Stories published in February, 2014

It’s useless to study in the US, stay in Pakistan!

The education system in the US is, undoubtedly, no match to that of Pakistan. There is a major difference in the quality of education between the two nations. A majority of youngsters living in Pakistan are encouraged to pursue their studies from abroad as the standard of education in Pakistan is awfully low. There are, however, quite a few individuals who believe that receiving education from a country such as the US is of no use. This is a common misconception, possibly stemming from the anti-US sentiment in the country. I, however, do not agree as I believe that there are a number ...

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Team selection for Asia Cup 2014 and T20 World Cup: Is this a joke?

According to a sports analyst, whatever happens in Pakistani cricket does not happen anywhere else. The recent team selection for the upcoming Asia Cup and T20 World Cup is an appropriate example of this statement. Looking at the selected players, it is not clear whether the selectors want to go forward or backward. Perhaps, they do not have any direction at all. In the coming days, Pakistan’s cricket team is set to play two international tournaments – the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup – both to be held in Bangladesh. The team selected for both tournaments has been announced and as expected, the selectors ...

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Like a phoenix reborn from the ashes

No place to hide, I’m ball-and-chain bound, Dropped in mid-air, crashed into the ground. Locked in constant battle, an emotional duel, No need for arson, your words be the fuel. You burn every bridge, every road set ablaze, Embers smouldering, everywhere that I gaze. Crawling through the ruins, no roof on my head, Crumbling walls, broken floors, as good as dead. Life has no meaning, love lost all its thrill, Vultures circling over me, moving in for the kill. You pushed me and shoved me, and put me under, But I got out unscathed, still makes me wonder. Thought I had lost all, but I held onto hope, Coughing and wheezing, got out of the ...

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Sunday mornings with aloo ke parathay and chai!

Savoury aloo walay parathay and hot, sweet, milky tea have an unbreakable connection to winter in my head. The reason could be growing up in Pakistan; that’s how it used to be in our house. Waking up late on Sunday morning meant it was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch.  But the rumbling tummy could not be ignored. And so, chilly, winter Sunday mornings called for potato-stuffed buttered parathas for brunch served with shami kebabs or Pakistani style spicy omelettes. In my mother’s household all parathas were prepared either with home-churned white butter or with homemade desi ghee (clarified butter). As a little girl I remember watching my nani (maternal grandmother) ...

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11 minutes to Karachi Central Jail: Another Taliban and al Qaeda jailbreak in the making?

“We pledge to God that we will spare no effort to free all our prisoners.”  An Islamic website posted a 22-minutes audio recording by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in July of 2013. Since then we have seen four successful jailbreaks, orchestrated by the al Qaeda, in Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. The Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have formed a new organisation called ‘Ansar al Aseer’ (supporters of prisoners), that is specifically designed to free prisoners and support their families. Here is a list of jailbreaks accomplished by the al Qaeda in recent times: Date Freed Dead/Injured Location 2013-07-21 500 50+/unknown Abu Ghraib and Taji, Iraq 2013-07-27 1,117 Unknown Benghazi, Libya 2013-07-29 250 12/8 Dera Ismail Khan,Pakistan 2014-02-13 29 10/unknown Sana’a, Yemen All al Qaeda linked jailbreaks follow ...

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WhatsApp acquisition: Facebook smartphone in the making?

Four years ago, Brian Acton (co-founder of WhatsApp) applied for a job at Facebook Inc but he wasn’t offered one. Yesterday, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a record $19 billion, along with 50 staff members of WhatsApp. Jan Koum, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of WhatsApp went on to become a member of the board of directors at Facebook. Facebook spent a fortune to buy out WhatsApp, which is perhaps one of the biggest acquisitions ever. To get a better idea as to how big of an acquisition this is, here is an example. Pakistan’s total foreign exchange reserves have recently touched $8 billion; so basically, WhatsApp ...

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Barca vs City: Where did Pellegrini go wrong?

I was honestly left disappointed as Manchester City was rightfully defeated by their charismatic and powerful opponents. And as much as Pellegrini would like to put the blame on the referee, there were a few but very blatant mistakes in his own game plan as well.  Firstly, when you play a side like FC Barcelona or Bayern Munich or even Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), you simply cannot go with a single forward and even more so, if that striker has truly limited capabilities like Alvaro Negredo. He missed three really good chances to score and that too against a side as good as Barca which is simply ...

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The story of a drug addict: Opium was my drug, my addiction, my mistake

As someone who has been dependent on drugs twice in their life so far, if I had to tell you one reason why you shouldn’t do drugs it’s this: withdrawal is a b****. There are many reasons to do drugs, but the only reason not to that really matters, is really vivid and visceral is that withdrawal is extremely rough. Having regulations won’t stop anybody anywhere, not in Pakistan, not in the US, nowhere. This took me a while to understand, but here is my story, I hope it helps you. My love affair with drugs I started out pretty much like everybody else does, socially ...

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Times A-changin’: A seven-year-old girl’s open letter to Lego about gender inequality

Charlotte Benjamin, a seven-year-old girl, visited a Lego store and noticed that the few girl legos that were available were only ‘sit at home, go to the beach, shop and had no jobs’ while the boys ‘went on adventures, worked, saved people, had jobs and even swam with sharks’. That’s quite an observation and a strong opinion for a child so young. Lego is a popular construction toy manufactured by The Lego Group, a private company based in Billund, Denmark. Lego consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks and a collection of mini figures and gears. Lego blocks can be connected and ...

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A ‘Pink’ bus for women, really?!

Recently in Lahore we were graced with the news of the arrival of our very own ‘Pink Bus’. The purpose of this bus is to rid, albeit momentarily, the female population from the roving eyes, slippery hands and insensitive tongues of the male population; to give women ‘harassment-free-travel’. WHAT? Although the effort is admirable and shows that the government’s thinking is on the right track, the solution, a Pink bus, is a complete sham. The mere fact that the authorities thought it appropriate to introduce something like this should actually offend women and yet we sit there smile, look pretty and let the big, tough, muscular ...

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