Stories published in August, 2013

7 reasons why Aitchison College is the best school in Pakistan

A common thread unites a disparate group of great Pakistanis, each of whom has made a mark on the nation’s landscape. What does Mr  Syed Babar Ali have in common with Adnan Sami? What links the mild-mannered Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to the fiery Akbar Bugti? The answer lies in a single educational establishment at the heart of Lahore, which has produced some of the finest gentlemen in Pakistan and to answer the question “why Aitchison College” more than any other, here are seven possible reasons: Photo: Shah Jewna’s Kodachrome Facebook page Character first: Aitchison produces the perfect gentleman An Aitchisonian exudes a ...

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Is the PTI tsunami over already?

“It’s just a blast, not the end of the world” This statement, made by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ex-information minister Shaukat Yousafzai, on a suicide attack killing 16 people shows arrogance, ignorance and lack of experience to run a government in a stressful situation. It isn’t surprising, thus, that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lost badly in the biggest ever by-elections in Pakistani history. They lost both the seats vacated by its Chairman Imran Khan with Ghulam Ahmad Bilour emerging as victor of the seat NA-1 in Peshawar and Ubaidullah Khan Shadi Khel (PML-N) of NA-71 in Mianwali. Tragic news indeed for PTI. So, how exactly did they lose? Bad decisions: ...

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When ‘playing doctor’ is more than just a children’s game

Pakistanis are known as the most versatile people on the planet. Each person thinks they have it all covered; they have enough knowledge to handle all the tasks like a pro. However, what really gets on my nerves the most is our well-read (not) fellow countrymen’s ability to diagnose a disease and prescribe the best totka or medicine to combat ‘that disease’. For me, it all began when I started getting fever every evening. Initially, I did not give it much thought but when I started losing weight gradually, some acquaintances decided to begin their diagnostic practices on me. Measles, viral fever, ...

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Ansar Abbas: The blast tore his arms but not his spirit

Pakistan has been a hotbed of terrorism and militancy for almost a decade now. In this period of time, more than 50,000 people have become victims of terrorism with the north western areas being especially vulnerable to militancy and bloodshed. Many Pakistanis see the country’s future as dark and hopeless, however, Ansar Abbas is not one of them. Syed Ansar Abbas, aged 30, is one of the many victims of terrorism that has plagued Pakistan. He lost both his arms in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan. However, despite such a grave and life-altering tragedy, he is still hopeful and ...

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An authentic Parsi feast: Rice and lentils with prawn sauce

Good food, good health and a good life – this is the profound Parsi belief. For us, good food doesn’t necessarily translate into an elaborate meal; it generally refers to a more simplistic and balanced approach to cooking. Since we Parsis like to feast often, we come up with easy-to-prepare meals that make our special occasions even more special. To get your celebration started, here is how to prepare dhandal patia (rice with lentils, topped with a spicy sauce). Rice with lentils and spicy prawn sauce Ingredients for daal (lentils): ½ kg toovar/arhar daal (yellow split peas). 2 tsp salt 1 tbsp turmeric 1 pod garlic, cleaned 1 tbsp cumin 750 ml ...

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How do you explain ‘the lota’ to a foreigner?

We miss many things when we’re living away from home – mangoes, bun kebabs, paan, the dust, the loadshedding. Okay, okay, just kidding! We miss some of these things, but we manage without them, one way or another. There is one thing you cannot do without, though, and that’s the lota. It is such an integral item of sub-continental and Muslim culture, that even a short term visitor such as the famous American designer Charles Eames couldn’t help but notice it most particularly when he visited India in 1958.  He had this to say about it: “Of all the objects we ...

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Javed Miandad or Hanif Mohammad: Who is Pakistan’s best batsman?

The Karachi Parsi Institute lies in the heart of old Karachi. It is hallowed ground, a place where history was made some fifty-four years back. On a sultry Karachi afternoon with a few thousand spectators in attendance, Hanif Mohammad crossed Sir Donald Bradman to record the then-highest first class score of 499, a record which stood for thirty-five years. The swaying trees witnessed much but nothing more precious than that nugget.   It was there, in the KPI Cricket ground where I raised the question of who is the greatest ever Pakistani batsman. In the ensuing debate the names of Zaheer, Majid, ...

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Ayub Khan and the Pakistani film industry

A leading film-maker once asserted to me that Pakistani cinema had actually thrived through the advent of Ayub Khan’s military rule. This thought is part of the broader belief amongst some quarters that the dictatorship eras have provided a certain amount of socio-economic growth and development for Pakistan. Interestingly, for film, this has never been the case. In fact, Pakistani cinema has always been built through the efforts of dedicated individuals who, despite the lack of structured support and resources, developed methods through which some sort of a film culture could develop. This culture was, in fact, undermined by the ...

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In the name of honour, a woman can be a breadwinner but cannot vote?

Women’s suffrage is the right of women to vote. In primitive societies, women have always been denied basic rights, however, the struggle to snatch what is theirs has never ceased. The movement for women’s suffrage started in France around the end of the eighteenth century and by the twenty-first century, there is no part of the world where women were barred from voting – except, of course, Pakistan. Yesterday, much was happening in the country because of the by-polls, not only socially but also politically, as women from various areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were not permitted to go out and cast their ...

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Dubai: Look beyond the glitter to see the sorrow of migrant workers

Dubai has undergone a massive transformation, from a fishing and pearl diving centre on the shores of the gulf, to an ultra-modern city-state of today in a matter of just a few decades. Modern Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions. Its architecture is entering the realms of impossible construction and the sort of life of great opulence and grandeur it offers seems almost unrivaled. Dubai wished to undertake extremely interesting and intriguing projects in the past couple of years: Dubai Land – a vast landscape of leisure; Hydropolis – an underwater hotel; The Cloud – a city built ...

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