Stories published in February, 2014

The Korean borders: Another version of Wagah border?

I have always wanted to go to Imjingak, located near Seoul, in South Korea. Being a media professional, my wish was granted when I got to travel to the Freedom Bridge for a news feature I was doing for Madang Live. Having woken up to rain, we made it to Imjingak where the Freedom Bridge lies. Photography was prohibited, except where we were given explicit permission. We were not allowed to point at anyone or anything. If a North Korean waved at us, we were not allowed to wave back. Freedom Bridge, with its striking ribbons conveying the hope of millions for ...

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You can’t care about animal rights on an empty stomach

Rehmu was on his last tour of the day, carrying bricks from one point to another on his donkey cart. He needed to do at least five such tours a day in order to earn enough for a sufficient meal for him and his family. But today he could only do four and he knew that it would not be enough for his family. He was thinking that either he or his wife would have to pretend not to be hungry that night. He had known since that morning that he would not have enough work today. His mind had ...

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Money talks while cricket walks

Roll out the red carpet as the Indians walk in. There was a time before the 2008 Indian Premier League (IPL), when cricket was sought as a gentleman’s game, played with pride. Of course, county cricket had been established for years before that but it never quite had the Bollywood opening ceremonies and attention that the IPL came to gain. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under Lalit Modi developed and executed what was presumably one of the most revolutionary concepts in cricketing history. This is a sport of traditions, so establishing a league and throwing all the big names in one arena was quite ...

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Does the Pakistani media love to hate the US?

Last week our media showed a shocking side of our ‘friend country’, claiming that the US authorities were going to shift a comatose patient, Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, from a US hospital to Pakistan without ensuring that his condition was stable enough. To me this seems like yet another case of ‘yellow journalism’ because the fact of the matter is that Shahzaib Bajwa, who had been spending a semester in an exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, has been comatose in a Minnesota hospital since his accident last November. According to Shahzaib’s elder brother, the Essentia Health-St Mary’s Medical Centre has already provided ...

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Highway: So much more than a love story

I have the tendency to overanalyse an Imtiaz Ali film. I kept looking for Heer Ranjha in Rockstar and derived multiple interpretations from the coffee mugs of Love Aaj Kal. And then came Highway – an invitation card to find layer upon layer of symbols. Although a film that sounds like just another love story based on Stockholm Syndrome from a distance, Highway has a lot more to offer when you come closer; a lot more substance, a lot more feel. And definitely something a lot more important than a mere love story. The question is, is it even a love story in the first ...

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Be Pakistani, support the Pakistan Protection Ordinance

Leadership has never been our strong suit. When it’s time to step up to the challenge and rally the nation on a certain path, our leadership crashes; it always falls short of selling an idea and forming a narrative. Similar is the case with the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO), which has fallen victim to proponents on the left who argue that the ordinance violates human rights and may be a prelude to governmental tyranny. Sure, point taken that it represents such implications. But this ordinance was made to bypass the parliament not because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in the process of ...

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Mazar-e-Quaid or a ‘love shack’? What’s next?

Let’s acknowledge one thing folks. As a nation, we are an extremely industrious people and highly innovative as well. Therefore, our poor economic situation, which seems to be worsening by the day, is beyond any rational reasoning at least to me. Where else in the world would you find such highly creative, extremely ambitious and downright greedy, shameless and vulture-like souls who would rent out the mausoleum of their nation’s founder for a meager amount of a few thousand rupees? Imagine this scenario. You are the caretaker of a place – a place where the father of your nation rests in a grave, on the land ...

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Why was my mamoo killed?

The gunshot outside was deafening. The woman inside the house continued talking on the phone, thinking it was just one of those routine firing shots that are a norm in her area of residence. Moments later, there was a loud, insistent pounding on the door, accompanied with hysterical screams. Startled, the woman hung up and rushed outside in a panic. All she saw was red, a pool of red. She squinted, trying to see past the flood of human bodies. That is when she saw her husband, motionless, lying in the pool of red. It took her seconds to comprehend. ...

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The 19 billion dollar question: Can Facebook compete with Google?

On February 19, 2014 Facebook announced the acquisition of WhatsApp for a whooping sum of $19 billion and the internet went crazy. The internet had to be put on sedatives to calm it down. This post, however, is not about how to sedate the internet; it is about trying to figure out why Facebook spent more money than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 82 countries to a buy an app that can be downloaded for free. Just in case you were on an exploration mission to outer-space and missed the details, have a look at this and maybe this brilliant commentary too. To answer the 19 billion ...

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India does not want to invade Pakistan and the US is not our enemy!

India no longer considers Pakistan a threat. Let’s face it. India is poised to become a global economic engine; its economy is the 10th largest and third by Purchasing Power Parity. India is a member of the G4 and has recently acquired almost absolute control of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Having a G4 membership alone raises India’s global influence. Further, the day is near when India would be a permanent member in the UN Security Council. India played its cards well and is a potential super-power. It is time for Pakistan to come out of its shell of denial and recognise India’s swift ...

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