Stories published in October, 2012

Dear Comics by Arslan, I’m not laughing

It takes a certain degree of egotism to bring me to this level of hot-headedness. This page has been on Facebook for a while now and I have categorically expressed many times that this man is very witty and makes some great comics. They’re a little too slapstick at times, but this is not a critique or a comment on his comical abilities. This is a put-it-out-there, don’t-care-what-comes-after rant. In Pakistan, anyone who even gets two posts published in an online magazine gets to consider themselves a demi-god. If you’ve got more than a few hundred followers on Twitter, you’re a celebrity. ...

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Visiting my Creator’s home, the Ka’aba

When I hear the talbiyah and takbeeraat on TV these days, it brings back sweet memories of last year, when I had the fortune of performing Hajj. Around three years ago, my beloved husband passed away. With him departed his promises of performing Hajj together. We had performed Umrah together and I hadn’t thought much about Hajj, but when he left, the thought struck me – my mehram was gone. However last year when I was least expecting it, my maternal uncle offered that my sister and I go for Hajj with him. We jumped at the opportunity. I had led a ...

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Please don’t kill my goat, or camel (II)

Disclaimer: Graphic images below It’s that time of the year again, and what can I say that I haven’t already lain down in my first blog post: Please don’t kill my goat But if there is anything that I am, it is persistent. So without further ado, here is a list of even more gripes I have with bakra Eid and the way it is conducted. 1. Many animals that are slaughtered on Eid tend to be murdered by amateur butchers that crop up all over Pakistan hoping to make a quick buck by running a knife any which way through the millions ...

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LUMS and the Hoodbhoy hoopla

The Pakistani cyberspace has been galvanised once again with news that the contract of eminent physicist and outspoken social critic, Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy will not be renewed for another term by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) administration. Although Professor Hoodbhoy is still waiting on an explanation, most of the speculation seems to be circling around the idea that the Professor was let go because of his course on an idea that did not sit too well with the religious elite running Jamia Islamia LUMS, or so the little blue birdie sings. Naturally, an idea such as the one above does ...

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We play the blame game while the Balochi’s suffer, why?

Balochistan is a gateway for the development of Pakistan. The treasures hidden here, if unearthed and utilised properly, can bring prosperity and help overcome the woes of both Pakistan and its people. The enemies of Pakistan are aware of this and through different tactics — kidnappings, killings and terrorist attacks — are fuelling lawlessness in the province. Their actions have sowed hatred among the Baloch people. All this did not happen overnight but took years, rather decades. It is a testament to the failure of our power hungry rulers, whether they are in the center or in the provinces. Not one ...

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Why didn’t we cover the Punjab Youth Festival?

I have learnt a lesson in the last few days, thanks to the Punjab Youth Festival. I had somehow started believing that our media actually cared about our success stories. But the festival proved to be a wakeup call for me. I learnt that we can cover, non-stop, politicians’ fight in assemblies, terrorist attacks, bomb blasts, road blockages by doctors and day-long rallies condemning the US or India. TV channels focus on each aspect of such incidents. Newspapers come up with dozens of side-stories for their readers’ interest. All this, however, only happens in the case of covering bad news. While almost ...

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This Eid, we have new supermodels in town!

There were days when almost all the billboards on the roadside had either hair shampoo, mobile phones or their packages displayed all over the city. The trend has changed, however, and only one item rules the billboards of Karachi these days. They are young, they are attractive and they are a dream come true. No, I’m not talking about the models and various lawn ads; I’m talking about the cattle farm ads featuring fierce, fat and fine-looking cows and goats for Eid. We are masters at integrating the latest marketing techniques and technologies with religious rituals and making profit there too. ...

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Tooba Imtiaz: Were her in-laws to blame?

The month of October brings heat, dust and the promise of a soon to come winter. It also brings with it the sad memory of a vibrant rose bud whose life was ruthlessly cut short. It has been a year since the young and beautiful Tooba Imtiaz left this world forever. Last October, Tooba was found dead at her in-laws house in Karachi. She was 23-years-old and pregnant. After her tragic death, Tooba lived on in the hearts of her two brothers and her widowed mother. Speculation has it that Tooba was murdered by her own husband and her father-in-law, but ...

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Student of the Year: A trip down memory lane

 It is the mash up of the year but still somehow manages to be its own film.  Karan Johar’s Student of the Year (SOTY) will remind you of at least four films: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Main Hoon Na and Aisha. There’s also a bit of Rang De Basanti somewhere (rich father constantly putting down his eccentric son) and Dostana (gay principal; gay editor). However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing when a film is as entertaining as SOTY and has the vintage KJo feel to it without being a tear-jerker. Contrary to popular perception before the film’s release, SOTY is not a souped-up version of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In fact, it ...

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The day I visited MQM’s Nine Zero

When I told my friends and family that I was going to Nine Zero for a class assignment, their reaction was an odd mix of excitement and trepidation. They were wishing me luck for some odd reason! For those who don’t know what it is, Nine Zero ─ or 90 ─  are the Muttahida Quami Movement’s (MQM) headquarters in Karachi. I wasn’t alone; my classmates and teacher were going with me. I did not understand why everyone was so scared. What was so terrifying about Nine Zero, anyway? Having spent most of my life in Karachi, I have heard the words “Nine Zero” ...

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