Stories published in September, 2012

Hues of peace in Kashmiri tea

Some time back, I was watching an interview of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik on a local news chanel. The host kept probing the Kashmiri leader about his new ‘non-violence freedom movement’ in Kashmir despite Yasin Malik’s violent past history. Will this movement work and why did it become non-violent now after almost 18 years of being so active? My personal interest in the programme came from being indoctrinated since childhood (from Zia’s state media) that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan’ and that ‘Kashmir will one day become Pakistan’ (because it was always ‘meant’ to be). ...

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The flood victims didn’t choose to beg, you made them!

The devastating rains in Sindh, which started on September 8 and continued for five days, have once again submerged the province. Seven districts of upper Sindh have been affected, with the worst-hit being the Jacobabad and Kashmore districts, where over 100 people have died in rain-related incidents. In 2010, most parts of upper Sindh and some parts of lower Sindh and Balochistan were affected by the floods, due to which millions were rendered homeless. In 2011, torrential rains wreaked havoc throughout lower Sindh and some parts of upper Sindh. After these tragedies, the government made tall claims about providing relief to ...

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Innocence of Muslims: No, I will not ‘get over it’

So, this morning I read this piece on Slate.com which advises Muslims to just ‘get over it’, when we see movies denigrating our religion or our Prophet (pbuh) on the Internet. It’s a sensible piece, urging us Muslims not to resort to violence because of a stupid, amateur movie made by a bunch of charlatans. “God is too great to be troubled by the insults of fools. Follow Him.” Well, thanks very much for that advice. I’ll have to put down my Molotov cocktail now and put my feet up. I’ve been told I can just ignore insults to the thing I hold the ...

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Warm up: Pakistan shows India how it’s done

The warm up game against India confirmed Pakistan’s unpredictability on one hand and sounded the alarm for everyone else on the other. The bowlers had an off day and were carted all around the ground by the Indian batting line-up with Virat Kohli being at the forefront. Except for Ajmal holding the fort, the likes of Gul and Afridi, two of the three highest wicket takers of all time in the format, had a dismal day and were rendered ineffective. To be fair, India’s batting line-up is the best in the business when it comes to the T-20 format, but ...

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Factory fire: The inspectors said that the building was safe

Eight hours after flames from the Baldia Town garment factory fire had been doused, the top floor of the building was still simmering. It is here that the highest number of deaths had taken place. Around 200 people had screamed for help and had tried to look for a way to escape, but to no avail. The only door was on fire, while the windows were too small to let the air in, resulting in people dying of suffocation. Only three people on the floor managed to come out alive after rescue workers tore through one of the small grilled ...

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The ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon

It all started out with Zulfiqar Mirza, and the trend has spread like fire through the upper echelons of our political elite: what I like to refer to as the ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon. Every couple of weeks (or so it appears) a member of one political party or another calls an ever-hungry media to an event which promises to reveal the ‘shocking’ corrupt practices our political leaders indulge in. Karachi was thrown into an uproar in 2011 when Mirza, the former Sindh home minister, furiously waved around an important-looking sheaf of papers claiming to have evidence against Muttahida Qaumi ...

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The curse of swara

“I will kill myself but will not marry an older man. I am ready to bear any other punishment but will not submit to the jirga’s decision of giving me away in swara. Why are they sacrificing me for my brother’s fault?” After uttering those words, she burst into tears. Her every word pierced my heart. As my interview of the girl came to an end, an unending string of gloomy thoughts engulfed me and I pondered over the state of women’s rights in our society. I came to the conclusion that in a male-dominated society, women live only to protect the ...

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iPhone 5: What really matters

After days of speculation and hype, finally came the moment when Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 along with a new range of iPods and iOS 6 on September 12. Being an Apple enthusiast, I had expectations of a revolutionary product that would yet again re-define the phone industry. Obviously, however, no such revolutionary product was launched and what we saw was an improved iPhone. I was disappointed, and so were many others that expressed their emotions on Facebook and Twitter. As the Foo-fighters concluded their performance and iPhone 5 event came to an end, I switched off my screen and ...

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Factory fires: What you can do to prevent a similar tragedy

Last week at work, during my lunch hour I was casually browsing the internet while eating my sandwich when I first read about the horrific fire incident in the unfortunate factory located in SITE Karachi. A few lines in, the gruesome graphic details and the staggering casualty count made me lose my appetite. Like most people, I couldn’t help but wonder about the horror experienced by the victims during the last few moments of their lives and their helplessness in the wake of imminent death. After getting over the nauseating feeling, I read a few blogs and comment boards on which the ...

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You poor, oppressed hijabi!

I started wearing a headscarf in grade two. I was six years old, and while many may find this difficult to believe, the decision was entirely my own. Yes, I was raised in a family that was in tune with its religious identity, and my mother covered her hair. No, I was not forced/blackmailed into wearing a scarf. My father didn’t do anything either, for those who are thinking he probably pressurised my mom behind the scenes, since the stereotype says all Muslim men oppress their women. I was raised in the US. Until grade three, I went to a public school, ...

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