Stories published in December, 2012

Expat bhai, Pakistan is Pakistan yaar!

I feel sorry for Pakistani kids who grew up abroad. I realised this when my nine-year-old cousin was doing a heritage project in school, about Pakistan. She had to talk about her ancestry and how she ended up in America. It was going to be a typical project. She was going to narrate the cliché, sappy story of how her parents were looking for a better life for their children and thus migrated to America. Then, she would talk about how when she was three she visited her grandparents’ farm in Pakistan. Over there, she saw cows and hens ...

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Bilour’s assassination by ‘religious warriors’

Bashir Bilour Shaheed’s loss is no ordinary loss. His life was cherished by many. He was a source of hope for scores of party workers. He was called lala, or big brother, by thousands of people whose lives he touched. Bilour made a mark as a person who would not bow down. He, his brothers, and his party, were made to suffer by dictators and supposed democratic leaders alike, all because they were steadfast in their simple, yet impossible vision – which was to achieve a democratic, secular state. However, Bashir Lala was not a typical liberal. He was not the ...

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Iraq’s civil war: Fueled by Kurdish oil, tied to Iran

As the civil war continues to ravage Syria, another civil war looms over its neighbouring country Iraq. Instead of looking towards the heavens and questioning fate, one need only look into the oil fields of Iraq to see the reason behind the impending civil war. After the fall of the Saddam regime in 2003, the Kurds have been gearing towards achieving independence from Baghdad and already run a semi-autonomous region through the Kurdistan Regional Government. This region has its own ministries and a parliament with its capital city being Erbil (also called Hewler in Kurdish language). Oil is one the reasons ...

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I waited for Cowasjee to say “saala” but he never did

I was just another reader who looked up to him. After his last submission in November 2011, it became clear that Mr Cowasjee saw an end to life imminent on the horizon; well at least that is how I interpreted it. By July 2012, I finally mustered the courage to type out a mail of candid praise, and in that I mentioned my desire to meet him. A reply followed and to my surprise, it included an invitation to his residence. The lady on the phone explained that I had to find a certain Mary Road in Bath Island and ...

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A beacon of hope in Gilgit

As sectarian violence plagues Gilgit, a group of dedicated natives is striving hard to revive harmony between people in the area. A beacon of hope for all of us, these individuals are striving to bridge the yawning divide between the Shias and Sunnis of Hazara which has claimed hundreds of lives over the years. They belong to both the sects, and are united as the ‘Qaumi Amn Tehreek’. Most of them are natives whose forefathers hail from Gilgit’s Khomer Jutial, Majini Muhalla, Kashrote and Nagral areas. Gilgit, the capital town of Gilgit-Baltistan, has witnessed rapid urbanisation over the years as ...

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My misery, my struggle against myself

Her pace quickened- her water bottle dangling from her arms and her school bag bumped about her shoulders. She inhaled deeply as she started to get out of breath but she did not stop running. A few strands of her hair came loose from her pony tail and brushed against her cheek. She tucked them behind her ear, but she did not slow her pace. Finally, at the sight of her school, she heaved a sigh of relief that she would be safe for at least eight hours now. She made her way to her class, and buried her face in ...

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India vs Pakistan, an emotional affair

There is a combined sense of anticipation and fear the minute you wake up. If you are old enough, then this is not your first time and circumstances permitting this will not be your last either. You’ve been counting the days and preparing yourself for it but when it’s D-day, the butterflies refuse to exit the stomach- quite literally in some cases. A cursory look at the watch indicates there is still some time to go- so you get off your backside and do an odd chore before life comes to a complete standstill. The man behind the counter of a ...

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University: A haven for fashion, marriage, and entertainment

They were right when they said that university can teach one some of best lessons in life.  In this place called a ‘university’, I have met people that I didn’t even think could possibly exist! Although I am still in my first semester and it might be too early to draw conclusions, I am completely bewildered by the people I have been fortunate enough to have met. Having been swept off my feet, I would like to talk about a few of them: The bathroom hogger The original concept of using the toilet has pretty much diminished. The bathroom is now considered a convenient ...

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The hunt for Karachi’s constituency map

Maps are supposed to show you where to go. But what about the hunt for a map itself? When the icky subject of delimitation came up, our reporter came with the astounding information that constituencies had been messed with so badly in 2002 that in some instances disconnected chunks of Karachi were put down as one unit. I didn’t believe him. There was only one way to find out – look at the maps. Don’t get me wrong; I couldn’t care less about delimitation, which is a word that makes my brain freeze. But maps I like. I commissioned stories. But the text ...

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What does delimitation mean for Karachi?

The bullet is something every Karachi resident is well acquainted with. But the ballot is something which one-third of the population is unaware of. With unrelenting stories of violence emanating every hour and the terror which has engulfed the entire rainbow of ethnicities, what do the coming general elections promise to the people is a fact unknown to anyone as yet. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to carry out a delimitation exercise, aimed at effectuating a systematic division of voters on linguistic basis in Karachi, may thwart several predictions regarding the post-election scenario. For the first time, at least 10 political parties ...

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