Stories published in July, 2013

Swat Jirga: For the women, by the women – but will it work?

The best environment for terrorism is ‘poverty, injustice, racism, and deprivation of human rights,’ factors identified by Malala at the UN on June 12. Pakistan, where terrorism is a major force, has them all. Malala, a living example should know, and obviously her defiance emboldened other women, since all four factors are rampant in Malala’s district, Swat, where the men are known for male chauvinism, like a dragon is also known as a worm. Tahira, married at 12, suffered marital abuse. There’s nothing unusual about either the child marriage or the abuse, they happen all the time. One day her husband ...

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The coal and energy crisis

A million dollar question today: why are Pakistanis facing prolonged load-shedding when there is no difference between the demand and supply at 22,797 MW, according to the Pakistan Energy Year Book, 2012? The share of oil and gas in power generation is 64.2 per cent while hydel is at 29.9 per cent and 35.2 per cent of the total electricity is generated from imported furnace and diesel oil. Natural gas contributes 29 per cent to power generation and Pakistan is currently producing 4.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas while the demand is six bcfd. This non-renewable source of ...

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And in this act of balance, we learn to live

These are called windmills. Windmills of my mind going round and round…. all the time. Did I just rhyme? I think I did. I don’t know why but whenever I sit to pen down my thoughts in prose, lines start rhyming. Maybe, I am a poet then and not a prose writer. So for next time, but not this time, I’ll try a hand on poetry and see how much I struggle with the balancing act. Balancing the verses I mean. Well, it shouldn’t come hard as after all what have I done all my life?… juggled with balancing. As a beginner ...

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Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies: Last chance to set things right

The upcoming tour of West Indies may not seem as exciting as some of the other series we’ve played recently but for Pakistan this tour is of utmost importance. When the Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) himself says that Pakistani cricket is going through its lowest point, one has to sit up and make note. With no team ready to visit our country, endless spot fixing scandals and banned cricketers,  a lack of quality players and a string of poor performances has left questions unanswered for Pakistani cricket fans. Teamwork – where we consistently fall short Teams move forward because of two main ...

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An open letter to Lee’s killers. This is not what Islam taught us

Dear Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, This is an open letter to both of you on behalf of Muslims who are disgusted at your barbaric actions at Woolwich. And also because you both tried to justify what you did under the name of Islam. It has been over 50 days since you butchered and beheaded an innocent man in the streets of London. Today was Lee Rigby’s funeral and like many people killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he left behind a wife and young child. Lee was collecting money for a charity that helps injured soldiers and you killed him in broad daylight. Mr ...

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MQM: The International phenomenon

Let’s discuss what took place early Thursday morning on BBC’s Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman. The show reported that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain was being investigated for money laundering worth at least 400,000 pounds as well as for provocation of violence, the penalties of which are 14 years’ incarceration and life imprisonment respectively. The news report by Owen Bennett Jones featured video clips of Hussain making statements mentioning ‘body bags’ and ‘abdomens’. It also showed an outline of the assassination of MQM leader Imran Farooq and a number of interviews including a former MQM member, Naim Ahmed, and a former ...

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Malala Yousufzai and the league of extraordinary Pakistani women

There was the face of one woman in that room that could quash all the misgivings that one has about Malala Yousufzai’s “backstory”. No, it wasn’t 16-year-old Malala’s herself, it was her mother’s. Minutes after Malala began her magnificent speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Friday, the camera cut to the face of her proud parents. Her father smiled like a man who had won a battle he had fought his entire life. Her mother, in her plain white dupatta and light green shalwar Kameez, sat next to him wiping a tear that fell out of her right eye. Since ...

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Ghanchakkar versus Raanjhanaa: Is our censor board confused?

It’s not every day that we, journalists, get enough time to spare for a day out at the movies. So, when I finally got the opportunity to watch Ghanchakkar (not really top on my list) with a group of friends, there existed a moment of sheer excitement, more so because after weeks of working tirelessly, I could just relax on the business-class lookalike luxury chairs at Cinepax’s Gold Screen hall and enjoy a movie to its fullest. Now, for those of you who haven’t watched the movie yet, Ghanchakkar is a far cry from Bollywood’s masala, borrowed-from-the-south potboilers like Dabangg ...

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A birthday that Quetta will never forget!

July 5, 2013, marked my 24th birthday and I decided to spend the day doing something different. Inspired by a video I found online, I decided that I would spend the day doing random acts of kindness. So my friends and I spent the entire day looking for ways to be helpful to society. We went to the hospital, to our university and finally took to the streets to do something constructive with the time we had. It was during this day that I realised what a beautiful city my dear Quetta is. The satisfaction I got from just doing simple things is ...

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A broken pen, a sweeper’s respect and my shame

It was a normal day at college. While two of my friends were playing table tennis, another friend and I were trying to disrupt their game by constantly throwing objects their way. This was routine for us – nothing unusual. On this particular day, we started by throwing Nestle water bottle caps at them, then pen caps and when we ran out of the smaller pieces, we threw pens their way. Since we had a poor aim, these items were scattered all over the lobby but we didn’t pay much attention to the mess we had made and continued with ...

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