Stories published in August, 2013

Making sense of the Musharraf indictment

On Monday, Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation. He spoke of staggering challenges: a paralysed economy, a crippling energy crisis, the existential threat of terrorism.  The implication: there’s much to be done, with not a moment to lose. The very next day, Pervez Musharraf was charged in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Is this unprecedented indictment of a former army chief a resounding victory for democracy in Pakistan? Absolutely. But is it also an ill-timed move that smacks of revenge politics? Certainly. What else to make of the fact that the leader of a cash-starved, energy-deprived, militancy-choked, flood-ravaged nation has chosen ...

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You and your cursed tongue

“Rashid, nooooo! Stop! For the love of the Almighty, stop!” My incessant pleas fell on deaf ears. By now my voice had transformed from a high-pitched wail to a dry, hoarse moan, stuck deep in my throat. I watched helplessly as he picked up that shovel, desperately trying to free myself of the fetters. I could see his thick-shouldered frame shifting laboriously from the mound of earth to the deep grave-like trench dug in the ground. “I told you, your tongue was cursed!” He grumbled, his voice dripping with frustration. I had to do something, but what? I tried to wrestle my way out ...

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Living with Misophonia

‘What’s that awful ticking noise?’ ‘Who’s tapping their feet on the floor?’ ‘Why can’t people eat without making that annoying chomping sound?’ ‘You sip your tea, you don’t slurp it.’ ‘Make it stop. Make it STOP!’ ‘I’ll punch that person so hard. I’ll kill him.’ ‘I need to run. Run. Now!’ Too intense for you? Well, this is what a person suffering from Misophonia is thinking nearly all the time. The question arises, but why? And what is this disease? Misophonia is a neurological disorder, in which a person feels anxiety, and even rage in response to certain sounds, which may be loud or soft, and are very common. It is also termed ...

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Monsters University: As good as the original, if not better!

After waiting for a good 12 years, Pixar fans are now able to experience the magic of ‘monsters’ on the big screen. These aren’t just any ordinary monsters; this is Monsters University – the prequel to Monsters Inc. (2001). The movie begins with Michael, ‘Mike’ Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P ‘Sulley’ Sullivan (John Goodman) getting admission at the Monsters University’s Scarer Program. They both dream of becoming the best scarers of the Monster world. Although Monsters Inc. showed Mike and Sulley as best friends and the leading scarers, their university days aren’t as good; Mike is a hard working ...

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Dear Prime Minister, please make the right decision on the YouTube ban

Dear Mr Prime Minister, Congratulations on taking the office for a coveted third time. The country has once again reposed its trust on you for steering it through these unquestionably trying times. Your government faces a plethora of challenges. Still, I would like to apprise you of another one that also requires your imminent attention. Now this might come as news to you, Mr Prime Minister, but in the last couple of years, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have taken the world by storm. Wikipedia defines a MOOC as: “A massive open online course is an online course aimed at large scale interactive participation and ...

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Allama Muhammad Asad: The first citizen of Pakistan

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is an oft repeated quote in relation to our current abysmal situation and it reminds us to look back and analyse our mistakes. Rather than a rhetorical piece about politics, I would like to write about an unsung hero, Allama Muhammad Asad and his ideas. He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947. The Government of Pakistan appointed Allama Asad to head the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in ...

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Five things Egypt can learn from Pakistan

Discussions over Egypt’s future have almost become a coffee table routine for many across the globe. Shock, grief and anger over the violence and death, combined with the fear of a looming civil conflict, has paved way for passionate discussions over the ‘legitimacy’ and ‘actions’ of various political entities in the most populous Arab state. As Egypt copes with a changing political climate and sluggishly works its way towards democracy, one wonders what external solutions can be offered to help end this unrest and instability. If Egypt wants to look at a fellow Islamic country for guidance, it should look no ...

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Sindh local government elections: Bureaucrats have no place in politics

The upcoming local government elections could provide an opportunity to address issues of governance in Karachi provided the local governance system is strengthened to compensate for the division of the province into a rural and an urban part.  A discussion on these issues is normally framed in terms of the political parties involved. Unless some structural issues are addressed, a change in political parties would only be a change at the margin. One of the problems with Sindh is that it is the only province in Pakistan where a distinction has been made between urban and rural areas. An unintended consequence of this is that ...

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How the corporate sector turned me into a hypocrite

To become a part of the corporate world had always been my dream, and ever since my graduation, it had become my vision to enter this grand realm and use my knowledge to cater to its needs. However, it did not take me long to understand that my vision was better as a dream than as a reality, and these are the reasons why. As planned, a month after my graduation, I joined a renowned multinational to kick-start my career. Everything was looking glorious to me, as if it could not possibly get any better than this – the office, the environment, ...

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I am Bradley Manning and you should be too!

As the sentencing hearing gets underway for Bradley Manning, who faces 136 years in prison after being convicted of 20 charges including espionage and theft, it’s hard not to feel that a travesty of justice is taking place. Here is a person who had made a commitment to serve his country and was put in a difficult situation of deciding whether to follow protocol and turn a blind eye to abuses and war crimes being carried out in his country’s name, or to do the morally right thing and bring the atrocities to light. Bradley Manning chose to follow his conscience, knowing ...

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