Stories published in February, 2013

Pakistan versus South Africa Test series: Analysing our loss at Cape Town

So we lost to South Africa in the Test series held in Cape Town. The debacle in the first match in Johannesburg was still digestible, due to the uncongenial conditions, lack of match practice, and the fact that Pakistan normally doesn’t play well in their first match in a series. However, the fiasco in Cape Town is simply not tolerable, and for obvious reasons. It was Pakistan’s best chance to level the series, particularly after reaching 338 in the first innings, and limiting South Africa to 110 for 5. It was Pakistan’s game to win, and they squandered the opportunity. Winning or losing is ...

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With every Hazara you kill, you are killing a piece of me too

It’s easy to be disheartened by the general state of affairs in Pakistan at present. We seem to have lost the capacity to choose dialogue over violence, to stand for what is right over joining the latest political circus (Tahirul Qadri et al), and to be a nation, if ever we were one. And now we’ve taken to something not-so-new, driving out all elements that are deemed non-Pakistani, or non-Muslim perhaps — there is little distinction between those terms of late. The latest 80 plus Hazaras massacred, depicts what is swiftly becoming nothing short of genocide. To what end, I ask? What ...

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Karachi Literature Festival 2013: With tolerance and respect for all

So the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) is over. Three jam-packed days devoted to writing, to literature and to everything else in between. A festival not just of books, but of thoughts and ideas, with the space for diverse opinions to be held and expressed, and respected by all. I would have to say that this year’s festival, the fourth, was the most mature and powerful it has ever been. This festival has really come into its own, from its first time at the Carlton Hotel. This year’s festival was held at the Beach Luxury Hotel, which revitalised and renenergised the ...

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Does Karachi really need the tallest building in the world?

As you read these lines, many people mourn the death of their loved ones in Karachi.  As you click on the “share” button on Facebook to express your awe on the proposed wonderment that lies ahead, a frustrated son curses the traffic jam he is stuck in as he tries to get home to his sick mother after work. As you start believing that I am yet another critic who can’t stand seeing any positive change in this country, you tend to forget the wise old saying that all ‘that glitters is not gold’. The currently tallest building on the planet, ...

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The man on a black horse: Supporting theatre in Pakistan

To the neighsayers (warning: some awful horse puns) who claim that Pakistani plays can’t stay the course, I give you The Man on a Black Horse.  Running at T2F, formerly known as The Second Floor, in Karachi, Pakistan, The Man on a Black Horse is a highly energetic piece of theatre which accomplishes what few other live performances in Pakistan have: it doesn’t suck. Written and directed by Rouvan Mahmud and Ali Junejo (the duo are also two of the three performers in the play), the performance tells the tale of two soldiers, Sal (Rouvan) and Rumi (Ali). These characters, through the memories of an enigmatic woman they ...

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Which political party is closest to the business lobby?

With general elections ahead, every leading political party claims to have the solution for the country’s chronic economic problems in their ‘economic agenda’. While some parties have revealed their economic agendas in the last few months, many have not bothered to fulfill this basic formality. There is not a single political party in the country that can claim to have the confidence of the business community. The failure of the Pakistan Peoples Party government in handling the economic affairs of Pakistan has compelled a large number of businessmen to look at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Sensing ...

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CIA playbook: A sour attempt at legalising terror via drones

With John O Brennan’s brainchild, the ‘play book’, almost ready for the president to sign and the leak of the Justice Department’s document explaining the legal rationale for the killing of American citizens who join al Qaeda, the drone debate is a hot topic once again. But for all the wrong reasons. A brief introduction to the playbook would be that it sets rules regarding the clandestine drone operations of CIA around the world, a vague attempt at legalising the attacks and ‘minimising’ them to an extent. Something like this needed to be done by the US government as it ...

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My first visit to a lawn exhibition in Pakistan

I don’t quite understand how it happened, but 15 hours after landing in Karachi on a beautiful sunny day, I found myself at my first designer lawn exhibition. Over the last few years, I’d heard a lot about the way this industry has changed from one selling moderately priced cotton, to a market awash with “designer” prints and labels. My friend and I (we’ll call her S) were on our way to the newly opened Dolmen Mall in Clifton when she turned and asked if I fancied visiting my first designer lawn exhibition. What’s a girl to say? Yes! So we pulled up outside Rizwan Beyg’s (long-standing designer ...

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Art should transcend politics: Gulzar Saheb and Shobha De, you have disappointed us

There is always a disconnect between artist and establishment. It is in the nature of the state to control and put limitations on freedom, to tag artistic expression with national interest. Yet art travels; it is not the prisoner of a boundary, it defies all limitations and connects people divided by politics and religion. Indian movies and serials might be produced and directed by Indians but they are appreciated by people of different nationalities. They are as popular within the national boundaries as they are across the border. Coke Studio Pakistan is not the property of the Islamic republic- other ...

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What men can expect when a woman is expecting

The news of conception can be kind of alarming for many fathers-to-be. While the mother-to-be is busy enjoying the extra attention, the poor father isn’t given the time of day. I believe that the dad-to-be is affected a lot more due to the added pressure of looking after two people now, from when the test comes positive to the time of the baby’s delivery. I remember collecting the pregnancy test results on the way home from work in 2003. ‘Positive’ it read. I immediately felt an adrenaline rush on reading it. As was expected, my wife turned into the eighth wonder of the ...

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