Stories published in July, 2013

Remember Zakoota Jin and Roohi Bano? They need us now.

Reports circulated earlier this week about the dismal conditions Roohi Bano was currently living in. The former television actress was said to be residing without access to gas and power and there were widespread calls by television personalities and other members of the society, beseeching the government to interfere and provide adequate support. This was identical to the reaction witnessed, in the aftermath of similar reports originating a couple of months ago, regarding Munna Lahori, popularly known as Zakoota Jin, also of television fame. The bigger question that needs to be addressed here is that of state patronage for artists ...

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Pakistan triumphed over West Indies, but should we be celebrating?

“We won, we won! I ca’t believe we won!” This was the reaction by most Pakistanis on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter after Pakistan won 3-1 against the West Indies on their own Caribbean turf. We deserve to be happy, of course. Why not? After losing 3-2 to South Africa, almost losing to cricket weakling Ireland and a flop performance in the Champions Trophy, we’ve finally won something that matters! But how well did we actually do? Positive performances Let’s stay cheerful for a bit; I don’t wish to dampen my countrymen’s joy so soon. I’ll start reflecting on the recently concluded ...

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Madiha’s unfinished ibaadat

“Why do you do this work, beti? What do you get out of going door to door telling suspicious families to vaccinate their noisy, crying kids?” Rukhsana bibi never understood why her daughter was so ready to give up her weekends for work that barely covered her bus fare. “Ma, sawab hai. If I can convince them to vaccinate their kids, it might save them so much grief later. Look at Bilquis apa next door. If someone had started this work of God earlier, she might be able to walk properly today, be as active as you or me. Plus, it makes me ...

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Asylum seekers: Why should Australia shoulder our burden?

Australia has recently come under fire for its new policy regarding asylum seekers attempting to enter the country without a visa. According to their prime minister, this policy is an attempt to ‘curtail the record number of people attempting the dangerous boat journey to claim asylum’. From now on, people arriving on refugee boats at Christmas Island will not be allowed to disembark and begin the procedure for resettlement in Australia but instead will be sent on to Papua New Guinea; a third world country, improvished with completely different asylum laws. Many of these refugees arrive from countries such as Pakistan, ...

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Batman vs Superman: Please don’t mess this up, Zach Snyder!

As compared to Marvel’s well-oiled presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), the official announcement by filmmaker Zach Snyder for a sequel to Man of Steel seemed just a little hastily put together. In the end though, the lack of refinement mattered for little, as Snyder, in one nerdgasmic move, upstaged the rival company’s presentation on their sequel to the highest grossing superhero film of all time. That’s no mean feat, especially considering that Man of Steel (MoS) earned mixed reviews, and in terms of box office exposure, earned nearly a billion dollars less than The Avengers. As you may be aware, last weekend, Zach Snyder surprisingly ...

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PEMRA, banning an ad on contraception makes no sense

From banning websites over blasphemous content to the recent ban on the advertisement for contraception, Pakistan seems to be headed in the wrong direction. The problem at hand is not just the ban, but the authority that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has assumed – the power to ban anything. As a citizen of this country, I have a few concerns. Where exactly is democracy and our right to the freedom of speech? Pemra is abusing its power here. They are banning content on the internet based on what they find inappropriate. However, this content may not actually be inappropriate but educational. Additionally, they can’t install filters to block ‘immoral’ and ...

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Thanks for nothing Mathira and Josh Condoms

It is estimated that by the year 2050, our population will be 300 million strong. Every day, a whopping 14,000 babies are born. That is 14,000 more mouths to feed, 14,000 more children to educate and 14,000 children that need to be provided for. An average woman in Pakistan has 5 to 6 babies during her lifetime. It is without a doubt that we need more awareness and easier access to contraceptives. So for me, when an advertisement that delivers a message relating to birth control airs on TV, it is an occasion of celebration; a development that should be praiseworthy. ...

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Zimmerman trial: No justice for the black man

Post civil rights movement America is still coming to grips with the rich ethnic diversity it assimilates. The courtroom pursuits led by six jury members on the State of Florida vs George Zimmerman case are deemed racially motivated by many across the US.  In 1931, nine black homeless people were wrongly charged by the ‘prejudiced’ Alabama court of allegedly raping two white ladies on a railroad tram. This triggered the black community into taking to the streets, backed by the communist party that highlighted its ephemeral presence as a third political force in the US. The court’s verdict that left ...

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A letter to Adnan Rashid: Do the Taliban have a bullet for every raised voice?

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, I am writing to you in my personal capacity, as I’m shocked by what you have written to Malala Yousufzai, my sister by religion. I am surprised that you don’t want to argue whether religion permits attacking a girl or not, and yet, you have the audacity to say that your emotions for Malala were brotherly. In Islam, and in our culture (and I suppose in your culture, too), we don’t support the brother who stands by the attacker when his sister is attacked. In her articles published in BBC Urdu, Malala only wrote about her woes after ...

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Who cares about the Royal Baby?

He’s here. Don’t pretend you don’t know who I am talking about; the entire world is one baby fart close to wearing a romper and carrying a baby rattle themselves. Photo: AFP I appreciate and welcome new life into this world, however if you make me feel like we’re literally standing at Pride Rock and waiting for a Simba, it makes me cringe. Here are my reasons for not losing my mind over the birth of a child: 361,481 babies: According to the United States Census Bureau, for 2010, 361,481 babies are born each day around the world. This means that ...

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