Stories published in April, 2013

Justice Ebrahim, when will you tell us if overseas Pakistanis can vote or not?

This is a sincere request to our Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, Justice Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, to take emergency notice of the matter regarding voting rights of overseas Pakistanis. Officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have buried the issue by saying that bureaucratic hurdles are making it impossible to grant voting facilities to expats. Currently, there are around 7.5 million Pakistanis abroad, and our economy is primarily running on remittances sent by them. Pakistan was ranked number ten for remittances in 2012, which totalled around $13 billion that year. Due to meagre employment opportunities, many leave the country in search of a better livelihood so that ...

Read Full Post

Letters to God

The box was placed between old grimy paperbacks. It had been there for a long time. She could tell by the layers of dust that enveloped it, obscuring it. She removed it from the iron shelves and opened it while her heart slammed painfully against her ribs. It had been a home for her letters, the ones she had written a decade ago. The envelopes sealed by glue had been opened-mother had read them. She didn’t care. She picked up the first one and went through it. She finished. The tear stained page now dampened by fresh tears. Maybe taking a trip down memory ...

Read Full Post

Writing versus editing: What’s your pick?

As a writer and editor, I have a tough time deciphering what I like doing more: writing something from scratch, with my name under the headline, and the promise of a growing readership? Or ripping someone else’s work to shreds and rebuilding the story. Writing is like making a dish from scratch (not reporting, where you basically state facts): you choose the ingredients and the recipe. You are responsible for the end result. The credit is yours as is the criticism. But editing is like fixing somebody’s half-cooked dish. You can renovate it, rebuild it. You can add a ...

Read Full Post

UEFA Champions League: Will we witness another El Clásico?

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League semi-final on Friday may have brought a feel of fear in the hearts of Blaugrana fans, after they drew against the mighty,title-hungry German side, Bayern Munich. Having a star-studded side, Bayern Munich has a great chance of getting through to the final of Europe’s most elite competition. On the other hand, FC Barcelona, which is pretty much injury struck, will not let go of this pulsating tie that easily. FC Barcelona has sent their message directly to all the teams in competition after they overturned the two-goal deficit against AC Milan at Camp Nou ...

Read Full Post

Boston Marathon blasts: Is terrorism Muslim?

Last time I checked, terrorism had no nationality or religion. It was defined as the senseless slaughter of innocents by perpetrators of violence. No matter what causes these terrorists claim to endorse, the damage they inflicted was not supposed to represent the teachings of the religion they identified with or the country they hailed from. All that tolerance is only in theory though. When we hear of attacks and blasts by violent groups, we tend to assume everyone who is associated with the belief system which these extremists recognise is tainted by their malicious intents. With the Boston Marathon blasts only ...

Read Full Post

Aangan Terrha: The theatre lover’s fix of nostalgia and entertainment

The chance to watch the most awaited play in the theatrical history of Karachi came to me by the sheer luck of getting some free passes, as Rs1500 for a ticket seemed too steep a price. I was greeted by an excited crowd that had gathered even before the gates opened. There was palpable excitement in the air. Everyone was hoping for a worthy show that could make them relive their old memories. Being a die-hard fan of Aangan Terrha and having almost rote-learned the entire show – thanks to the presence of old DVDs in the house – I was sceptical about whether my expectations ...

Read Full Post

Volunteering in Pakistan: A forgotten dream

Visiting Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences sometime back to attend the US alumni community service programme arranged by students of Pakistan, India and the US, was an interesting experience. Going through the different wards with the students, I could not help but wish that volunteering or community service programmes be held in the country on a regular basis. Talking with the children in the hospital, sharing jokes and stories with them and trying to put a smile on their faces made the whole experience worthwhile. In the US and in Europe, community service is often made obligatory for those who are ...

Read Full Post

Do we even have a leader to vote for?

In my 20 years of life, I have never seen such a level of excitement amongst people to vote, especially when nothing has changed. The political parties are the same, their members are the same and the leaders are also the same. Some of the parties contesting have already had the opportunity to rule Pakistan and their performance is there for all to see. The other two, supposedly the ‘underdogs’ and extensively branded as the ambassadors of the much-needed and labelled ‘inevitable’ change, don’t seem to be too promising either. Former army chief Pervez Musharraf, who reigned the country for eight ...

Read Full Post

Too much optimism, very little friendship

Dear Sayeda It was such a pleasure to read your article. It just certified my resolve to be positive and remain focused. Last week I was attacked by gunmen and injured. Was shaken, angry and could not think right due to rage and frustration built up inside of me. However, being a resilient Pakistani I am trying to be positive. Life has to go on and go on good. I work voluntarily for community schools to keep myself occupied productively. I will never lose hope for the betterment in our country. Is it normal to be optimistic even in such trying times? Most of the people around me ...

Read Full Post

Peshawar: Where donkeys are heroes

An ambulance, a rescue vehicle or any kind of a four wheeled automobile cannot enter the Aqa Hadi street of Peshawar, making it the most inaccessible area during an emergency. Aqa Hadi is a narrow, close ended and densely populated street in Peshawar. It consists of more than 80 houses of all shapes and sizes. Majority of the people living in this tapered street use cycles and motorbikes as a means of daily transportation, while a few own personal cars, which they have to park in different parking lots on link roads near the Dabgari Garden. Keeping the tradition alive, donkeys are used ...

Read Full Post