Stories published in September, 2013

They were just children. What did they do to deserve this?

The twin bombs that exploded on Sunday at All Saints Church, Peshawar, killed more than 90 people, injured nearly 150 others, and emotionally scarred thousands more. Investigations are under way while recovery and treatment has begun for the injured and their families. For some, healing will be swift while others may take small steps over months, maybe even years. Many more might never fully recover from this tragedy. The most heartbreaking of this and such tragedies is the number of young lives lost in these attacks. Since the blast took place on Sunday, the All Saints Church was packed to the ...

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Dear Imran Khan, where were you when my church was attacked?

Dear Khan Sahib, My name is Fouzia*. Other important facets of my identity are that I am a Christian school teacher, born in Peshawar and I incidentally happen to be a Pakistani. To a politician, the fact that I am Pakistani should be most the important, yet in a country ravaged by militancy, where religious extremists have usurped the limited secular space, my faith perhaps carries more weight and authenticity. After this brief introduction, Mr Imran Khan, I want to tell you my story, but I must warn you in the beginning that it is a tale of anguish and pain. ...

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Eat healthy: You are unfit because you choose to be

Over the past couple of decades, there has been a phenomenal revolution in what, how and where we eat. The massive invasion of the fast food industry, mushrooming of restaurants, dhabas and cafes all over the country, and the import of machinery like massive friers, grills and freezers are among some major factors that have redefined our food choices and eating habits. In the name of convenience and time-saving, we end up consuming a loathsome range of food that are downright hazardous to our health. These eateries, machineries, packaged, bottled and refrigerated products topped with the convenience of home delivery ...

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A child’s broken dreams

A smile flickered on her lips as the fluttering butterfly evaded her for the umpteenth time and became a fugitive in the darkening skies. She cried out to her mother excitedly, “I nearly caught her!” To which her mother, Nargis, replied as always, “How many times have I told you not to tease such innocent souls, Ghulab Jahan? They will curse you and then you will never be able to become a doctor.” Ghulab Jahan, as pretty as her name implied, chuckled at the thought of a tongue-less creature complaining to God about her. Ghulab was an anachronism in many ways; she belonged neither to ...

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La Tomatina in Karachi and the power of social media

September 14, 2013 was another day in Pakistan where the rich shamelessly failed to take in to account the plight of the poor. On this day, some 3,000 people got together and pelted each other with tomatoes. “La Tomatina, Lahore” was celebrated at a Bedian farmhouse, shamelessly organised to perfection by HK Events. One wonders if the people who attended this ghastly display ever thought about the other 50% of Pakistan – the ones suffering from food insecurity and those who go to bed on an empty stomach everyday. While the sheer number of people who are starving in Pakistan may catch many by surprise, ...

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I am sorry Convent of Jesus and Mary, for I have failed you

I am a graduate of the Convent of Jesus and Mary (CJM), Lahore – a sprawling campus situated off the Mall Road. Every day at 8:00 am sharp, we were made to stand at arm’s length from each other in lines as straight as they could be. We would first make these rows outside the intimidating assembly hall, and then one by one we would march in, making sure our backs were straight and shoulders pushed back. If anyone dared to whisper or fidget, a vigilant nun would drag that girl out and make her stand in a separate ...

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Is fast-bowling a fading art?

Ever since I started following the game of cricket, the aspect that has fascinated me the most is the sight of a genuinely quick paceman running down from his bowling mark to rattle a batsman. I still remember the day I entered a cricket stadium for the very first time – early 2000 – only to witness the run-up of the legendary Waqar Younis. Although I observed the craftsmanship of Wasim Akram as well, the swift yet smooth approach of the other ‘W’ mesmerised me the most. I used to be hooked to the television screen just to see Waqar Younis running ...

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Your cowardice will not deter me, I am Christian and I am Pakistani

The night before It was a beautiful night. We had all gathered to celebrate my cousin’s birthday in Kohati. The party went on till late night and at around 12:30 am, on my way back home, I marvelled at how peaceful Kohati bazaar looked. The city was sleeping, the shutters were down and with minimum traffic on the roads, the walk back home seemed so lovely knowing that the core of Peshawar city was so beautifully serene. Not even in my wildest dreams had I anticipated that the very next morning would smell like the blood and tears of hundreds. The mass murder It was a fine ...

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Pakistan’s official website is an embarrassment!

I tried to be objective; I tried to look at it neutrally, but let’s face it, Pakistan’s official government website is a disgrace. Building a website isn’t really very expensive and we have plenty of talent here, then why is the website in shambles? Well, I think the main reason is because incompetent politicised government employees made it and they are not bothered to put forth something that represents the brilliance Pakistan is capable of. Let me walk you through what happens as you hit www.pakistan.gov.pk  The speed The first thing that hits you is the speed of our official website; the website’s load-time is ...

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Gujrat riots: Modi should learn from Gandhi

Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi, who has been crowned as the prime ministerial candidate of India’s main opposition Bhartiya Janta Party, must have had many a sleepless night since 2002. A shocking incident in the town of Godhra in which 59 Hindus, mostly pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, were burnt alive by a Muslim mob in a well planned conspiracy, triggered anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat which left more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead right under the nose of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. True, so far no evidence suggesting his direct involvement in the riots has been found and he was given ...

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