Pakistani industry, but today I lay quiet at my final resting place. There were days when I was the king of comedy ─ a king who was not entertained but was a source of entertainment. I did not have ...

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