Stories published in January, 2013

It was a cat, not a bomb, parents tell their children in Landhi

Someone beat a cat on the roof. This was the explanation Saeed gave his tiny son on Thursday night. “Billi ko kisi ne mara.” (Somebody hit a cat.) Ayaan, who prefers chewing the handle of his rattle to the rattle itself, was one of the hundreds of children who heard or saw the bombs that went off just a stone’s throw from their Landhi homes in Sherpao Colony. Saeed came back from work as a part-time cook in DHA to find the three year old clinging to his mother and running a fever. “It was just a cat. Just a cat,” he kept ...

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Lights, joy, mithai: Eid Miladun Nabi in Pakistan

We call them ‘choti choti khushiyan.’ Forget all the troubles, hassle, inflation and terrorism which are rampant in our country, and take one day, one event, to celebrate. Today, it is Eid Miladun Nabi. The entire country is lit up and decorated. Even the ‘city of lights’ gets to see a lot of lights, despite the loadshedding. Taking advantage of the holiday, people meet old relatives, share food and sweets. Many even take their families to zoos and parks just to celebrate this beautiful day. As my friend would like to put it, the entire country goes ‘meetha meetha’. Being a shutterbug, I tried finding this ...

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Lighting candles for the Delhi gang rape changes nothing

I’ve been following, yet intentionally trying to ignore this entire circus surrounding me. People have been demanding  justice, in terms of the death penalty, for those six rapists’ for weeks now. Close friends, relatives, acquaintances have been debating, protesting, discussing, showing anger blah dee blah. Amidst all of this, I fail to understand a few very simple things. Have we been completely blind to the endless rape and assault cases that are reported in the paper every single day for decades? Are we oblivious to the slave-like state of Indian women outside the 1% city girls? How does the torture of one girl become ...

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Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I am willing to die for you, but not live like you

This post is a work of satire. This is the story of an average Pakistani. I lose my temper at the drop of a hat and end up saying really nasty things to my friends and family. I also back bite a lot about people who support me, employ me and are my friends. I use a lot of swear words and do not think twice before spitting pan, throwing trash or even taking a leak in a corner in public. I am usually the first one to point out other people’s faults and mostly the last to admit my own. I have ...

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Formula 1: Is Red Bull the only contender?

The upcoming Formula 1 (F1) season is destined to be another challenging and intriguing one indeed. Red Bull, Mclaren and Ferrari remain serious contenders for the Championship.  Mercedes is considered by some to be a dark horse in this year’s campaign. Mercedes had undergone a major transition at the end of last year when Michael Schumacher (the Greatest Driver of all time) bowed out of the F1, after a rather uneventful comeback with the German Team. His retirement has left a huge vacuum in the team as well as Formula 1. I seriously doubt we will ever get the chance to witness ...

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Could Kamran Faisal’s death have been prevented?

Kamran Faisal, an official of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his hostel room a few days ago. His family and colleagues have refused to accept his death as a suicide, terming it a ‘premeditated murder’. A number of texts, which he sent a few days before his death to his friends have been leaked to the media; these reveal his concerns for his personal safety. Sources reveal one text message that chillingly captures his frustration and dilemma with the pressure tactics employed by senior officials of NAB: “DG HR want affidavit in back date ...

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Michelle Obama is more than just a dress

Yes I admit, after spending eight hours at a news desk in Pakistan, I curled up in front of my laptop –to follow more political theatre – in this case President Barack Hussein Obama’s (BO) second inauguration. Since The Guardian does great ‘live text’, embedded with videos, tweets, and (to-be) memes, that’s where I was keeping up with the Obamas. I realised as I scrolled down The Guardian ‘As it happened’ page to the am (Eastern Time) posts, ‘what the First lady of the United States wore’ was getting ink. No details of what the President of the United States ...

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Diary of a candid teenager

I told the man and his mad-about-fashion-wife that this thing was irrefutably not in my control. They refused to listen. I was earnestly doing the most I could. ‘You’ve got to understand!’ The husband exclaimed again, wagging his index finger at me. I am (or think I am) good at enduring callous words thrown at me by the husband, but certainly not the weapon owned by his wife; emotional blackmail. That sucks, gravely! It is not that I become sentimental and lose myself (that is so cool); it is just because she makes me go through all of this to torment me, obviously! It is so ...

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India and Pakistan, please stop before it is too late …

With the pressure being built up in India about the Line of Control situation, it has brought to the fore the question of how we Pakistanis respond to it. Do we aggressively answer back in the press and other media? Is it better to continue to quietly urge a resolution through discussions? Or is it an option to just ignore the furor and let everything settle? The stakes are extremely high, simply because this is a nuclear region and any error can lead to huge unintended consequences. Just to paint a scenario in the future of such a cataclysmic error… —————————————————— Imagine a few months from now ...

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Les Miserables in all its glory!

Revolution, songs, drama, compassion, mercy, crowds, human misery, dashed dreams, A-class actors. Dear readers, I am describing not another dharna or jalsa in Pakistan, but a movie that has so far swept the award shows. A movie with soaring soundtracks, heartfelt, brilliant performances, stunning sets and spectacular cinematography that will leave you blown away at the end, director Tom Hooper’s musical masterpiece is one for the ages. Set in 19th century France, Les Miserables (pronounced as Lay Miz-er-ahb) is a musical film that revolves around Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) who is serving imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread. He is set free on a strict parole by ...

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