Stories published in January, 2013

Democracy is nothing but a politician’s catch phrase

Our world today seems to be in a constant state of revolution. Somehow, revolution brings a romanticised solution to all that is wrong with a corrupt bureaucracy.  Whoever promises the most drastic changes, the most extreme improvements, the most cacophonous, clamorous, and deafening rhetoric, is guaranteed a captive audience and an avid following. One thing that these masters of spin can count on is the common man’s desperate desire for a better life, their despairing hope that the world has something finer to offer – if only they can find a charismatic, catalytic leader to make change happen for them. We, ...

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Drone strikes kill militants, others kill the innocent

While the whole nation is engrossed in the drama being performed by Dr Tahirul Qadri in Blue Area, something more serious and disgraceful is going on in our beloved country. I don’t really know what the media is saying about what happened yesterday morning in North Waziristan, or if it even qualifies as something worthy of being reported in the media. I know of this incident solely because it involves the family of a close friend. At around 8.30am. yesterday, a Pakistan Army gunship helicopter appeared in the skies above Hassukhel, a small village in Tehsil Mir Ali, North Waziristan. The helicopter ...

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Is it democracy you fight for?

In the biting, freezing, numbing cold Men, women and children collect together Fired up with the zeal, energy and adrenaline Coursing through their veins To support….   A vague thought, a very hazy concept. Democracy? Ideals? Hope for a better future? Security? Few know, understand or comprehend themselves   The reason That makes them fervently chant the names Or raise the collective voice That they are chanting and raising. Or the rationale behind why they have put   All their cards on the table, so blindly, Yet again. The leaders, however, merrily play With human emotions, feelings and pride.   For sport, it seems. They gleefully gamble with the frail hopes And fragile confidence That these masses have in these new sailors Who vow ...

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My winter pet peeves

In Karachi, we await the arrival of the winter time with immense anticipation. It frees us from the scorching heat of the bright sun and provides us with a welcoming cool breeze. However, amidst the delightful weather and delicious Kashmir chai, there are some winter moments which make one rethink the joys of winter. Here is my list: The screaming neighbour: Since it gets exceptionally quiet during this lovely season, we get to know our neighbour better than we have ever wanted to. This winter, apart from knowing the basic likes and dislikes of my neighbour, I now know the seemingly soft spoken next door aunty is quite ...

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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: I’m not impressed

Just when I was convinced that there is nothing that the supremely talented Vishal Bhardwaj can’t do well, he co-writes Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.

PHOTO: REUTERS

The film, a romantic comedy, has a trite plot with an equally trite leftist message jammed in where something fresher could have made MKBKM a much more enjoyable experience. Matru (Imran Khan) is a law graduate from Delhi University who, like his father before him, works as an all-purpose servant for the wealthy Mandola family, Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) and the apple of his eye, his daughter Bijlee  Mandola (Anushka Sharma). Although Matru ...

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Pakistan: More than just drones, blasts and terrorism

A recent article in Wired, Danger Room highlighted the resurgence of the US drone campaign in Pakistan. While it focuses on the war, a lot was left untold about the nation’s story that is as heartening as it is heartrending, and as inspiring as it is seemingly dismaying. The story needs to be told in its entirety so the world can see that Pakistan is not just a war front country; so that they can discover for themselves that despite the 46 drone strikes, 652 bomb blasts, and over 1351 terrorism related casualties in 2012, the Pakistani people still continue to persevere, ...

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A ‘long march’ against social evils

My October 2011 visit to the Wahi Pandhi village in the Katcho desert suggested that there is a deep connection between ‘money and marriage’. Early marriages were widespread in this desert area, where trying to secure a regular meal is a challenge. Such ‘marital transactions’ are but the norm to win the basic necessities of life. During my visit, I met a ten-year-old girl named Kanwal. Her name was beautiful — it meant water-lily. Sadly, her fate was not as enchanting as her name. It was learnt that the police had foiled her marriage in the preceding year as she was underage. The ...

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A day in the life of a family in Peshawar

In a dark corner somewhere in Peshawar, I sit in front of my laptop and check my mails.  My father busily searches for any news he can find on the’so called ‘issues’ seizing the country,  A renowned scholar, unusually popular in his late years, has started a “long march.” Stomping from Lahore all the way to the capital of Pakistan, he is able to leave the masses in awe and wonder. To me, it is just a regular day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I step outside, to purchase some fresh vegetables that my mother has asked for to cook the evening meal. Racing to the ...

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The missing red cape

Qadri is no hero, though in the manner that he swept in and out with thousands on his side, one wonders where he hides his red cape. One also wonders about the source of that unswerving confidence. Anyone would agree that his arrival was anti-climactic – where was he when the nation was crippled without electricity and gas, when food became entirely unaffordable and when democracy was beginning to feel like the wrong choice? What has prompted his untimely bulletproof ‘revolution’ now, just two months ahead of elections? Surely, he could have stepped in when the election commission was being ...

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Qadri or no Qadri, the government brought this upon itself!

Before I have dozens of cyber warriors leaping at me from all directions ,let me be absolutely clear; I am ‘not’ a supporter of Tahirul Qadri, and neither do I support any measures that could possibly derail the democratic process. I do not condone a religious leader exploiting religious passions for political gains, but despite my pre-conceived aversion to the rally and Tahirul Qadri, I may have had a change of heart yesterday. This was because of what I witnessed; the rally of at least a 100,000 protestors going strong, was the resilience of my nation and their resolve to ...

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