Stories published in February, 2013

Murdering a baby

On a cold afternoon, reading the news item about female foetuses found in a garbage drum, I cringed with horror and pain. It’s too late though; no one can do anything about these innocent victims now. These girls could have grown up to be beautiful women who could have shouldered the pain and responsibilities of their parents. If only they were given a chance. Deemed as burden before their birth, they were aborted and thrown out into the trash. A female child does not saddle her parents with misery or affliction; she is a joy for the soul. If only ignorant people ...

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Every other rape story in Pakistan

In a small town or village in Pakistan, victim X (perhaps Y and Z too, who may be sisters, mothers or relatives) has [allegedly] been raped, gang-raped, often tortured, sometimes murdered and dumped in a ditch, a well, or close to their home. The actual rape lasts hours, days, weeks or even years. A few lurid, but contained details of the sexual assault go here, with large chunks cut out so as to not offend and/or titillate the readers. Additional details may be dropped because the district reporter’s English is atrocious, and his embellishments are suspect. In fact, the whole story may be ...

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Letter to be signed by 100 people to the ECP

Justice Mr Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Chief Election Commissioner, Pak Secretariat, Block 44 A Shahrah-e-Iraq, Saddar Karachi ————————————————- Citizens’ demand ————————————————– Honourable sir, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has a historic opportunity to forever change the dark and disreputable politics of Pakistan. Free and fair elections will remain hollow clichés unless the ECP acts to purge the past violators and creates an effective filtration process for the future lawmakers. We, the ‘Citizens for Fair Elections’ demand that the Election Commission put an end to the eternal recycling of political sewage by taking the following bold steps: 1. Disqualify all fake degree holders: The ECP should order the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to ...

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A visual guide to the political circus in Pakistani media

Five years of democracy has meant a great deal of ups and downs for the free media. There has been a lot of drama, and occasionally some substance. Politicians returned from the wilderness into a completely changed world and had to adapt quickly. New phrases, techniques and protocols had to be developed and on most occasions, the result – apart from tragedy – was hilarity! Here are a few of the best trends that caught on in the Pakistani media. “Dekhein ghaltian tou sab se hui hein” (We’ve all made mistakes) The best of the trends came right at the start. Several politicians were ...

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My adventures on a bus!

My first few encounters with a public bus occurred when I started going to an institute to prepare for my entrance test. My father usually used to pick and drop me, but one fine day he wasn’t home and I needed a ride. In that moment of absolute insanity, I made a decision which became the biggest regret of my life. I boldly declared in front of my family that I was old enough to ride the public bus. I thought I knew what I was in for; a long lecture on the dangers of travelling via buses alone concluding with ...

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English Premier League: Manchester City or Manchester United?

I’m sure all the avid lovers of the English Premier League (especially Manchester United) think that they have already won the crown of the English Premier league for 2012-2013. However, there are still 12 matches to be played by 18 teams and anything can happen. Manchester United seems to be in a very strong position; 12 points above the second place team (Manchester City), and 16 points over third place (Chelsea). Sir Alex Ferguson’s team has the best lead since the 2000-2001 season and their next five matches are against Queens Park Rangers (QPR), Norwich City, West Ham, Reading and Sunderland. They look ...

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Why all this fuss over Gwadar?

It came as no surprise when, on Monday, the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zaradri handed over the operating rights of the Gwadar port officially to China in a high profile ceremony arranged at the President house in Islamabad. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Pakistani officials and the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Liu Jian, which meant that the world renowned, yet little functional, Gwadar port was transferred from the Singapore based Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), which had initially signed a 40 year lease deal in 2007, to the Chinese state-owned China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC). Pakistan tagged it as the ...

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Drone strikes kill real people; here are the ones I know

Yesterday, Senator Lindsay Graham, made the following remark: “We’ve killed 4,700.” “Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al Qaeda.” And in this swift statement, all the damage caused and all the lives destroyed by drone strikes have been justified – just because Senator Lindsay “hates” it. A huge number of civilian victims of the US drone attacks in Waziristan still remain silhouettes to euphemisms like ‘collateral damage’. Their voices are muted under the constant humming of US drones circling their villages causing constant fear and immense psychological damage. They are ...

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Did we really put ‘locals’ into govt system?

When the Sindh Assembly passed the controversial Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012, terms such as “black spot on democracy” and “slap on the face of Sindh’s residents” cropped up in nationalists’ speeches. Interestingly, when the act was repealed, some MPAs used the same terminology to describe the development. This is the first time that a democratically elected government has dabbed at putting together a system of local government. Interestingly, if you carefully examine the local government experiments under the colonial rulers, military regimes and the current democratic set-up, you would notice that at the fundamental level, there doesn’t seem ...

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Are overseas Pakistanis any less greener?

The dilemma of resident Pakistanis being more loyal to their country than non-resident Pakistanis seems to be going on forever. Enough has already been said and written on the issue, but we just don’t seem to come out of this rhetoric. My first argument to anybody who doubts my patriotism is whether being a non-resident makes me any less Pakistani than them? For me it’s a pretty simple equation, it’s not a requisite that you can only love someone or something when you’re available in person. It can be a bonus but definitely not necessary. I acknowledge that people in Pakistan are facing abysmal ...

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