Stories published in August, 2013

The Burka Avenger versus liberal patriarchy

If you live under a rock and are still unaware of the phenomenon that is the “Burka Avenger”, please check it out. The cartoon series is the story of a teacher, Jiya, who dons a stylised burka costume, becoming a super-heroine. Using her martial arts skills, the Burka Avenger fights evil, mainly to defend her students and the school she teaches at, from patriarchal goons who want to shut the school down. Not only was I impressed by the message of education for boys and girls, what pleasantly surprised me was that her choice of super-heroine costume – a black burka ...

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From Egypt to Pakistan: Why are we infatuated by the Army?

After a halting transition to democracy that was hailed around the globe, Egypt is once again under military rule. The generals claim to have intervened in the national interest, citing the massive crowds who filled the streets of Cairo to protest the Islamist rule of the democratically-elected president.  This coup, coming just a year after the Arab Spring, raises a fundamental question that applies not just to Egypt but also to Pakistan. How do armies legitimise their coups? Despite their differences, there are striking parallels between coups in Egypt and Pakistan. Take the case of Pakistan: The army’s maiden coup in 1958 by general ...

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Soliloquy of an on-looker

The haze slowly cleared out and I regained consciousness. As I became aware of my existence, I gradually began to recall what had brought me here in the first place. My mind felt like an old desktop computer that had just been switched on – slow, dusty and rusty.  Words. Sounds. Noise. I began to recall a noise of some sort – indistinct, messy, and confusing. It sounded like several FM radio stations merged into one, with none of them being tuned on to the right frequency. Ouch, my ears hurt. Whatever the source of the sounds was, I concluded that it was from a ...

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So, you want to be a doctor? Think again!

Dear prospective, to-be doctors, this article contains stuff you may consider sadistic or full of spoilers. Read at your own discretion. Don’t say you were not warned! Let’s observe some reasons why your medical ambitions might turn out to be more challenging than you initially thought they would be. No pressure, of course. You will never, ever stop studying You will have to appear in approximately about 15,000 examinations. Yes, it’s true, and mind you, more keep adding up on a daily basis in case you ever think you are close to getting done. It only makes sense then that books and wards are going to ...

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When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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Razzaq deserves another chance

Soon after their dismal performance at the ICC Champions Trophy, many senior cricketers were dropped and hence, they embarked on a mission to try and make a comeback to the national team. The likes of former captain Shoaib Malik and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, instantly turned to their respective departments at the Ramazan Twenty20 events to win back the selectors’ faith. Although these players are capable of shining in the domestic circuit, I strongly feel they shouldn’t return to the national team until and unless they show outstanding performances with consistency. Their comebacks in the past were based on a single season of ...

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