Stories published in December, 2012

If Pakistani dramas want to succeed, they need to compete!

While browsing through the idiot box the other day, what caught my attention was a press conference hosted at the Karachi Press Club by representatives of the Pakistani media. They were complaining about how their industry is under threat from foreign content being relayed on our local television channels nowadays. Yeah, yeah the controversy about the Turkish drama Ishq-e-Mamnu is all the rage these days, but what really perturbed me was the kind of statements they were giving out. I do not happen to be a fan of any of those Turkish, Spanish or Indian soaps, but what irked me was that these people were ...

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Interfaith marriages: Why the taboo?

Ava and Neil made a great pair. It’s rare to come across a couple so compatible and in tune with each other. They complemented each other perfectly. Spending time with them was always a pleasure; there was never a dull moment with them around. Those two were the life of any gathering they attended. We spent many a year painting the town red, indulging in mischief and being what we were – a group of youngsters living it up and doing the things the young the world over do. Their love blossomed as the years wore on. After settling down in ...

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Are you a real Karachiite?

Imagine this. You’re lying down, dead beat from a long day and really not looking forward to yet another monotonous day ahead of you. No, not because you hate your boss but more so because your boss hates you. You’re done surfing through all the 87 useless channels that your beloved cable TV operator provides. You refresh your Facebook profile one last time on your supposedly ‘smart’ phone, hoping for a new notification, friend request, or a wall post ─  anything. You put on your PJs and hop into bed. The last two minutes before you slumber, that’s when your ...

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The player attacked was Pakistani? Oh, no problem!

Kunal Anand’s rationale in his blog on Zeeshan Abbasi’s case is very impressive. He believes that the tradition in his country, ‘the guest is god’, serves the guests well. Among other things, he suggested that we, Pakistanis, should not to react too harshly towards this ‘sad incident’ as the action cannot be taken as India’s conspiracy against Pakistan’s captain but has more to do with negligence. I do believe I agree with what he had to say; the entire nation cannot be held responsible for the act of an individual- especially when the culprit has been given his due. “Even Pak-India ...

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Delhi gang rape and the unanswered questions

A 23-year-old paramedical student, along with her male friend goes out for a movie on a leisurely Sunday evening (December 16, 2012) in South Delhi (arguably, one of the most “posh” areas of New Delhi, and therefore ,the safest.) They come out at around 8:30pm from the theatre, take an auto till Munirka (another posh locality.) While they look for another auto to take the girl home, a private bus stops by. The driver asks them where they are headed to and says that he is going in the same direction. The unsuspecting duo board the bus. There are various versions of ...

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The white garment

Thursday, August 11, 2011- 6:30 pm Saddar was too crowded today. I was already getting late. I took the Rs100 change from the cashier, which was all the money I was left with, picked up the shopping bag and rushed out of the store. The unusually humid August and the hassle I had been through since morning had turned me into a sweating shower by now. Despite that- I was excited. Very excited. My Ali was going to be happy today. He will not be disappointed in me anymore. He will not have to face any insults now. He was upset with ...

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Beat polio even if you have to “eat grass”

The casualties in our seemingly endless war on Polio were once limited to the sufferers of the disease itself. If the recent martyrdom of six vaccination workers in Karachi and Peshawar is any indication, this war is only getting bloodier and more terrifying by the day. In 1991, when El Salvador was engulfed by a brutal civil war, a cease-fire was arranged between the guerilla groups and the government to allow free mobility to the polio vaccination teams in the country. Two sides, locked in a savage conflict for ten years, had enough wits to acknowledge that their political and ...

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War of the words

In 1948, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said (in English, most ironically): “The State language, therefore, must obviously be Urdu, a language that has been nurtured by a hundred million Muslims of the sub-continent, a language understood throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan and, above all, a language, which, more than any other provincial language, embodies the best that is in Islamic culture and Muslim tradition.” In 1957, a decade after the partition of India, author Qurratulain Haider published her epic novel Ag Ka Darya (‘River of Fire.’) In which she stated, “In the demand for Pakistan, Urdu was most thoughtlessly ...

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The flawed argument in favour of reserved seats for women

Imran Khan recently kicked up yet another melee in Pakistan’s media when he declared that he would have women contest in elections rather than enter the National Assembly (NA) on reserved seats. Before weighing the plausibility of the argument, many were quick to jump the bandwagon of unqualified criticism simply because it was Khan who said so. For the uninformed, women in Pakistan’s National Assembly currently have 60 reserved seats. How exactly are these seats filled in? Well, since the seats are allocated to each political party based on their proportion in the legislature, the said political parties have the sole authority to figure out who will ...

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Silenced for speaking the truth

How easy is it for a person to tell the truth when he knows it could cost him his life? In Balochistan, the truth is seldom allowed to surface. If it does, it’s often distorted. However, I find it fascinating that there are people who speak up knowing that truth would endanger their life. Despite the terrible state of law and order and a deep sense of insecurity in the province, a less-known but brave doctor stood up for justice and told the truth, which ultimately resulted in his assassination. A year ago, police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah, a key witness ...

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