Stories published in January, 2013

Can rape be classified as ‘big’ or ‘small’?

A week after Ajmal Kasab – the gunman guilty of complicity in the 2008 Mumbai attacks –was hanged in November 2012, a friend from Mumbai and I were discussing the pros and cons of capital punishment. While we both agreed that hanging a person who threatened the security of the state was just, our stance on capital punishment itself was opposite: I was in favour of death sentences, while my friend was against them. When the discussion turned towards rape, things got complicated. “Depends on whether the rape case is big or small,” said my friend. In all fairness, I know he wasn’t speaking literally but at the ...

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Ethnicity trumps humanity in Quetta

My city paints its streets with red as I attempt to write this blog. Tears trickle down my face as I reminisce over Quetta, once known as the city of peace. There was a time when people would take shelter in this harmonious city. Now people run from it. My head aches from the blasts and my heart longs for home. I still remember when I was a mere six-year-old; this city flourished with love and hospitality. My childhood memories are fresh and alive. I remember frolicking up and down the uneven streets of Quetta accompanied by my Baloch, Pathan, Punjabi ...

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Turning auto-correct off can save your life!

In this tech savvy era of drones and super phones, human beings are alarmingly evolving into cyborgs. We have gradually succumbed to electronic devices and text messaging as a preference to keep in touch and verbal communication has drastically declined. With all the user friendly accessibility options popping up on our cell phones and tablets, the spelling auto-correct function can foil a colossal blunder. In some cases it might be the highlight of the conversation itself. Our innocent words that we meant well (well most of the times) can be manipulated into horrific insults.  We become inventors, discovering new words and ...

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Pressing questions: Should Misbah call it a day?

A series victory typically covers a team’s weaknesses as the focus then revolves around how the series was won, which players performed exceptionally, and then generally how good the leadership and management was. However, such is not the case in Pakistan’s 2-1 series victory over India. It is a great feat no doubt! Beating India in India and almost clean sweeping them is an achievement and a half; however the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should not shy away from assessing the overall team performance during the series and fixing the ODI team. Pakistan’s Test and T20 teams are quite brilliant in my view. ...

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Blood trails in Balochistan

Civil servants hailing from Balochistan are braving difficult times in Islamabad. They face embarrassment when someone poses a question about the recent bloodletting in Quetta and elsewhere. While elaborating over the disastrous blasts, they tell me how the Hazara community is met with deep-seated sectarian acrimony by non-Shia outfits. While in conversation with some civil servants, I was shocked to learn that the recent past had witnessed a tremendous surge in the exodus of Hazara youth to Australia. Over 600 youth are now seeking asylum through legal and illegal channels in western countries, particularly Australia. Several others are leaving their ...

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PTI social media codes for nothing, trolling for free

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article that suggested Imran Khan’s political fortunes have changed for the worse, and that the PTI is unlikely to win this year’s elections. Soon thereafter, I received an email with the following subject line: “DECLINING POLITICAL PROSPECTS OF IMRAN KHAN??? ARE YOU RETARDED” The message itself cut right to the chase. “Listen to me, Imran Khan is our son and an asset to Pakistan. Just because he won’t bow down to you white [expletive] … does not mean that he won’t win the elections.” After some witheringly profane (and wholly unprintable) material, my irate interlocutor concluded with some ...

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Dear Indian media, please stop spreading hate

Last night I was able to catch a quick glimpse of the news that is being broadcasted in India currently. Since the alleged cross border raid by Pakistani forces that left two Indian soldiers dead, there has been much speculation. Barkha Dutt, an Indian journalist fairly well known on this side of the border, read out a very tense, stern, hyped-up monologue that set the tone for her entire show. Her emphasis, time and again, on the “unprovoked” aggression from the Pakistani side as well as the “gruesome” and “horrific” nature of the attack stood out. Unprovoked because the Indian Army was ...

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Bring back tourism to G-B

I still remember how tourists, particularly foreigners, would openly wander around the streets of Gilgit-Baltistan before the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent start of sectarian violence in the region. G-B is one of the world’s most scenic destinations, where tourism was once the main source of income for a majority of the population. During summer, some 12 years ago, G-B would host so many foreign tourists that domestic tourists found it hard to find any accommodation. Every hotel, restaurant, guesthouse and even private residents were occupied by foreign tourists and dollars were showered in every business.  Tourists would roam around without any ...

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Fatburger gets a big fat ‘yes’ from me!

Fatburger recently started advertising on billboards all across Karachi. The billboards, featuring a mouthwatering Triple Fatburger are pretty hard to miss, and being the burger junkie that I am, I dragged my wife and kids to Dolmen Mall, Clifton, for a bite last Sunday. Unfortunately for me, though, the burger joint had yet to open for public. Disappointed and disheartened, I went home and ordered some pizza instead. They say that when you want something really badly, the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it. The very next day, I received an exclusive invite for a pre-inaugural bloggers’ meetup at ...

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A ‘movie moment’ in college

Spider-man crashes into glass-walled buildings and comes out the other side, bruise-free. Batman drives into buildings, breaking the main entrance and leaving from the other end again, free of injuries. In fact, such a feat is the norm in Hollywood, Bollywood and I’m sure Lollywood as well. Little did I know that one such super-hero feat would also be my fate some day. It all began on a cold morning in 2009, when hundreds of students from the College of Business Management (CBM) in Karachi gathered to get registered for the semester. It is important to mention here that students of ...

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