Stories published in August, 2013

What 17-year-old artist Maliha Abbas has accomplished

Art is what gives a society its soul. It creates a shared communal feeling and transcends borders, classes and religions. If art gives society its soul, it’s the artists who give art its soul. The way they interpret things and put them on the canvas encourages discussion and forces us to reflect. Maliha Abbas Abidi is one such artist whose works inspire reflection. Not only that, she also wants to promote Pakistani culture to the world, teach art to students and be an artist, without entering an art academy. She also recently gave a TEDx talk in Karachi. And she is ...

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Dear CNN: Lailat al-Qadr is not a ‘security risk’

I was putting my shoes on, leaving for my evening prayers, when my phone buzzed with a text: “Saw a CNN byline linking ‘Night of Power’ to the recent terror alert. Talk of sensationalism.” You know how it goes. The story was largely accurate – prompted by fears of a terrorist attack, in an unprecedented move on Sunday; the US closed 21 embassies  across the Middle East and North Africa. Add a strategically implanted – and inaccurate -analysis by CNN’s Peter Bergen, who alleged that Sunday was the “Night of Destiny”, making it an auspicious occasion for al-Qaeda extremists to die. Social media dies for ...

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Triggering sectarian violence in Kashmir won’t help, India, we still want freedom!

The wave of sectarian clashes struck occupied Kashmir in the already troubled times when many were mourning the martyrs of the Ramban killings. It was a few weeks ago when news from occupied Kashmir started flooding my Twitter and Facebook newsfeed. Many people protesting against the desecration of the Holy Quran and a local mosque by Indian Forces in Budgam lost their lives. This incident took place when some unarmed protesters were chanting slogans against the Indian Army; the crowd was showered with bullets that silenced them. While the grief stricken families of the deceased were still wiping their tears, the ...

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Adoption, it appears, is for TV ratings

It takes a long time to come to terms with some diagnoses, and the fact that you may be unable to conceive a child is one of them, but there is a solution: adoption. It offers couples the opportunity to raise and love a child, and give the child a loving home and family that it did not possess. And yet, even though adoption generally turns out to be a mutually happy solution, it is a serious process, and an emotional one; the journey is not easy. Prospective parents looking to adopt a child are vetted in a notoriously rigorous manner. Their ages, ...

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When the song ‘Get Lucky’ is inappropriate only in Ramazan

Around a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while weaving my way through Pindi’s traffic en route to work, an interesting development caught me by surprise. The radio jockey announced the song ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk had been requested but that some listeners called in demanding that it not be played because the lyrics were ‘too inappropriate to be heard during Ramazan.’ The song, which still remains a hit among youth the world over, was not played. For starters, the logic behind the decision was baffling. Ever since the song was released some two months ago, it ...

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Charles Bennett: The one and only ‘gora’ cricket umpire in Pakistan!

“Howzat!” yells an energetic and enthusiastic young handicapped bowler, looking at an American umpire, at a friendly cricket match played at a local ground in Islamabad this summer. The American umpire turns down his caught-behind appeal and the bowler turns back to prepare to complete his eighth over of the Twenty20 match. “It was very close, good call by the umpire,” whispers a fellow batsman in the ear of his colleague in the dressing room. The friendly match ends and both players find themselves surprisingly seeking cricket tips from the American umpire. The man I’m talking about is Charles Bennett, known as “Chuck” among his fellow ...

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#ShiaGenocide is a reality, not just a ‘fab’ Twitter trend

Another sectarian attack in Parachinar. The infamous hashtag Shia Genocide, however, only lasts momentarily on Twitter before being taken over by more worthy trends like #replaceMovieNameWithSharamnak. A thoughtless comment by a random person inspired this post. “Why isn’t it called #SunniGenocide when people die in Parachinar?” Firstly, let me explain that genocide isn’t claimed by the Shias because it’s the fab trend these days, just in case someone was confused between gadget hype and reality. Second, genocide isn’t an award or laureate we’d all like to place in a glass showcase. It is the epitome of inhumanity which rages on caused by the efficient inaction ...

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The day I was stranded in Hyderabad

Feeling like a rat surrounded by a dozen cats, I stood there on an empty street near the famous Rani Bagh, Hyderabad. I dreaded the moment I had decided to step out of the Daewoo bus. “Aagay Latifabad ka stop hay”, one of the passengers announced. (The Latifabad’s stop is ahead.) A few men started moving out of the bus, and being an amateur, I followed. I thought I had to move out of the bus at this point rather than at the Daewoo bus terminal which was ahead. The only thing I was sure of was that the Daewoo bus doesn’t ...

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Drugged infants on the streets of Pakistan

I’ve seen newborns on drugs and so have you. Unfortunately, so has every MPA, MNA, human rights activist, police official, mother and father. Recently, a woman holding a newborn came to my window to beg. I struck her a deal — Rs5,000 on the spot if she could wake the child up for me. Immediately, she went about trying to wake the baby she was carrying. I waited, knowing all along that the child wouldn’t wake up but desperately hoped he would. As expected, the child seemed lifeless. She sheepishly said, “You know, he’s sleeping on a full stomach. He will wake ...

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Chicken Liver Pâté: Dip it, spread it – just enjoy it!

We have been eating sautéed, grilled or fried chicken liver with different spices for ages, now it’s time to try it in a different way. Yes the French way, in the form of a creamy, smooth delicately herb flavoured liver pâté. Chicken liver pâté is a high class spread prepared by combining chicken liver cooked with onions, garlic, butter/olive oil and a range of other flavours, herbs and then finely chopping or pureeing the mixed ingredients. The mixture is then refrigerated so it can develop its full taste in at least two to three days. It is usually used for appetisers, such as, a ...

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