Stories published in November, 2013

Hangu drone strike: Broken American promises, dead Pakistani citizens

Drones would be easier to understand if we were to put ourselves in the others’ shoes. Imagine you are a resident of FATA – a land which you probably feel is barely more than a colony of Pakistan. You are deprived of your most basic rights and facilities, such as education. You reside in a backward region still governed by the obsolete and inhumane Frontier Crimes Regulation, where the writ of the tribal code ‘Pukhtunwali’ is above all. It is not the easiest life, so you try to seek sanctuary at home. Things seem to be okay until a trigger-happy cowboy sitting in ...

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Far from reality: Kankar and its depiction of divorced women

When I started watching Kankar, I was happy that there was finally a Pakistani play that depicted a strong independent woman who was not willing to bend down to the whims and fancies of our patriarchal society. The central character of this Pakistani prime time serial is a brave woman named Kiran standing up to her so called “Mijaazi Khuda” (husband) to fight for her rights. Instead of the usual victimised daughters-in-law, the character is one that many women will be able to relate to and perhaps find hope or salvation in, knowing that it is alright to stand up against domestic ...

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Tehelka controversy: Can powerful editors get away with sexual harassment?

For more than a decade now, Tehelka magazine has been respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of illegal defence deals, land rights issues, gender equality and communalism. Then, what happened two weeks ago in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Goa that not only shattered the reputation of the magazine, but blacklisted it for a long time to come? Tarun Tejpal, the patron of Tehelka, is said to have sexually assaulted a female colleague during the annual THiNK fest that Tehelka organises every November. He sent an email yesterday afternoon to the Managing Editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury saying that he has ‘recused’ ...

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Tanzistan: 10 photos we are all guilty of posting on Instagram

What Twitter, did for news and communication, Instagram is now doing for the likes of budding amateur photographers, an average Joe or for those tech-savvy youngsters of our generation.  If there’s one thing that has proven its efficacy in a short span of time, it’s the social media. It holds a comparative amount of power within itself. It is instant, cheap, accessible to a large amount of people and keeps people connected. It’s an alternative portrait, the other side of the coin for when the conventional media services are so busy presenting the same boring rhetoric. Instagram has given all of us, ...

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We are sorry, Dr Abdus Salam

November 21, marks the death anniversary of Dr Abdus Salam – Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate and one of the legendary physicists of the 20th century. The list of his achievements and awards is so long that one wonders how an ordinary man who grew up in the outskirts of Jhang, a relatively small and less developed city in Punjab, could accomplish so much. Yet, Jhang, the land of the Sufi saint Sultan Bahu and the burial place of Heer and Ranjha, gave us another gem, Dr Abdus Salam. Salam truly knew what the way forward for the country was. He had a vision for the socio-economic development of third-world countries and saw development ...

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Rawalpindi clashes: Is history repeating itself?

I, vividly, recall the caption of an article contributed by Professor Arnold Toynbee in early 1950’s and reproduced by the daily Pakistan Times, which was a very popular daily of the progressive group. The caption read, “The force that made Pakistan shall unmake it – Religion.” This was most probably in context of the anti-Ahmadi movement riots in Punjab, aggravated to the extent that the ever first martial law was imposed to cover Lahore on March 6, 1953. Prior to that, a riotous mob ignited by Maulvi Abdus Sattar Niazi, had killed a Deputy Superintendent of the police, Syed Firdous Shah, who was a ...

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Concerts in Karachi: Bring back fun to this city!

I was at a Strings concert a few days ago. It was one of those fancy sit down affairs, with hideous white sofas and people taking selfies of each other to upload on social media. Bilal Maqsood began singing “mera bichra yaar” and the LCD screens behind him played a very old video from the 1990s. It was then that it hit me. Suddenly I wasn’t nodding and smiling politely to the music, but in a half built amphitheatre, I was screaming as the crème de la crème of the urban rock phenomena in Pakistan belted out their numbers. Coming up… ...

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The curious case of Mohammad Hafeez

Pakistan has had its fair share of all-rounders over the years and Mohammad Hafeez has definitely been one of them. The 33-year-old, Sargodha born all-rounder entered international cricket as an opening batsman in 2003 when he took two wickets for 41 runs during his ODI debut against Zimbabwe, becoming the winning cause at Sharjah in 2003. Hafeez was one of the many new talents recruited in the national side after Pakistan was humiliatingly knocked out of the ICC World Cup 2003 in the first round. Under the leadership of Rashid Latif, a relatively new team started its journey with the absence of superstars like ...

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The best stir-fried Chinese egg noodles you will ever have!

I love noodles of all shapes, sizes and types! Fortunately for me, there is a small restaurant near my house that serves the best stir-fried egg noodles in the world. My siblings and I can devour that dish every day for the rest of our lives and not get sick of it. Yes, it’s that good! The soft yet chewy noodles, the perfect balance of ingredients and that appetising aroma, all coupled together, make the dish worth ordering again and again. Since my family and I loved them so much, I thought I should try my hands at making them. After ...

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Into Facebook, and cyber oblivion

While sitting on the breakfast table with her family, Warda constantly kept updating her Facebook news feed on her cell phone. With each bite, she scrolled down the screen. She cherished this little virtual corner of hers, away from her family members who sat right across the table, observing her drift into cyber oblivion. Some of the posts made her smile, others transported her into deep thoughts. Throughout this period, she paid no attention to what was going on around her or what her parents were talking about. This had become a routine for her. She just didn’t feel like listening to what ...

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