Stories published in May, 2013

Woolwich: It’s time to confront some obvious truths

Perhaps it might be useful, as we contemplate the horror of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Woolwich on Wednesday, to have a quick look through the history books. In 1971, for example, Robert Campbell killed 15 people in a bomb attack on McGurk’s bar in Belfast. He was not a Muslim. In 1984, the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by two of her security guards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. They weren’t Muslims either. In 1991, a suicide bomber named Thenmozhi Rajaratnam blew herself up and killed Indira Gandhi’s son ...

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The young criminals of underprivileged Karachi

It has been seven years since I’ve been running an educational institute for women and children in Baldia Town, Karachi. I’ve studied the people carefully and my basic aim is to spread general awareness amongst the underprivileged residents of this area. During my experience, I learnt that the rate of crime in most of these areas is higher as compared to the rest of Karachi. Many young boys, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, are trained to leak secret information that could be helpful in executing crimes. These boys usually drop out of school after the eighth standard, and ...

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My little baby doll

The huge grandfather clock before me keeps ticking away. It is quarter after five; we’ve been waiting for almost half an hour. When will Dr Hussain, my gynaecologist, call us in? I absolutely hate waiting in clinics. Ever since I was a child, I’ve never liked clinics; there is always a peculiar smell…the stench of disease. Even the gynaecologist’s clinic isn’t any better. The dull coloured walls with cracks running through them, the unsmiling stern looking nurse who reminds me of the Hulk, the plastic flowers on the centre table, the old issues of Cosmo, Home and Garden, Motherhood ...

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The infamous ‘Muslim Room’ and other travel horrors

Recently, I boarded an Etihad Airways flight from Islamabad to Chicago. On a stopover at Abu Dhabi, the plane filled up with a lot of South Asian people; approximately 95% of my fellow passengers were brown. Not being a frequent flyer to the US, I was unaware of the desi population that infests Chicago. 14 hours later… We finally landed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. I was tired, worn out and my body ached – as did everyone else’s, I’m sure. After a long wait, I finally made it to the immigration officer. He asked me a few general questions: “How long will you ...

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The tale of Karachi: Home is where the shackle was

Karachi gives you so much pain at times, nothing else compares. Sometimes the sun strikes harder on us than usual, almost as if to punish us for our sins from the day before.  We lose teenagers in gunfights, lose women to politics, lose children to violence, all as if we were sheep instead of people. This month we honoured the funerals of a female party worker Zahra Shahid Hussain, and a philanthropist Abdul Waheed. These two are one of the many we have lost. We lose blood on the streets, see it on our television screens and read it in our papers. ...

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An open letter to MQM from a PTI supporter

Dear brothers and sisters, While I strongly condemn the brutal killing of Zahra Shahid Hussain, I would like to take this opportunity as an individual to apologise to the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) supporters on behalf on my leader, Imran Khan’s statement. I doubt my party will issue an apology statement or agree with me so I will speak for myself. It was incorrect of Imran Khan to point a finger at your supporters without waiting for an inquiry and an investigation to be completed on the senseless killing of Zahra Shahid Hussain. Apart from the chaos felt in Karachi, it achieved what it meant to and ...

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MQM’s much awaited cleansing

A few hours ago, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) dissolved the Rabita Committee in Pakistan and London. It seems as if the chief of MQM Altaf Hussain, has finally taken notice of the ongoing problems within the party ranks. The rising popularity of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Karachi and the sour feelings, even among the Urdu speaking populace – which constitutes a major part of the vote bank of MQM – may have triggered this reality check. MQM represents the middle income group and has a track record of sending educated young men and women to the corridors of power and providing them with an opportunity to ...

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Postcards from Lahore to Cannes Film Festival

“Lahore. The second largest city in Pakistan; the fifth largest city in South Asia and the 26th largest city in the world but more than that though, this is the place of my parents’ birth and the place they now live in. I lived here only once, as a seven-year old, now at the age of 24, I’ve finally got another chance to visit the place of my origins, and recreate the early mementos of my childhood trip: my postcards from Lahore.” And so begins the British-Asian and London-based filmmaker and comedian Aatif Nawaz’s documentary-film, ‘Postcards from Lahore’, that has ...

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Beckham: An extraordinarily charismatic but, at most, an ‘ordinary’ player

David Beckham has finally drawn curtains on his glamorous 21-year career. Notice the word “glamorous” in my opening sentence and the absence of a single word about football. I won’t shy away from saying I did that on purpose because the notion I’m going to present in my piece here is something that has divided the opinion of the footballing world throughout the glittery career of the former England captain. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Imran Khan didn’t look like he did or didn’t have a charming personality? Would he still have the crazy fan following that ...

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Li Keqiang’s first visit to Pakistan and confusing plans for peace

Excitement is abuzz as the Chinese Premier begins his visit to Pakistan today. Mobile services have been suspended in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as a preemptive security measure and the Pakistan Army has assumed the responsibility to provide security for Li Keqiang’s first visit to Pakistan. The newly elected Chinese Premier had been in India before where he couldn’t escape India’s objections and had to offer explanations about the Chinese interest in development activities in Pakistan. Additionally, he spoke of about ways to improve Sino-India relations over border disputes. Li’s visit to Pakistan, however, is significant in many ways. Not only has he received the prestigious award of Nishan-e-Pakistan, he will be addressing ...

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