Stories published in September, 2013

For people living in Malakand, every drop of water is a struggle

Imagine a place that has contrasting images of lush green landscapes with rugged mountains as a backdrop and multiple rivers flowing through its land, yet its people have little or no water to drink. Such is the life of the people in, the infrastructurally impaired but visually appealing, Malakand District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The district holds ample importance geographically, as it strategically acts as a gateway to Swat, Dir, Chitral and Bajaur from Peshawar. Keeping its importance in mind, many development projects have been discussed, planned and debated upon but few have seen the light of day up till now. For the ...

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Why does Pakistan need 3G?

The Supreme Court’s intervention in the availability of 3G technology in Pakistan should be received with a welcoming reaction, as the country is in dire need for high-speed mobile (portable) broadband connectivity. Over the past few months, more than 160 countries have launched 3G services and the number of active 3G subscriptions surpassed one billion. Even in a small and poor country like Kiribati – situated in the middle of the Pacific with hardly any resources and considered to be one of the least developed countries of the world – 3G systems are being introduced to the public. Countries from Australia ...

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Remembering Ashfaq Ahmed: Through his stories, he will live forever in our hearts

On September 7, 2004, while sitting in my office and doing my routine work, I received a call from a close friend. Without the usual ‘Salam dua’ he exclaimed, “Ashfaq sahib is no more; just got the news.” It was a short sentence, but it had many aspects attached to it. The feeling of a great loss, sweet memories of so many stories, dramas and plays, of colourful travelogues, funny incidents, thought-provoking quotes of Sufis and other baabay (mystics); nostalgic recollections of a life well spent, and fully lived. So much came to mind and passed like a breeze, leaving me numb and motionless ...

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Stuffed chicken breast with mushroom sauce: Elaborate looking but easy cooking!

This recipe is not only easy to make but serves as the perfect main course for a nice sit down evening with your friends and family. Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts One bundle of spinach leaves 1tsp garlic paste (for the stuffing) Soy sauce for marinating Mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced) For the sauce: A handful of mushrooms 1 packet cream Corn-flour Freshly ground pepper 1 small onion chopped Method: Flatten the chicken breasts with a meat mallet. Rub with soy sauce, garlic paste, salt and black pepper. Photo: Nida Waqar Blanch* the spinach leaves and drain. Add salt, red chilli flakes and garlic paste. *Blanching is a method in which you add vegetables to ...

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Was the creation of Pakistan a mistake?

Over the years, I have come across many people who believed that Pakistan should never have been created. Keeping today’s lawlessness and corruption in mind, I often feel that they are indeed right. However, amongst the many reasons given to me by such individuals for Pakistan being a mistake, one of the most prominent is that had India not been divided then, Muslims today would have been the largest religious group in the subcontinent. Such statements are misguiding as these people are misinformed. Currently the population of Muslims in the subcontinent is 510 million, with roughly 180 million each in Pakistan and ...

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Our heartbreaking hockey history: Do we have a future to look forward to?

The heartbreaking Friday of last week has passed with the most shocking news of the Pakistan Hockey history. The upcoming World Cup will be played without Pakistan – the country that conceived it in 1971 – for the first time in history. A lot has been said and will be said on the defeat at the hands of South Korea in the Asia Cup, which shut the door on Pakistan, but was that the only chance Pakistan had to qualify for the mega event? Absolutely not, as the team had failed to impress in the qualifiers too. The national hockey team ...

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My grandfather died for Pakistan: Celebrating a true hero from 1965

My grandfather fell in the war of 1965 and was awarded the Tamgha-e-Jurat for his service to Pakistan. This medal, bestowed upon my grandfather is a great source of inspiration for me. It invigorates me whenever I see it and excitement and hope overwhelm me even when I feel dejected. Today my patriotism comes from this medal and all the stories it can tell related to it. Now, over 45 years have passed since my family received this great honour, and I am going to tell you about the sacrifices my grandfather made for this beautiful country. My grandfather, ALD Ghulam Mehdi Khan ...

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The day the Great Army split: When Hindus and Muslims were one

It’s hard to imagine that the brave soldiers of the India and Pakistan army who have been baying for each other’s blood since 1947 had earlier been comrades; that they are the same young men who once spilled their blood together in many a battle they fought flanked by their brothers and in the course of World War II in Italy, the Western Desert and Burma. These are the same brave-hearts who fought together almost incessantly along the passes and peaks of the Frontier, at Landi Kotal, and up and down the Khyber while their British colleagues paraded and drilled. The Pathans ...

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Why you should pick a college away from home

Unlike the West, where living away from home is a norm, a large part of our traditional Pakistani society is new and rather averse to this notion. Most parents are overprotective by nature and are unwilling to disrupt the family dynamics. Thus, they are reluctant to even consider the possibility of sending their children away from home. Sure, attending college in one’s hometown is an experience in itself.  However, I think that the purpose of college education entails character-building, ability to deal with copious amount of pressure and exploring the person that one is or wishes to be. Dorm-life, in ...

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Have the British Council and CIE become moneymaking machines?

Recently, the British Council of Pakistan dropped an email saying that I was required to visit its office to collect my Cambridge International Examination (CIE) certificate. As the scheduled time clashed with my university hours, it was almost impossible for me to go myself. However, when my mom called the office to ask if she could come and collect it for me instead, the person answering the phone said, “No. Your daughter will have to come and collect it herself. We need her identification card. We are not dispatching the results this year.” I had no choice; I direly needed my ...

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