Stories published in February, 2013

Single on Valentine’s Day? Nothing wrong with it!

As soon as February 14 approaches every year, I am forced into contemplating my inadequacy to celebrate the “day of lovers” because I happen to be single. The fête kicks off weeks ahead of ‘the day’. Roadsides begin to line up with stalls of red balloons and bouquets of roses priced so shockingly high, it’s hard to believe. A plethora of cheeky commercials start bombarding every television channel, where two love birds are somehow fitted in every advertisement (ranging from washing soaps to tractors). Numerous Valentine’s Day special deals start popping up on my Facebook page, luring me into believing that a “heart-shaped ...

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The economics behind the Lahore Metro Bus Service

According to the Punjab government, 30 billion rupees is the amount of money spent on the Lahore Metro Bus Service. The actual figure may be a lot more, but let’s just take their word for it and apply a bit of perspective to it instead. Overall the entire allocated money for Punjab infrastructure development is Rs63 billion which means that 50% or half of the development budget of Punjab was spent in Lahore. This excludes the cost of the numerous underpasses and overhead bridges that were built in Lahore. Compare this Rs30 billion to the Rs16.5 billion allocated to the health sector for ...

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PTI, PML-Q, TuQ: What is Qadri up to?

If you are good at betting, you may want to put your money on Tahirul Qadri and closely watch what comes next. He scored yet another point when his petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was admitted by the Supreme Court. It fixed Monday, February 11 as the date for the hearing when Qadri and Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim will come face to face for the first time. What if the Canadian-Pakistan national wins the legal battle and the ECP is dissolved? Ever since his surprise entry into politics after eight years, Qadri has been ...

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Lahore Metro Bus Service: A major step in Pakistan’s public transport

Lahoris, the wait is finally over!  The complicated and tiring ordeal that we were all experiencing for eleven months has finally met its end. Yes, I’m talking about the completion of the revolutionary metro bus system in Lahore. The Metro Bus Project is a monumental achievement for the Punjab government which is going to change the traffic culture of Lahore forever. Taking detours and looking for shorter diversions had become part of every Lahori’s life in the last one year. Because of the construction of many underpasses, flyovers and bus tracks, it would take people forty minutes to cover a distance which ...

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General elections and Rawalpindi

The general elections are around the corner. Although an actual date for the elections has not been announced by the government, every politician is trying to complete development projects in his/her constituency. As a resident of the federal capital, when I look towards neighbouring Rawalpindi, I see elected officials in every constituency focusing on development projects. The urban parts of the city seem to have emerged as a major hub of the PML-N, which is probably because the Punjab government has executed a number of important development projects there since coming to power. Sometimes, being a resident of Islamabad, I cannot help ...

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Not so soon Karachi

If the laptop scheme by Shahbaz Sharif was a ‘four’, the completion of Lahore’s Rapid Bus Transit System is a ‘sixer’, that too, on a no-ball. Around a week before the maiden transit system was to be inaugurated, TV channels started flashing footages of the city’s newest achievement. In Lahore, excited locals cheered for this latest development project, while in Karachi, I sat in my chair feeling happy yet envious at the same time. I’m pleased because I know what this transport-revolution will do to the people of the city but I am also overly-jealous since I won’t be able to use ...

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My day in the Supreme Court

There is a very tiny bow at the back of the police-blue beret that sits stiffly peaked on Fayyaz Leghari’s head. I have a good view of the inspector general’s fine head of hair and his pale cream jowl as he turns to whisper into Waseem Ahmed’s ear from time to time.  Waseem Ahmed’s title is as long as his wild-west moustache – additional chief secretary for the home department. But all you need to know is that he used to be the chief of Karachi’s police.These two gentlemen are in Justice Jawwad Khawaja’s court and they are a whisker ...

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Is music just music or does it have a nationality?

In the early 1980s, when Ghulam Ali’s melody ‘chukpe chukpe raat din’ and Nazia Hasan’s sensuous ‘aap jaisa koi’ took Indian film-viewing audience by a storm, the armies of both nations were engaged in a severe conflict on the highest battlefield on earth – the Siachen glacier. Two decades later, the Siachen conflict grew to become one of the major factors for the Kargil war of 1999, in a parallel universe at around the same time, the Pakistani band Junoon was making the youth of India groove to the tunes of ‘sayonee’. If talent and armed conflict could remain separate decades ago, today, when the online world is casting a ...

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White Memo: Is killing a suspect the same as killing a known terrorist?

This is in response to the recent blog on The Express Tribune by the name of, Can the US Government kill American Citizens? Although I agree with the author on the point that any person found guilty of treason should be punished, I would like to add a few points of my own, and clarify some confusion caused over the White memo. A brief summary of the White memo is provided below: 1) The White memo lays down the legal justification for targeting persons through drones. US Citizens, who are al Qaeda operational leaders, members and sympathisers, are the intended targets. 2) USA assumes that al Qaeda is continually ...

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Is PTI trying to derail democracy?

In the latest saga of the upcoming general election soap opera, Dr Tahirul Qadri has taken his petition against the constitution of the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) to the Supreme Court. But since it’s Dr Qadri who has decided to take this step, then why is the political party and media compass pointing to PTI headquarters? PTI stated it had no regrets about not joining the long march. The reason they gave was that despite the same agenda there was a different method of proposed realisation. Why? One word – unconstitutional. The media and PPP criticised PTI for demanding Asif Zardari’s resignation. Why? One word- unconstitutional. PTI ...

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