Stories published in January, 2013

So sorry to hear that you are a woman!

“Women should think twice before stepping into this field, as I am sure that most of the girls sitting here today are going to be just good housewives after four years.” These were the words of one of our classmates in the first year of engineering. I spent four years in one of the top engineering universities of Pakistan. I enjoyed it tremendously. I was being taught by the best faculty in our country, including professors who had obtained their degrees from renowned universities abroad. However, it is sad but true, that during those four years I came across highly discouraging ...

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Confessions of a target killer

Look not in the eyes of those you kill, They rightly say, No heed I gave to this precious advice, That fateful day,   The sun crept up into the sky, the job was usual, A life I had to take, in a manner that was casual. I consumed my breakfast, of bread and butter, Made edible through the warm love, of my dear mother,   Her son was a jewel; a public servant was he, Being one in a million, is what the mother would see, Each day he would toil, working hard for a living, Each night at home, he would peacefully be   Out-stepped the son when, from the bounds of ...

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What my 63-year-old boss taught me

Meet Keith Brown, a 63-year-old manager working in my company. Keith has recently moved to UAE to work as an Engineering Facilities Manager at McDermott Middle East Inc. I have known him since May 2012, when we started playing field hockey. I was astonished to know that a 63-year-old could play field hockey because this is one of the most physically demanding sports! A feat like this would be extremely rare in countries like Pakistan, India and UAE. It’s a pity that many of our grand fathers (or even fathers) are unable to even walk properly when they are as young ...

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President Obama’s inauguration and messages of unity

The 44th President of the United States was publicly sworn in to his second term on Monday, January 21, 2013. It was the second time, in as many days. Because the constitution demands an official swearing in ceremony to take place on January 20, both Vice President Joseph Biden and President Obama took part in a quiet ceremony the day before. President Obama became the 17th President to have started a second term in office, following in the footsteps of former President George Bush and Bill Clinton. 800,000 people — young and old, rich and poor, gay and straight, Black and White, ...

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Meet Vijanti, the 6-year-old victim of rape

Meet Vijanti, a girl dressed in beautiful red clothes playing like any other girl her age should. Meet Vijanti, a girl who will never be allowed to play outside her house again. Meet Vijanti, a girl who does not understand what happened to her. Meet Vijanti, a girl who acted on her parents’ advice and did not talk to the stranger but still suffered. Meet Vijanti, a six-year-old girl belonging to the Hindu community who was raped in early December 2012 in Umerkot, Sindh. I visited her in the Lyari General Hospital with a colleague from the HRCP on December 24, 2012. After ...

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From Vital Signs to ‘Vital Saaen’

The journey from the golden age to the recent dark ages has been very short for the Pakistan music industry. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when a song like Taroo Maroo becomes an instant hit in the music deprived nation. It wouldn’t awe a person if Sajjad Ali’s recent four minute video—Har Zulm  is welcomed by an audience getting accustomed to finding music in the title songs of over-rated drama serials. It was not long before Pakistan produced some of the best musicians in the world. From Munni Begum, Nayyara Noor, Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum to the younger generation of pop ...

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Police powers to FC in Balochistan: A futile measure

In Balochistan, the police are currently enjoying additional powers under the Police Act of the British colonial days to raid, arrest, detain and prosecute anyone found violating the laws of the land. The police enjoy the power to search any suspected place where criminals are hiding illegal weapons, narcotics and other contraband goods. When violent incidents increased in the province, mainly through the targeted killing of Hazara Shias by terrorists in Quetta and its outskirts, the provincial government gave police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) to raid, arrest, detain and question suspects involved in targeted killings and other heinous ...

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How much do you hate Pakistan’s media?

Keeping lists of all aspects of Pakistani activity on Facebook is a manic hobby of mine. I consider myself the tracker of the totality of our online diaspora, which is best represented on Facebook (8 million Pakistanis and growing fast). One list that has been very consistently growing and producing content is my (rather plainly dubbed) Pakistan Media Haters list. Over the last two years I have been diligently adding pages that spew hate (i.e. irrational, cherry-picked critique with dollops of venom, lies, incitement to violence and racism) against the local media. I have also tried to decipher where these pages ...

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Why the anti-Muslim ads in New York City were not hate speech

Offensive ads have been showing on New York City buses and in subway station.  One reads, “In any war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Beneath that, in blue, were two Stars of David, and the words, “Support Israel.” Below that, in red text, it read, “Defeat Jihad.“ Surely, this is politically incorrect in a world where human rights discourse has more or less permeated consciousness.  If teachers in colleges made such statements, many would boycott their classes – if employees at the office water cooler called Muslims savages, it’d be the subject of a workplace controversy. Why was the ad ...

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Pizza Pakistania: A green and white authentic Italian delight!

Pizza is Italian and everyone knows it. However, as remarked by a cousin from Italy, what Pizza Hut and other pizza places make are delicious food – not pizzas. A typical Italian pizza has an extremely thin crust and a crispy base. Interestingly, when you ask some friends who bake pizzas at home, they share stories of how they add many ingredients into the base including eggs, powdered milk, baking powder, baking soda and butter. Yet, many of them fail to deliver the necessary sponge or the crisp in the base you find in parlour-bought pizzas. However, the recipe that a cousin shared from ...

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