Stories published in February, 2014

North Waziristan operation: Peace talks were never going to work anyway!

After much hue and cry about the peace talks, things ended up as most people predicted – the militant group would not let go of its savage ways and the federal government’s peace initiation would eventually go down the drain, fuelling military action from our armed forced. On February 16, 2014, the TTP beheaded 23 FC soldiers. This was the last straw for our forces and the government retaliated by directing the Pakistan Air Force to launch airstrikes in North Waziristan, killing 40 militants. This is the first time our Air Force has launched airstrikes in the region since 2007. A fantastic ...

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9 reasons you should watch The Big Bang Theory!

Although it has become somewhat of a fashion to criticise mainstream things and the same is also true for The Big Bang Theory, we must not forget that it is called ‘mainstream’ for some reason. You’ve got to agree… they were given an unlikable subject and they turned it into something hilariously appreciable. If you still haven’t seen the show (and you better have a good excuse for that), here are nine of the most compelling reasons I thought of for you to watch The Big Bang Theory. 1. Doctor Sheldon Cooper, Bazinga! Doctor Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical physicist and the King of Nerds, ...

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Where were you Lahore, when we were protesting for our missing Baloch brethren?

I attended the long march of the Baloch Voice for Missing Persons (BVMP) in Lahore to show my solidarity with the cause. I was amongst the journalists who came from various news organisations to document a critical portion of the walk that had departed from Quetta last year. The protestors were entering the capital of Punjab. The reception they got here could mirror the reception they receive in Islamabad. The walk had caused quite a stir among those who followed the story behind it. The protest walk, led by Mama Qadeer Baloch, the vice president of the BVMP, received due press attention at ...

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So many Hindu and female doctors! What is happening to Pakistan?

There are some things you can’t help doing – like talking to fundamentalists. I know many of them and almost all of them are convinced that non-Muslims want to harm Muslims. One such person, whom I have known for 25 years and who can’t compose a simple sentence in English (despite having two master’s degrees) thinks that since Pakistan was made for Muslims, those who are not Muslims should not be allowed to have jobs (unless there are no Muslims available, as for instance in jobs like cleaning up lavatories). This man is deeply concerned about the growing number of Hindu doctors in Karachi’s ...

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In Hangu, are teachers a specie quickly going extinct?

A few days ago when I was going home, I received a text message from Abdullah Khan, a journalist working in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It said that three primary school teachers had been killed in Kach Bandha, Hangu in a drive-by shooting. I immediately called him to confirm the news. I felt goose bumps as he told me that three teachers – Muhammad Khan, Syed Khalil and Faqir Hussain – had been killed and two of them had been targeted because of their sectarian affiliation. These teachers had left their homes in the morning with prayers from their families and were killed that same ...

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Doctors in Pakistan: Sumbal, only the peptic ulcer wali bibi, not a person with feelings

Her doctor thought she was an open mouth for him to dunk pills into. Instead, she turned out to be a person with thoughts, feelings and questions that were all left unaddressed. As part of Pakistan’s tightly-knit community of doctors, it is common for us to share our horror stories about non-compliant, abusive patients with laughable misconceptions about drugs and bodily functions. We softly giggle at them mistaking left-sided abdominal pains for appendicitis, when the appendix is in fact on the right side. And the unspoken conclusion drawn each time is that a patient is too uninformed to be trusted with his own ...

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Suffering from lethargy? Here are 5 tips to get your lazy bum outta bed

When a reporter asked Pope John Paul XXIII how many people worked at the Vatican, he replied, “No more than half of them.” When I look around, I agree with his statement. In fact, he could have said one fourth of them or may be even one tenth of them because many people go to work but only a few actually do the work. We live in an age where we need to run with the clock – mere crawling or walking is not sufficient. However, practically speaking, a feeling of drowsiness and inertia during working hours while feeling fresh and energetic during sleeping hours ...

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Is there a need for peace talks?

The Government of Pakistan has been notified by the Mohmand Agency group of the Taliban that they have killed 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers who were kidnapped four years ago from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency. It is ironic that this incident took place during ‘peace talks’, with both sides hinting at the prospect of a positive outcome within a few days. Ironic? Unexpected? While flipping through TV channels a few days ago, I realised that all I could see was that certain militant outfits had somehow managed to win the media war against the State of Pakistan. The only thing I seemed to have come across continuously were ...

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A strong man

He really hated elbows on the table. It made him feel as angry as when they hid his cigarettes. But he had no choice in the matter. It was a conspiracy hatched by three women, against him, and not just any three ladies, but three headstrong, exceptionally sensitive and explosive women. So he let it go. But the matter of elbows on the table really got his goat. How difficult was it to just rest the forearms at an angle of 45 degrees with the wrists dangling gently over the cutlery? It wasn’t hard. He had done it for 28 years ...

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Shahzaib Bajwa: More than just a name in the papers

A few months ago, I wrote a piece that appeared on this site about my experience as a Palestinian, in Chitral and how my view of humanity had changed for the better. Not only did I have the chance to explore an area of the world that not many Pakistanis have been to – much less foreigners – the way I viewed the world drastically changed and that is not a minor thing. The time I spent in Chitral changed my life and I will be forever thankful for the experience. My objective for writing this blog, however, is because one of ...

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