Stories published in December, 2012

Dear KU, can you just figure out a date please?

When I first enrolled in a dental college in Karachi, I was expecting to be done with my Bachelors in Dental Surgery within four years. However, that dream seems to have fizzled out. As each day passes, I sit at home, wondering when I will get the opportunity to write my exams and move on to second year. The institutes that are affiliated with the University of Karachi are required to conduct their exams at the end of the year, which occur at a time specified by the KU. When I and the rest of the students of course, were ...

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From brainwashing to target killing

On Tuesday, target killing incidents in Karachi and Peshawar halted the anti-polio drive in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It didn’t end there, as Wednesday saw another attack on a polio health worker. The victims’ ‘felony’  immunising children against polio. While extremists might deem them as ‘traitors’, I think these health workers are martyrs. To the great contentment of extremists who have opposed the anti-polio drive for years now, no children will be immunised against polio in Karachi and Peshawar at least during this drive.  These hostile elements were probably encouraged by Dr Shakil Afridi’s confession of involvement in espionage using a ...

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I met with the Mayans; they said the world isn’t ending anytime soon!

I am sorry to disappoint you folks, but the world is not going to end on 21.12.2012 because the Mayans never made an apocalyptic statement alluding to a complete end to this world. It is quite amusing to see people go into bouts of vigour, stocking up on essentials, sharing Facebook statuses and creating panic about this notion. I took matters into my own hands and decided to investigate this rumour further, by travelling to Mexico and meeting the Mayans themselves to gain a better understanding of this situation that has gone viral. Needless to say, it was one of the ...

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Don’t let Turkish dubbed shows replace Pakistani dramas!

As a kid, I remember watching a Chinese drama dubbed in Urdu. At that time the only real impact was not on the ratings, but on my mind – failing to grasp the concept of dubbing, I found it fascinating to see Chinese people chatting away in Urdu. While touring the US, I haven’t been able to watch the much-hyped Ishq-e-Mamnoon. However, based on media and reports of my friends who watch it, it appears to have surpassed Humsafar’s monstrous success – which, up until recently, had become the milestone for success as far as dramas in Pakistan are concerned. Recently, I watched Lucman’s ...

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Islamabad scareport

For the purpose of this tale, I’ll describe the reception area at Islamabad airport as an horizontal U in a space the size of two large kitchens. Stood at the beginning of the left hand column of the U is a security guard for the first security check. Walk through this and along to the curve at the bottom of the U. That’s where (on its outer perimeter) there’s a long table. Behind it are five customs officers in front of it are four queues waiting to have their bags searched.  Walk past this and you’ll swerve up the right hand part of the U parallel to the left – ...

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Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness (and cheap CNG)

Fifty years after the discovery of then-one-of-the-largest-natural-gas-fields, the people of Pakistan wait in endless lines and go from one station to another for re-fuelling their CNG tanks or switch on and switch off their stoves in anticipation of a flicker. The energy which was supposed to illuminate has become the source of a dark tug of war between different stakeholders. Discovery of natural resources can have a very beneficial effect on society (Norway) or may result in civil war (Angola). Our outcome will depend on efficient management of these resources. In our case, availability of natural gas has tremendously benefited a sizeable section of society ...

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Zindagi Gulzar Hai: I’m not impressed

After receiving countless amounts of messages from my friends to watch the new drama serial, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, I finally spared some time to catch up with the few episodes that have aired so far. Given the hype surrounding the show, I wasn’t surprised when from the outset, a similar plot was introduced- a plotline that serves the basis for many Pakistani TV series. It reminded me of the serial, Humsafar. No, not because the same actor is acting in this drama, though I have to admit it certainly added to the likeness of the two drama serials. It is primarily because, both ...

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From Tahrir Square to MA Jinnah Road

Friday Dec 14, 2012; on a night unusually cold for Karachi’s standards, more than 50 thousand people decided to join a sit-in protest against the ongoing Shia genocide in Pakistan. I was one of them. After being stuck in several traffic jams I eventually reached MA Jinnah road (named after the country’s founding father whose own personal religious affiliation is ironically debated time after time). The crowd grew from a few hundred to thousands in a matter of hours. Later that night, the cosmopolitan experienced an unannounced strike but that didn’t stop the protesters from growing in numbers. What ...

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Word war at the World Youth Scrabble Championships!

We’re talking about war here! Well not exactly war – but the World Youth Scrabble Championships (WYSC) is definitely no laughing matter. Nikhil Sonejo, World English Speaking Players Association (WESPA) chair member and organiser from the UK says, “Pakistan is a major force in youth scrabble now, and I think the final results, though still very good, don’t do justice to the quality of the play of the Pakistani youth in this tournament… Javeria Mirza in particular deserved to be higher, she was outstanding. Will be very happy to see one and all in Dubai next year, and will definitely think along ...

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Doomsday drivel: The world will not end, plan your future

I was planning on have an amazing winter break until I watched the movie “2012”. It scared me to death and made me reconsider my future plans. The movie depicts a global cataclysm that brings the world to an end in 2012. Since the past decade, a lot of people believe in the hoax of doomsday arriving on December 21, 2012. The public’s concern about this date blossomed into a major presence on the internet and spread internationally. Some conspiracy theories linked the end of the world on December 21, 2012 to the ancient Mayan calendar. Can you guess why? Only because the Mayan calendar ...

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