Stories published in September, 2013

Sense prevails over Syria, finally

It is commonplace to find Russia and America at odds with one another, especially in the recent past, from the Edward Snowden saga to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, relations between the two have generally been cold. In contrast, however, the latest development in relations between the two has been an amiable one, when Obama saw eye-to-eye with Putin’s proposal of disposing of Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. The congress vote-in, which Obama was tipped to face stiff resistance on, has been put on hold to give diplomacy a chance. Incidentally, it seems that America ...

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Banning the niqab in Britain: How very Taliban of you

A recent ban on the niqab, introduced at the Birmingham metropolitan college, has sparked huge controversy among the communities in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom. Over 9,000 students across the UK signed a petition against this decision made by the college administration. While a large number of political activists have condemned the decision, College Principal, Dame Christine Braddock DBE, described the ban as promoting robust equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She further stated that she is committed to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming learning environment whilst studying there — a truly ‘British way of life’. I ...

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Doctors vs pharmacists: Selling drugs gets no respect in Pakistan

Ever watched a Bollywood song and wondered why the back-up dancers, who are as pretty as the main actor/actress, fail to catch a glimpse of the limelight? There are some people who feel like this all the time. You may recognise them as the people behind the counter at a medical store — I like to refer to them as ‘pharmacists’. Fact: they study a crucial, nerve-racking five-year course and earn a doctorate of pharmacy, yet they are not recognised on professional platforms. I believe most of them are tired of this crazy roller coaster, where they are asked several ...

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Things have gone too far on Facebook confession pages

“Anum, it was so gross. Nobody had noticed my hair before, but now I feel like the whole world is ogling my scalp,” Zara winced and clutched the receiver so tightly that her nail beds turned white. “Err, no. Why don’t you forget about that stupid confession? Just keep your head high,” I paused, hunting for more motivating words to throw at her end. “We all know you don’t wear a– a wig” I gulped. “Of course, I don’t. The confession on SMC Confessions — our university’s Facebook page — said ‘Today, I finally saw Zara of first year adjust her wig ...

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Give me pain! Hot, spicy, yummy Asian pain!

As an expatriate, the memory of the most routine things back home can sometimes bring out the most intense feelings of nostalgia in me. One of these memories is that of eating out at a cornucopia of restaurants, eateries and street vendors in Karachi.  From Bundu Khan’s lip-smacking chicken tikkas, to the appetising Student Biryani, to the delectable kebab rolls at Khadda market, the list is never ending. Spicy seekh kebabs used in kebab rolls. PHOTO: Facebook page Kabab Rolls One dish in particular brings back a flood of mouth-watering memories, and that is nihari. It originated from the legendary royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire ...

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Save our doctors at Civil Hospital Karachi!

One morning I decided to make a surprise visit to the Civil Hospital Karachi. The motive of my visit was to get an idea of the current security arrangements, so that violence in hospital could be prevented and controlled. Unfortunately, this visit uncovered a set of serious security breaches. •   There was an absence of security personnel on almost all the entrances and exits of the hospital. •   The main gate leading to the entrance of the Emergency Department was being handled by a few unarmed security guards who were merely opening and closing gates. •   The Police chowki (office) was empty and it appeared ...

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Of justice in India and Pakistan: Shahzeb Khan and Nirbhaya

There’s a quote by George Bernard Shaw that I love throwing around when I’m trying to prove a point – most points, actually. Most things I want to say or do are defined within these few short lines as said by one of the most iconic playwrights of the past century; “There are two kinds of men in the world. The reasonable man and the unreasonable man. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” In India The courts of India, while understanding that the people ...

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US Open 2013: Is this the end of Roger Federer?

The US Open that culminated in Rafael Nadal’s victory this past Monday was a landmark event in recent tennis history. Firstly, it provided the venue for the evident demise of the tennis god, Roger Federer, who ruled these courts for so long. And secondly, it provided a platform for Rafael Nadal, hitherto known usually as the King of Clay, to extend his mastery over hard courts in earnestness and lay his claim to the title of the Greatest of all Time (GOAT). For Federer fans (myself included), it has been a most painful experience watching the Swiss maestro lose his aura and much ...

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Brazil: More than just soccer, samba and sandy beaches!

Soccer, samba, and sandy beaches – I hate to admit it, but those were the three images that came to my mind when I was first informed about my move to the world’s largest Lusophone nation. Alongside many other individuals, I knew little about Brazil itself apart from the hype surrounding its football, economy, and beaches. That is probably what made my fifth country of residence all the more appealing to me – my home for over a year now. Life in Brazil can almost be classified as an art. The appealing climate does have an instant relaxing effect on ...

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Is a ‘science student’ smarter than an ‘arts student’?

As soon as we step into the dreaded phase of our education where we must choose which subjects we want to pursue for our higher studies, arts and science are pretty much the basic options to choose from and these practically shape our academic future. I remember when I passed the eighth grade, I was content because I had been able to achieve the target score required to be able to choose science for my matriculation; I was ecstatic, my interest in science being secondary. It wasn’t just me, all my class fellows worked hard so that they could be promoted to the ‘science’ ...

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