Stories published in October, 2012

From the dark and dreary world of a journalist

Working for a newspaper tends to change a person. I’ve yet to figure out if it’s for the better. I do know that the few odd months before I started working here I was a different person in many ways. These are not only changes you see when you look at yourself in the mirror – the few times you do look in the mirror because the first thing that seems to go is your sense of self-worth – but traits and mannerisms which others point out did not exist before. I don’t know if other newspapers follow the same rule ...

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The day I met a mother of thalassemia inflicted children

It was a usual summer day in Peshawar, back in 2004, when I left my hostel to attend a lecture which was scheduled for the afternoon. The university was at walking distance, so keeping my notebook above my head to protect myself from the sun, I made my way there. I was about to enter the university, when I noticed a woman trying desperately to convince the security guard to allow her onto the university premises, whilst repeatedly wiping sweat off her brow with the corner of her clean, stark white chaadar. She seemed like she belonged to a decent family, wrapped ...

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Imran Khan, knowingly or unknowingly ‘Taliban’ Khan

Imran Khan is guilty of one of two things. He is either guilty of deliberately and knowingly legitimising the Pakistani Taliban as a political force for what he perceives to be his own populist gain, or he is guilty of colossal naivety and unintelligibility. Personally, I am far more worried by the latter, and also far more convinced of its plausibility. Allow me to explain. Let’s consider the possibility that Imran Khan is indeed playing to what he understands the populist tune to be and that his soft, apologetic stance towards the Pakistani Taliban is a deliberate ploy fueled out of a mixture ...

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You think you look hot? Ask the guys!

It’s a common myth that men generally don’t agree with women’s fashion choices. We wanted to put the myth to test and see how the verdict of a female fashion expert tallies up against the opinion of regular guys. So, meet the boys.   Essa Malik 28, is a graphic designer and photographer who likes all things beautiful. He is currently single. Taha Farrukh 28, plays the Xbox for a living and works as a Finance Advisor in his free time. A globe-trotter who samples all kinds of cuisines, but draws the line at escargots. He is married.   Shaheryar Popalzai 28, is a journalist by day and ...

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Balochistan wants a divorce

It is difficult not to admire Sardar Akhtar Mengal for his frankness. With all other avenues exhausted, the concerned quarters have little else left to do, but start working to salvage the situation in Balochistan before it is too late. From the lessons this state should have learnt in the past, one of them is not to make exceptions when negotiating. It is important to not just appease certain groups, but all separatist hardliners. If the government continues to choose who to talk to and who to disregard, it will achieve the same degree of success it has achieved while dealing with ...

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Free the adulterers but charge the brothel owner?

As a morning routine, it wasn’t odd for me to pick up a newspaper and go through the daily news. What was puzzling however was the news of a ruling by the Peshawar High Court, which ordered the owner of a brothel to attend religious lessons at a local mosque. The decision left me baffled. There are essentially hundreds of questions which can be raised at the morality of the decision. First of all, where did respect for the the concept of separation of powers go? The court’s verdict underscores the issue of keeping religion and state separate, which it seems, is not ...

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Pakistani cricket fans: Must our sentiments for our team always be extreme?

It has been interesting following the sentiments of Pakistanis on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter through this current World T20 tournament being held in Sri Lanka. The emotions expressed towards the national side ─ depending on the match results ─ have either bordered on hero worship, or have been overly harsh admonishments. Even outside of social media, reactions on the streets have been fairly extreme: after Pakistan’s unlikely victory against South Africa, celebratory gunfire could be heard across the night sky all over Karachi. However, in the next match, where Pakistan was thoroughly outplayed by India, conversation in ...

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Be fair to your pets and vaccinate them

My father has always said to me, Alizeh, if a person can learn to love a human being the way a dog loves it’s master – so truly and unconditionally – the world would be a happier place.  Truer words could not have been spoken. As far back as I can remember, there hasn’t been one day when I have left my house without returning to a familiar, constantly wagging tail, or a wet lick to my hand. As far as my memory serves, I have known many Rexys, Maggies, and even a blind Tommy. Then for a few months, there was Brandy. Having ...

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Secularism is not atheism!

It is interesting to note how shifts in the political landscape are a regular source of new vocabulary. A breeze through comments on this newspaper’s website show the frequent usage of the word ‘secularism’ which was never a part of the average news reader’s vocabulary fifteen years ago. The word is now generously splashed around by commentators as they opine over news stories. Quite worryingly, secularism is often referred to as a political system which is both atheistic and un-Islamic – a misjudgement which causes one to choke with laughter and cry in despair at the same time. Painting secularism ...

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All you ever need is you

The moment you recognise that you will always stand alone in a battlefield is the most terrifying moment of your life. For it is the death of all human expectations. That is the moment you stop looking behind your shoulder, with that glimmer of hope that someone will be there to fight beside you. Or rescue you. So fear not. Allow it, instead, to be the most exalting moment of your life; because that is the moment, you recognise finally and irrevocably, your own strength. And then when you look back again, you understand. You stood alone, always. With only Him watching over you. ‘You’ fought all ...

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