Stories published in March, 2014

Sheikh Rasheed: A political enigma

Farzand-e-Rawalpindi (Son of Rawalpindi), Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, is the apple of the eye for many TV anchors. Ratings sky-rocket when he is the guest on a show. His blunt comments, revolutionary slogans and political predictions are loved by the public. He talks about the problems of the common man, in the language of the common man and is always well informed of what’s cooking in the circles of the Pakistani ruling elite – both, civil and military. But Sheikh Rasheed has a past which he has either conveniently chosen to forget or is compelled by circumstances to simply ignore. Today, he may ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to the Chairman of the Capital Development Authority, Islamabad

Dear Sir, I would like to share with you my feeling of owning a home in Islamabad and how it developed as a matter of inheritor. My father died in an accident at the age of 80, that too on one of Islamabad’s roads. Taking a trip down memory lane, I can still recall the day he received the allotment papers of a plot under the ‘Federal Government Employees Housing Scheme’ (FGEHS). The flashbacks of his expressions and excitement-filled voice portrayed security, peace of mind and hope of building a home of our own, that too with the halal income that he worked hard for after investing countless hours in ...

Read Full Post

Beyond: Two Souls is not just a video game, it’s a gamer’s paradise!

I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My passion for video games started with the old Atari’s and Sega Genesis, and has now moved to PC games and PlayStation 3 (PS3).  I’ve played many video games; you name it and I’ve played it. But the game I just finished ‘Beyond: Two Souls’ was just something else. This game kept me at the edge of my couch throughout the whole time I was playing it. Developed by Quantic Dreams and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc (SCEI), it is a PS3 exclusive game which released in September 2013. The story revolves around the ...

Read Full Post

The day I got a rejection e-mail from The Express Tribune’s blogs team

I quite frankly am a literary snob. I have always considered my writing style to be objective, my arguments well-reasoned and my expression refined. That is, until a comment I got from one of The Express Tribune blogs teams’ rejection e-mails entirely took me off-guard. It said, and I quote,  “It reads like an essay and does not have enough personal touch.” All my snobbishness went down the drain after reading this. Something like an ego-deflation process seemed under-way because, try as I might, I could not argue with the accuracy of this brief direct, slightly cruel, analysis. At first, I was incredulous. How could something that ...

Read Full Post

The memory of partition must become invalid now

During our Aman Chaupal initiative, where we invite a representative from Pakistan to interact with students in India, this time I got the opportunity to meet Mr Aamir Nawaz. Nawaz is the president and artistic director of the MAAS Foundation, a leading theatre group of Pakistan which showcases plays on several social themes. One of their prominent themes is Indo-Pak issues. As a part of the Aman Chaupal, we showed the video of one of MAAS’s plays to students of the South Asian University (SAU), which was followed by a discussion on the theme of the play. The play, named Permasher Singh, was based on ...

Read Full Post

A Pakistani, an Indian and the gentleman’s game!

It was 8:30 at night. Imran was sitting in his apartment in one of the posh areas of Dubai. Sprawled on the comfortable couch, he lazily switched channels on his 60-inch plasma TV while typing a text message to a friend on his cell phone. His iPad lay next to him, opened to The New York Times online page.  It was a typical evening in the life of a Generation Y executive surrounded by technology 24/7 until the familiar ring of an incoming Skype call jolted him out of his lethargic state. He looked at his watch and then ...

Read Full Post

Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

Read Full Post

Pakistani media should learn something from India’s Satyamev Jayate

Hypocrisy is one of Pakistan’s most wide-spread epidemics. The channel, which defamed and criticised a respectable educationist for ‘corrupting the youth’ of Pakistan by imparting sex education, occasionally airs inappropriate content full of sexual references during prime time. How exactly are we supposed to explain to our children what rape, ziyadti (dishonour), prostitution and najaiz jinsi taluqaat (inappropriate sexual relations) are when they hear these words on TV? Not only is the timing inapt but sometimes, it is also the content. Most of the channels have identical programs in which they ‘expose’ selected evils of the society. Some months ago, a channel aired a story about a ...

Read Full Post

Friends versus How I Met Your Mother: Friends for the win!

There is always that one TV series that you become addicted to and when that series comes to an end you have absolutely no idea what you’ll do for that specific one hour of your life anymore. Friends was that one comedy series for me. Although I didn’t watch the show from the first episode of the first season, I was hooked onto it as soon as I started following it. And even now, almost 10 years after the last season of Friends ended, I still watch some episodes whenever I get the chance. I know for a fact that even though Friends ended in 2004, all ...

Read Full Post

If you blame Bilawal solely for the famine in Thar, then blame Imran for the suicide attacks in KP!

Ever since the Thar crises, I have seen a flurry of newspaper articles condemning Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and in fact, likening it to a party of Pharoahs. Many PPP haters have actually taken a sinister delight in the tragedy and have used it to find justifications for their hatred of PPP and also to further whip the public sentiments. I am not a Jiyala and hence it is not my job to come up with an apologetic defence for PPP. Any famine is partly an administrative failure and hence the incumbent government should face the heat. However, at the same ...

Read Full Post