Stories published in February, 2013

Mind your language: Chal Parha’s take on language in schools

Chal Parha is a brilliant TV show, recently launched on Geo, hosted by Shehzad Roy to reform the government education system in Pakistan. The second episode was a thought provoking insight into the issue of the language of instruction in Pakistani schools. The episode looked at the emotional trauma and turmoil children face when they are forced to learn or communicate in languages which are completely foreign or alien to them, in our case these being Urdu and English. It does not only cause confusion in the minds of the students, but may eventually lead to a loss in self-confidence and the ability to express themselves, ...

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Sindh will be a much better place than Sind!

It was a very proud moment for the Sind(h) assembly when the members “unanimously” agreed that an amendment bill be passed officially correcting the spelling of the province of ‘Sindh’ which was incorrectly reported by Radio Pakistan earlier to have been changed to “Sind”. The people of the province eagerly awaited the verdict for this diabolical, life-threatening issue. Now that it has been resolved and clarity has been brought forth, this step will certainly bring prosperity, rule of law, health care and education to the Sind(h)is of Sind(h). Having named everything possible after Benazir Bhutto, the highly competent members of the ...

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The rishta brigade

The show started around 10am. The room wore a very neat look with the curtains being freshly washed and couches from the adjacent room placed next to the sofas. The arrivals comprised an elderly woman and two young girls, welcomed very warmly by Ashraf and his wife, Atifa. There was a clear demarcation of positions on the either side of the table — to its left were seated the guests, and to its right, the hosts. The latter wore forced smiles which did little to hide the tense anticipation gnawing at their faces and sunk into the worn-out seats like pleading, grateful ...

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Metro Bus Service: A loud, proud day for Lahore?

Every day for four weeks, I have slept to the sound of traffic in Lahore. And I wake up to it, every single day. The blaring of horns of which there are variations you could possibly never imagine or encounter, emanating from vehicles, motorbikes, rickshaws and modes of transportation unimaginable too, form a stream of noises which become firmly rooted in your subconscious, many say.  So far, not for me.  I wince, sometimes even curse when I am alone and long for these weeks to be over so I can wake up in my serene neighbourhood, back in Chicago. And for ...

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A woman’s fate

For as long as one can remember, Karachi has been beset by killings. Though these days it seems that it is getting easier to murder a woman and get away with it. Murders of women are reported from all corners of the country, almost on a daily basis, and without a doubt, many cases go unnoticed or unreported. Alarmingly, a sizeable majority of the women killed are young and newly-wed. They are not just murdered, but murdered after being subjected to domestic torture and sexual violence. Unfortunately, nothing much is being done to promote the fast-vanishing tradition of respecting and honouring women. Recently, ...

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In the land of the pure

As we see the colour red infest the country, we all know that February 14 is a date which has gained massive popularity amongst the masses of Pakistan. But the question remains how and why has Valentine’s Day become so important for our awaam? While some define it as a ‘day for lovers’, others say ‘it’s a day to ‘hate’ those celebrating it’. The trend of girls and guys throwing leaflets in colleges and in car parking against valentines with messages such as ‘this day is for non-Muslims, you will commit a sin if you celebrate this day, if you believe in ...

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Afzal Guru: How India made a militant out of a med-student

Afzal Guru was hung on Saturday. As predicted, the Indian political fraternity and intelligentsia not only welcomed, but applauded the development. They saw it as a culmination of the legal process-the law of the land taking its due course. News channels repeatedly telecasted the footage of the attacks on the Indian parliament as if to convince themselves and their viewers that justice had finally been served. To borrow the words from the Supreme Court judgment, “the collective conscience of the nation” has been satiated. On the other hand, the reaction in Kashmir has been the polar opposite. Emotions resembling anguish, pain, desperation ...

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Special 26: One of Akshay’s best performances!

Neeraj Pandey waited for three years after the release of his debut film so that he could release Special 26 (S26) with his first choice lead actor, Akshay Kumar. Three years is a long time, but it also goes to show that Neeraj knew exactly what he wanted from the film and his characters, just like he did in case of ‘A Wednesday’ (AW). AW ended up bagging critical acclaim, several awards and also heavy box office collections for a low budget film. This resulted in higher expectations from S26, especially when it had one of the biggest popular stars ...

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There is no need for players who betray their country

The spot fixing scandal which shook the foundations of Pakistan cricket in 2010 has become, as it seems, a never ending nightmare. Most of us thought it ended after the culprits, Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir were banned by ICC, followed by their conviction and jail sentence by British courts but this scandal continues to make headlines to date. In a recent blog at The Express Tribune, the blogger appealed for their comeback, his line of reasoning mainly being that our country has exonerated bigger criminals than these three cricketers and that match fixing happens all over the world and ...

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Say yes to Valentine’s day

There is no better indicator to how little Pakistan has done to prevent the nation slipping down the extremism rabbit hole than the increasingly visible outcry against Valentine’s day. Back in the 90s, nobody was concerned with the celebration of Valentine’s day. The general population was unaware of the event, and the few who knew went their merry way with chocolates, cut-out hearts, red balloons and the hope of securing a date or making a loved one feel special. The 2000s have, however seen each Valentine’s day turn increasingly into an ideological battleground between the forces of extremism out to score ...

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