Stories published in October, 2012

Learning from US electoral experience

Spending three weeks in the most important swing state of the Unites States — Ohio — and observing the recently-held presidential election campaign was a golden opportunity for me as I got to study how different the US election is from our own. The month was as important for candidates as it was for the voters. To voters, the election was not merely about voting but about electing a president for the next four years that would redress a number of their national issues such as job opportunities, health care and social security. The greatest thing I observed that is ...

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Proactive women fight for women!

At the second South Asian Women in Media conference in Bhurban over the weekend, there were no simple answers to address all the concerns raised. But there was a unanimous resolution to fight the rightwing propaganda that is increasingly dominating the media and the regressive mindset it represents. Women as journalists, anchors, actresses and directors are breaking stereotypes. They are braving death threats from militants and fighting harassment and discrimination. The delegates were from diverse backgrounds and represented a cross-section of the media. We endorsed a declaration to oppose restrictions on freedom. But more important than any document was the ...

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This Eid, try these middle-eastern treats with a Pakistani twist!

Eidul Azha marks the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s commitment to sacrifice his own son. Sacrifices aside, the thing we all look forward to most is the food and the endless BBQs that are sure to follow. However, after a few meat-eating days, one (or shall I say ‘the stomach’?) finally deserves a refreshing break from all the heaviness. It’s often difficult to find the right balance between light and delicious; fortunately, there are a few middle-eastern staples that fit the bill. However, I’ve added a Pakistani twist to both recipes, so instead of a traditional Shawarma and Shish Tawook, I present ...

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Invest in our children today, see them bring ideals to life tomorrow

In 1995, 12-year-old Iqbal Masih was murdered by a ‘carpet-mafia’ after having escaped from bonded labour. At the age of four, Masih was forced into child labour at a carpet factory after his mother could afford nothing else. When he ran away at the age of 10, his story was picked up by the international media and he soon became a worldwide symbol for the fight against child labour. Even after his death, Masih’s bravery, especially as someone who came from a difficult background, still lingers in the world. I happened to come across an anti-child labour protest around his ...

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God works in mysterious ways

As you drive down the road connecting Zamzama with Khayaban-e-Shujaat, you come across a market, at the border of Defence and Clifton Cantonment. The road itself winds down into Shujaat and if you are of the ilk, it shall take you down to the Sunday Bazaar in Defence Phase VIII. In front of this market are a set of fruit and vegetable thela walas (street vendors), lined up against the wall of Zamzama Park. That section of the road is peppered with cars buying fruits according to their purchasing power. Inside the park, oblivious to their proximity, a legion of affluent ...

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How to make jam bars inspired by ‘Melting Moments’

The recent “Masterchef” hype has made us all fall in love with Australia. The TV show presents a land that is beautiful and inhabited with kind, loving and of course, good looking people with a passion for food. The latest season, that was aired on Star World, had everyone talking about the appetising dishes and exciting challenges. The mouthwatering food put up by the contestants, resulted in cravings and I ultimately wanted to try out their recipes. I am grateful to a young girl who informed me that the recipes were available on their website – I decided to try out ...

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A soldier’s Eid: Away from family and in the face of death

I am Gunner Fazal Mehmood, currently serving in a medium regiment artillery located at a peaceful location. It is 0400 hours, the first day of Eidul Azha and while lying on my charpoy I am thinking about the last night – it is the third consecutive Eid that I will be spending away from my family. I don’t know why, but I am constantly reminded of a similar chaand raat which I had spent along with my family back in Bahawalpur a few years ago. All the luminosity, crowd and chanting at the Meena bazaar near our house constantly reminded me of ...

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Do not be merciless this Eid, please!

Have Pakistanis forgotten the principle behind Eidul Azha? This supposed feast of sacrifice, popularly known as Bakra Eid in our nation, is where Muslims are meant to pay symbolic tribute to Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son on the command of Allah (SWT). During this annual three-day Islamic holiday, Muslims who earn a good enough living, follow Prophet Abraham’s example by committing a fraction of their wealth to the sacrifice of livestock. The meat gained, of course, is divided into three portions, one of which is supposed to go to the poor and needy. This holiday is meant to impart the practitioners of ...

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Eid from across the street

Piercing sounds of obnoxiously loud honking cars and shrill screams of overly excited children poured into my ears. Bright lights blinded me as I tried to make my way into the crowd. Nudging and elbowing fat elderly ladies, I found my spot. My eyes glistered as I stood there aloof from the crowd, yet close enough to enjoy the carnival. It was my favourite time of the year; it was chaand raat, the night before Bakra Eid. Although Eid for me was not any different from the other days that I spent in this city, I felt happy. Usually my typical ...

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What a girl learned at the bakra mandi

Women normally hear stories about the bakra mandi (goat market) from the male members of the family. The place is considered forbidden for some females while others are simply not interested. Being a girl looking at giant animals for sacrifice does amuse me and this year I finally got the opportunity to visit this place as I was deathly curious to know why is it such a ‘fun-land’ to males. It is quite noticeable that the goat sacrifice trend has been over-taken by cow or bull sacrifice just because men love large animals or dare I say, men love to show off their large animals. When ...

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