Stories published in September, 2012

Hafeez for the World T20: The signs don’t look so good

Pakistan may have won the T20 series against Australia but there are serious concerns about whether or not skipper Mohammad Hafeez can lead from the front in the upcoming World T20 in Sri Lanka. Brave is the one who puts his hand up when the situation demands, however, that certainly was not the case with the Pakistani skipper as he thrice saved himself from the pressure-cooker situation in the series. In the second match of three T20 series, the kangaroos needed 10 runs of the final over with Hafeez having an over left of his quota. Instead of becoming the man ...

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A German’s rendezvous with the real Pakistan

Terrorists, bomb blasts and religious extremism; these were the things that automatically came to my friend’s minds at the mere mention of Pakistan. When I told them that I would be going to Pakistan for three months, one of them jokingly remarked, “Aah, you’re joining jihad.” My grandparents were very afraid; they probably thought I would be entering the heart of the evil. This was the perspective of my German family when I told them I was going to Pakistan for three months for an internship with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Pakistan, in Islamabad. Next was my father’s voice, probably with the image in ...

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Lovengers: A colourful albeit unimpressive musical comedy

From the men who gave the theatres a full house with “Le Cages Aux Folle“, “Run For Your Wife” and “Chicago” comes an entertaining play packed with a spectrum of tangible emotions. Staged at the Arts Council Karachi from the September 7 to 24, “Lovengers” is LUSH’s first Urdu play. “Lovengers” is produced by the renowned duo Usama Qazi and Shahzad Qureshi, sponsored by JS Bank and co-sponsored by Tapal Danedar, EFU Life, Alkaram Studio and National Fruitily. With reputations preceding these names, the bar is set very high and “Lovengers” just makes the leap with wonderful music and dance ...

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Please, spare us from your PDA!

It was Saturday night and I had just returned to Pakistan from an oil and gas project in Africa. I decided to visit a restaurant in Karachi with my family so as to spend some quality time with them. While waiting for our food to be delivered, we enjoyed the ambience and general atmosphere at the restaurant; it isn’t often that I get to spend time with my family given the nature of my work. Just then, a couple walked in and sat right next to our table. I don’t know whether they were friends, husband and wife or cousins; ...

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Don’t throw acid on the face of Islam!

I bet you didn’t know these two recent stories: A 49-year old female in New York suffered burns on more than 50 percent of her body because her father poured acid on her face and body. A 29-year-old female in Montreal suffered burns on more than 70 percent of her body. Why? Her boyfriend doused acid on her face during a fit of anger, literally melting her skin away. You didn’t know these stories because acid attacks are pigeonholed as a ‘Muslim problem’. And in these cases, neither the victims, nor the assailants, were Muslims. It is suggested that 99.9 percent of such attacks occur in the Muslim culture. Check out ...

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An open letter to Times of India

In our Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a well renowned restaurant doesn’t let a couple sit next to each other. Really! Now, let me tell you another story. I have been married for over a year now and have lived in Pakistan for almost all my life. Be it McDonald’s or any other private restaurant or even public places like Safari Park, Hill Park, Khadda Market restaurants, Zamzama, etc., my husband and I sit next to each other, holding hands and yes, we have even put our hands on each other’s shoulders. Yet, I have never come across any incident as ...

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A Pakistan I wish I knew

Days like August 14 and September 6 invoke positive emotion for Pakistan and yet, I’ve grown up listening to things absent from the motherland. The oft-repeated expression “Oh what a country it was” makes me wonder and imagine, and then I sit down to hear the fairy tale. According to my father, Pakistani society was beautifully knit, so much so that people from different religions — what to talk of various sects of the same religion — lived in perfect harmony. They would celebrate each other’s festival and jointly participate in all types of communal activities. Eid, Christmas, Rabiul Awal and ...

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Social media and sports just don’t gel!

The modern era of sports has seen the industry experience an overhaul of the conventional modes of communication. The integration of the social media with the world of sports meant that communication was taken to a whole new level — one that now seems to be getting the better of most sports organisations and athletes. Social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter are not just confined to sports boards and organisations. The ‘social circle’ now entails athletes and players as well, who have redefined the use of these portals as an outlet to directly communicate with their fans and ...

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Wings of hope: We’ve forgotten how to fly

I reminisce the good times, When we used to try, Could barely walk straight, But wanted to fly, In capes and funky masks, Jumping with all our might, Dressed as superheroes, Without a care in sight, Not worrying about money, Or having fancy cars, Always aiming for the sky, Always reaching for the stars, We were young and fun, Essentially free souls, But time took it’s toll, And, well, we grew old, Now day in, day out, We just worry about cash, Where to get it from, And where to put the stash, Which car to buy next, What new horse to breed, It’s all about jewels, We’re blinded by greed, What used to matter most, Now just makes no sense, We run through our ...

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Thank you for letting me travel to Pakistan!

Pakistan had always been a reality to me, unlike for some people who couldn’t believe that there was another nation carved out of the Indian subcontinent. But for me, it was just another nation that existed before I was born.  In 2007, I chanced upon a scholarship to finish a part of my semester in Kinnaird College, Lahore. Lahore fascinated me ever since. It was in Lahore that Sahir Ludhianvi (my favourite lyricist) spent his romantic years; where Jaun Eliya (my favourite poet) struggled through his life, and Saadat Hasan Manto (my favourite writer) passed away. While my only fear was what the ...

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