Stories published in May, 2013

Dear HEC, your degree attestation process is a nightmare

Getting a degree attested – sounds like a simple enough task, doesn’t it? Turns out, it can be an absolutely maddening task, trust me. I had been trying to apply for a visa to Canada, and as part of the process, I traveled to Islamabad from Peshawar to get my Bachelor’s degree attested. This is a necessary step for everyone who wants to apply for a visa to the US and Canada and even for those who are seeking jobs within Pakistan. Before leaving Peshawar, I went through all the necessary requirements listed on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) website. 8:00am I arrived at the HEC office ...

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Happiness is just a frame of mind: A fake eye and a haunting past

So what’s the biggest problem in your life? An exam you failed? The fact that your parents spoil your little sister more than they spoil you? Is it the new lawn prints you can’t afford? How unfair life is, right? I thought the same until my maid told me her story. I was lying in the lounge, depressed as ever. How could God be so unfair? I moaned and I complained. A dumb friend of mine had received an acceptance letter from a university abroad because he could afford it; I couldn’t. I was still in the worst of all moods when my ...

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PTI’s alliance with JI: When a move to the right is not the right move

Now that the election euphoria is subsiding and the calls for voting have been replaced by allegations of vote-rigging, idealism has given way to pragmatism and we see signs of practical politics emerging. PML-N’s statements on not curtailing Zardari’s presidential term and consideration of Imran Khan as a possible candidate for Public Accounts Committee chairmanship signify that political acumen can trump reactionary impulses. Decisions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on seat retention also show that the party is not letting blind optimism guide its choices. Imran Khan’s retention of NA-56, in addition to barring Hanif Abbasi from becoming a contender, will provide ...

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Karachi summers: Easy, breezy and beautiful

May is a seminal month in Karachi, an intermediary that hints of the pleasures of a South Asian summer. The searing April heat is omnipresent but in late afternoons you can hear the cuckoo’s song that makes it palatable. Since youth, I have heard the melodious sound and to this day it brings back memories of final exams, the never ending wait for summer vacations, gola ganda (ice cones) and all the other things that made summer the most important season for a child. It truly is the sound of Karachi’s summer, a redoubtable counterpart to the robin’s warble ...

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Will PML-N bring new hope for Indo-Pak ties?

The fact that Mian Nawaz Sharif is certain to take oath as the prime minister of Pakistan in early June and that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) will exchange places with the outgoing government led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the National Assembly, is all part of a smooth democratic transition in Pakistan’s history as an independent nation invites hopes at many fronts. It gives hope of a new Pakistan where the people’s voice will have predominance and elected representatives will be supreme. There is overwhelming optimism that the democratic dividends will also reflect in India and Pakistan’s ...

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ICC Champions Trophy: Pakistan is the team to beat!

In the coming days, Misbahul Haq’s men will be up against some of the world’s best ODI teams at the ICC Champions Trophy (CT) in England. It will be the seventh and last edition of the tournament as the ICC has decided to hold just one event of every format after this competition with the World Cup serving the purpose for ODIs. The top eight world class teams, including world champions India, South Africa, West Indies, Australia, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand along with Pakistan will vie for the honour starting June 6. Our team, which has never won this tournament, ...

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Samina Baig and Mirza Ali: Pakistan climbs Mount Everest!

Amidst the hue and cry about rigging in elections, the political topsy turvy and the mercury rising and crossing the boiling point, there comes good news for Pakistan. Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali made history by climbing the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest without using supplemental oxygen. It is also a moment of great pride not only for Pakistan but also for India and all those who want peaceful relations between both the countries, as Samina and Mirza had in their team two Indian twin sisters, Nughsi and Tashi.

PHOTO: PakYouthOutreach.com

All four of them were ...

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When ragging in hostels turns to sexual abuse

We reached the university hostel. My parents very were happy because I had been admitted in one of the top notch universities of Pakistan located in Punjab. It was the first time in my life that I was going to stay away from my home and I was petrified.  I was accommodated with my seniors as there were no rooms available for freshmen. The first night, I could not sleep at all because the place was filthy and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I had to stay there for a long, long time. The days that followed were ...

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SITE: When industrialists are forced to work in a ‘pigsty’

Ironically, the largest sty in the world is located in Pakistan. In fact it is in Karachi, known as Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) Karachi. It is an industrial estate with over 3,000 industries, shops and warehouses. SITE is managed by a quasi-government organisation called SITE Ltd while the ‘tenants’ are represented by SITE Association of Industry. But why is this estate that contributes approximately 28% to the nation’s treasury dubbed as a mere ‘sty’? The answer lies in the tour of this 4,500-acre estate. I once wrote a satirical letter to editor that USA was looking for Osama bin Laden (OBL) ...

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Zahra Shahid Hussain: A woman of substance

Zahra Shahid Hussain was a tour de force. Nothing seemed impossible for her to conquer and she made it all seem so easy. Her ready smile and twinkling eyes lined with kohl will always be in my mind’s eye. My parents counted Zahra Hussain and her husband, Shahid Hussain, as one of their closest friends. The towering Uncle Shahid, in his white kurta pajama and deep baritone, was a gentleman to the core who had a vast repertoire of stories. As for Zahra Aunty, she was a woman of deep conviction and strength. Fearless and passionate, she was a great ally ...

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