Stories published in March, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful: Disney, I’m not impressed!

So Oz the Great and Powerful is out! Sam Raimi’s Oz serves as a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, so don’t expect to hear of Dorothy or of her faithful compatriots, the scarecrow, the tin man or the lion. The reason for this is that Disney does not have the rights to portray any of the characters or mention those infamous red shoes in this movie, as they belong to Warner Brothers. The story revolves around a young and enterprising conman (magician) who goes by the name of Oz (James Franco). A series of philandering events lead him to jump on a blimp as a means ...

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We don’t need to segregate men and women at rallies!

It was thoroughly mortifying to read about the harassment faced by women at the PTI rally on March 23, even more so with the realisation that it is not an isolated incident, but an illness our nation struggles with. I concede there is very little Imran Khan could have done to avoid this lamentable situation. Regulating vast crowds is always tricky business, let alone doing it in a rainstorm. I was, however, disturbed by the voting results at the end calling for separate arrangements for women at rallies. _____________________________________________

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_____________________________________________ It’s a perturbing proposition that the key to preventing harassment is enforcing gender segregation. ...

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Egyptian leader’s gaffes called out

Pakistani academics were probably not paying close attention when Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi delivered his gaffe-riddled speech at the National University of Science and Technology’s convocation earlier this week. Had they been listening, they might have caught on to a series of grave factual errors made in the speech, which were pointed out a day later by an Egyptian expert on Arab heritage and medical history, Youssef Zeidan. Fortunately, a majority of readers in Pakistan remained unaware of the errors, because members of the local press corps were too focused on the bilateral relations between Egypt and Pakistan. Mursi, it turns ...

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On a bus to Nazimabad, I made a new friend

The long awaited bus to Nazimabad was about to leave. Smoke from the traffic had clouded the road, making it hard to breathe and you could see people covering their faces to avoid being choked. Loud voices of men, the incessant wailing of babies and flinging of bags resulted in a racket which was so constant that one’s ears soon got immune to it. Various people hovered around the bus stand which would normally pique my curiosity, but not today – today, my mind was preoccupied. I was worried, as always, about money. Apart from iron deficiencies, my family faces severe financial strain which seems to worsen ...

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News, nights and nightmares…

Pakistan. Pkaistan. No! What? Did I just spell my country’s name wrong? Oh wait. No, I not only spelled it wrong, I printed it wrong. Printed it wrong on a newspaper — a national daily newspaper. The entire country is laughing at me. My career is over. I’m switching my phone off. Hibernation. When I wake up, I try to gather the strength to pull myself out of bed. It’s 4:30am. I go outside my apartment door and there is no newspaper. I take a sigh of relief and then I’m simply angry at myself. How can a rational human being let one dream, ...

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PTI, ensure the safety of women if you want our support

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) under the chairmanship of Imran Khan held a massive rally at the historic Minar-i-Pakistan ground on Saturday, March 23, 2013. While the gathering was immense and the jalsa proved to be a great ‘political success’, it left behind a trail of horror for some female participants. For them, things were not as pleasant as the telly reported. The media showed only half of the picture — a huge crowd garnished flags and banners, colourful environment and cheerful painted faces. Nobody cared to report the problems faced by some women at the jalsa, especially when it began to rain and the rally was nearing its ...

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What will elections bring for Hazaras – more death?

It was October 5, 1999 when ex-education minister Sardar Nisar Ali was ambushed by “unknown” terrorists. His driver and personal bodyguard died on the spot, he, however, was fortunate enough to have survived the attack but sustained serious bullet injuries. This was the first terrorist attempt ever to be made on a prominent Hazara figure in Quetta in a democratic set up, led by the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Soon after, leading Hazara businessmen including Sardar Saadat Ali, the younger brother of Sardar Nisar Ali started receiving life threatening calls known to be later on from the ‘alleged’ terrorists in Afghanistan. On ...

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Why Hafeez should replace Misbah as captain

Since the dreadful English summer of 2010—when Pakistan lost three key players due to the spot-fixing scandal—Misbahul Haq has been leading the Pakistan cricket team in at least two formats of the game. Considering the tough circumstances, Misbah has done a commendable job—both as a player and as a captain. Some of his achievements include the Asia Cup title (2012), ODI series win against India (2013), and a Test series white-wash (2012) against the then world number one Test side England in UAE. It was Misbah’s calmness that helped improve the team’s Test ranking to number four. As a captain, he has won nine (four losses) out of 20 ...

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‘Treat my daughter, or I will shoot you’

How many of us have been to a bomb blast site? It’s likely that you’ve been to one if you live in Pakistan, particularly Karachi, Quetta or Peshawar. Living in the aforementioned cities is like living on the forefront of one of many disjointed wars being waged in Pakistan. Carnage sites in these cities – those created by huge explosions or great accidents – are as devastating as you see on TV shows; and there are powerful stories that emerge. Like the hundreds of people who mourned the deaths of their daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, siblings and spouses in the Abbas Town blast, ...

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Raja Pervez Ashraf and the musical chairmen

The last day in office for the Raja Pervez Ashraf government brought an ‘unexpected’ amount of excitement for anyone who follows the bureaucracy. Over two dozen posts — mostly senior level — changed hands, with a few of the changes raising a hue and cry and eventually attracting the attention of the Supreme Court. One of those was a transfer order for Tahir Shahbaz, who was only appointed CDA chairman late last year. Shahbaz was ostensibly brought in to clean up the agency after years of inept management and outright corruption had reduced the formerly cash-rich agency into a poverty-stricken ...

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