Stories published in February, 2014

What does sugarcane have in common with football? Answer: Mohammad Adil

Swift pace. Check. Speed. Check. Stocky build. Check. No, I am not talking about Carlos Tevez; this is Mohammad Adil, the star winger of the Pakistan national football team and the new signing of the Kyrgyzstan league giants, Dordoi Bishkek. Adil, a blistering winger with bags of pace and skill, who lit up the SAFF Championship 2013, reached the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Presidents Cup with KRL FC and attracted attention from several clubs in Nepal and Palestine in 2013. Belonging to a country where the domestic structure for football provides very little for player development and talent polishing, Adil and his achievements are a testament of his struggles. However, he has clearly proven ...

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Nishana daz daz vaj da: The big bang wedding

Since months now, every second night, some fat cat decides to mark a wedding with insane amounts of aerial firing, followed by what – to my untrained ear – sounds like a small bomb blast. Insane, right? You’d think by now, people would have realised that this is a) unsafe b) uncouth  and c) something that will make people wake up at 3am in panic – any of the above realisations should easily bring an end to such behaviour. Forget about how all this might be illegal – after all, that’s never stopped us from having a bit of ‘fun’. Nope. Without fail, ...

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Love thy neighbour?

“Are you okay?”  The question jolted Ahmed back to the present. He looked at his wife, Fatima who was looking at him in a concerned manner. She said, “Hello… I’m talking to you.” Ahmed sighed and replied, “I’m worried about the business, it’s not doing so well. What about you?” His wife took a deep breath before saying, “The headmistress has asked me to resign because of the threats to the school. And all the staff members want me to leave as soon as possible.” Ahmed nodded and said, “Well it’s a difficult time for our community. Customers have been avoiding our shop and I don’t know how to get them ...

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Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

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Kashmir may never become a part of Pakistan…

Kashmir has always been a hotbed of political discussions as far as our foreign policy goes. Even though the issue has lost a lot of its steam off late, it is something that remains etched in the mind of every Pakistani, every time India is mentioned. We celebrate Kashmir Day today, as the cold hard truth stares at us – it has been over 60 years and the Kashmir issue shows no signs of being settled. The area is claimed by both Pakistan and India because of its obvious strategic importance. There is no point in going into details of what caused ...

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BCCI cannot be trusted, PCB should vote against the ‘Big Three’

While everyone talks about the ‘Big Three’ ruling the cricket world, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is taking it’s time to decide whether to accept the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s deal or vote against this idea. All of a sudden, BCCI is ready to let our players play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), for obvious reasons, but the point is, what were the reasons that made them not include our cricketers before? The basis of the ‘Big Three’ concept is just money. Since BCCI, Cricket Australia (CA) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) are generating the most amount of money ...

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Sindh Festival 2014: ‘Culture’ is not a spectacle to be sold, neither can it disguise past failure

The Sindh Festival 2014 is not a beacon of hope; it is a reminder of just how far behind we are lagging. Perhaps it is because of my deep Sindhi roots, my familial history and my life experiences but I don’t think that the Sindh Festival 2014 is anything worth celebrating. I have lived in Hyderabad for 14 years followed by five years in Karachi and the distinction between the two cities is clear – Hyderabad is more Sindhi centric culturally while Karachi is more of a melting pot. Neither one is better than the other but they are both different. In Hyderabad, spectacles similar to ...

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Karachi Burns Road: The Holy Grail for foodies

The waiter picked up my Naan. He saw my quizzical expression and said, “It’s not hot anymore. I am getting you a fresh one.” Then he comes back and asks in a solicitous whisper if I am enjoying myself. With such courtliness, how could I not? This Michelin star service was not at an exorbitantly priced restaurant. No, the setting of this delightful exchange was Waheed Nihari at Karachi’s Burns Road a.k.a. food paradise. Ernest Hemingway called Paris a moveable feast – in the same vein, Karachi is an immovable feast and Burns Road the location. The food capital of Pakistan is reputed to be Lahore. I beg to differ. Lahore ...

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Hijab4Men: Let’s turn the tables and show men how it feels

You’re showing too much hair. You’re wearing a lot of makeup and your tight jeans? Well, you’re ruining the reputation of the hijab. These are just a few examples of the criticism many hijabis face.  Recently there were even adverts all over the Middle East comparing Muslim women to wrapped sweets – a lollipop with a wrapper symbolises perfection, that is, the angelic Muslim maintaining her pardah, while an ‘unwrapped lolly’ attracts flies to the haram enticement of an exposed ‘sweet’. The men behind such adverts will deny that comparing Muslim women to sweets is objectifying us. They will contest that they are merely using the analogy ...

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