Stories published in November, 2013

Ancholi blasts: When will we remember that the white in Pakistan’s flag represents minorities?

Another bomb blast; another attack on the Shia community. The blast in Ancholi, Federal B Area was so loud that my windows shook and the children woke up even though I live miles away. I shudder to think what must have happened to those near its epicentre. I have walked in those streets, bought things from the stores now destroyed, spoken to the residents in years past and played cricket with one of the dead victims. Now it has been reduced to rubble and dust, and become another statistic in the growing litany of acts of violence against a besieged minority. The true ...

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US-Afghanistan withdrawal: Can Pakistan survive without NATO money?

With September 2014 fast approaching, all eyes are fixed on Afghanistan and the announced withdrawal of the United States-led coalition forces. Although the Afghan Loya Jirga has asked President Karazai to sign the peace deal with the US, a majority of the contingents are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014. This mass military exodus from Afghanistan will shift the burden of security responsibility onto the Afghan army and police. It is hard to predict whether the Afghan forces will able to cope with the post-withdrawal security situation or not. Yet the withdrawal will surely have a negative economic impact – ...

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Mr Bilal Lakhani, Pakistan is not a dying nation

This is a rebuttal to Bilal Lakhani’s article titled “Pakistan’s Obituary”, published in The Express Tribune on November 6, 2003. The esteemed author has rendered the verdict that Pakistan had been afflicted with a fatal cancer and has now lost the battle for survival. Mr Lakhani has masterfully used analogies from the medical field to substantiate the salient premise of his article – which, in a nutshell, is that Pakistan’s lifeline has expired. Although quite eloquent with his expression, Mr Lakhani has failed to address the issue from a logical perspective. Instead, Mr Lakhani’s article is ripe with speculations and jugglery of adjectives. The article is ...

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Pakistan just doesn’t feel like home

“I have and always will live in Canada.” Well, that was the plan until two years ago when all my plans, my vision for life – everything changed suddenly and rapidly. Quite unexpectedly, I had to make new plans, which included living in Pakistan. My eyes still closed I enjoyed the crisp, cool weather and tried to decipher whether the heating was on or not. As I pulled the pillow over my face to block the sunlight, I decided that the heating had to be on. After all, November in Toronto was never cool; it was freezing. This thought led me to the far less ...

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Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks beats all his previous performances!

Based on a true story, Captain Phillips will surely bring you to the edge of your seats within the first few minutes because Tom Hanks, as always, brings credibility to his role. This time, playing the character of Captain Phillips, Hanks gives a splendid performance. A still from the movie Captain Phillips. Photo: Captain Phillips Official Facebook Page The build-up leading to the pirates taking over Captain Phillips’ cargo ship ‘Maersk Alabama’, is another moment that brings a realistic appeal that holds the viewers’ attention. Debutant Somali actors Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, and Barkhad Abdirahman have played the role of ...

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Once upon a time, there were two travellers – one Pakistani and one Indian

It was a late Friday evening in Chicago. After working the full day, I rushed to O’Hare International Airport, to catch a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on my way to Delhi. It was a short impromptu trip to meet my parents and I intended to be back within five days. The past few days had been very hectic at work and I was half hoping that I would be able to catch some sleep in the 14 hours of the first leg of my travel. Of course, an empty middle seat next to mine would be even better, ...

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An intolerant educational system made me indifferent to the death of non-Muslims

As the Twin Towers came crashing down in New York City on September 11, 2001 an eight-year-old boy remained unmoved some 7,000 miles away in Lahore as the horrifying images unfolded before him. The boy then, descended into a mode of celebration upon discovering that the towers were in ‘non-Pakistani’ territory and that a significant majority of the dead were non-Muslims.  This boy was no suicide bomber in the making. He was not the product of an extremist madrassa nor was he the son of a jihad veteran. In fact, this was a boy who was being educated at one of the finest institutions this ...

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The 7 stages of grief a Pakistani cricket fan experiences

It’s not easy to be a Pakistan cricket fan, really. Now that the country is deprived of home games, the team is always on tour, which consequently increases the challenge to perform and win games. Simultaneously, supporters have to tune into live telecasts at odd hours of the day – sometimes dawn, sometimes midnight. The fans continue to do so, but off late, as a result of the team’s dismal displays, high blood pressure might be on its way to becoming a common illness in the nation. Pakistan has never quite been a consistent outfit, but lately, failures have considerably outnumbered ...

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IMDb ban: Internet Movie DataBase or Internet and Media Data Ban?

Pakistan has been suffering at the hands of perception and media-related matters being blown out of proportion, falling victim to the same. First it was Facebook, because of a pastor and his anti-Islamic intentions. When that phased over, it was followed up by the Benghazi attack and the movie that was the cause of a tragic diplomatic mission episode, unwarranted frustrations being vented in the form of riots, stone pelting and much worse across Pakistan and eventually a ban on YouTube that has lasted over 400 days. While the above two bans had the undercurrent of both inciting religious violence, users ...

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President Obama: The only Nobel Laureate guilty of war crimes

It is a champion of human rights, it is a champion of science and technology. It is a champion of arts and humanities. It is the forerunner in world economy and is a central figure in the global power politics that shape the future of nations. It is also guilty of more war crimes than you can imagine. It is probably the only country in the world that lives and breathes paradoxes. It witnessed its people occupying Wall Street but at the same time, keeps denying the Geneva Convention and the International Court of Crimes. When it comes to its own evils ...

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