Stories published in March, 2014

So you think Pathan jokes are funny? Read this!

 The screen of my touch phone glowed and it beeped. I picked it up and it said, “One new message received.” There was a text message and it read something like this. Man: “What’s the difference between a radio and a newspaper?” Pathan: “Yaara (dude), the major difference I can think of is that one can wrap chapattis in a newspaper but not in a radio.” The moment I finished reading it, my cell beeped again. And this time it read, “A man was drowning in the sea. Tourists stood on the ship, helplessly watching the man frantically gasp for air. Suddenly a Pathan, standing on the deck, jumped into ...

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On death-row: The living dead men of Pakistan

Eight feet by six feet – that’s how big most prison cells are for anyone who is sentenced to death in Pakistan. An inmate on death-row is kept in this cell until his execution takes place which, because of the 2008 moratorium on the death penalty, cannot lawfully happen anymore.  Although the moratorium ended in July 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to reinstate it indefinitely. His government had initially stated that: “The present government does not plan to extend it (the moratorium)” However, mainly because of European pressure, the moratorium was reinstated till a point when the president and the prime minister can have a ...

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A pilot’s perspective on the disappearance of MH370

In just over a century, man has gone from earning his wings to making air travel one of the safest and most economical means of global transportation. Although the early days of aviation often spawned mysterious disappearances and names like Amelia Earhart and the Bermuda Triangle haunt us to date, such stories have become exceedingly rare. The last such incident in Pakistan occurred in 1989 when a small Fokker F27 aircraft disappeared in the northern areas, the wreckage of which was never located and remains a mystery to date. In the modern digital age, aircraft like the Boeing 777 are hailed as wonders of modern technology and ...

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The Muslim wedding flight

In-flight announcement: “Good afternoon to our two lovely passengers! I’m delighted to welcome you aboard the Muslim Wedding Flight from parental to in-laws abode. My name is Fayaz Pasha and I’m your in-flight Service Director. Your cabin crew (parents, relatives and friends) is here to ensure that you have an enjoyable flight. We are currently second in line for take-off and are expected to be in the wedding hall in approximately 20 minutes. We ask that you please fasten your expectations at this time and secure all your emotional baggage. Please make sure that your seats and tables are in the right position for ...

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Gear up and buckle those seat belts, the wait is finally over and Formula 1 is back!

All the wait and speculation is finally over. The new Formula One season started in Melbourne with the biggest technical changes in the last 20 years. And the predictions from the testing have certainly stood their ground. Mercedes won the race with Nico Rosberg leading with almost half a minute. Mercedes won the race with Nico Rosberg. Photo: Reuters In second place was the impressive Danish rookie, Kevin Magnussen, with Britain’s Jenson Button coming in a wise third. Riders celebrate on the podium of the Australian Grand Prix where Nico Rosberg dominated the race. Photo: Reuters Mercedes seemed to have the best power unit out there with ...

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Larkana: Losing our soul, religion and country, one minority at a time

Today is Holi, the festival of colours. Today, Hindus bedeck themselves in the colours of life and love and many other communities join in to mark the start of spring. Alas, the only colour adorning Pakistan is black and red. Our Hindu brethren in the streets of Larkana should be celebrating this auspicious festival. Instead, they hide in their houses, afraid for their safety and worried about reprisals from a community that should be their protectors. Once again, the spectre of bigotry and hatred has raised its head in what is becoming a far too frequent pattern. Once again, we are left wondering about the empty symbols ...

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Options for rape victims in Pakistan: Stay silent, get an abortion or set yourself on fire

I feel sorry for Pakistani rape victims who can never get the justice they deserve. In the first instance, going by what Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Chief Syed Munawar Hassan said in an interview that a rape victim should stay silent and not report the incident to the police, or anyone else for that matter. I asked another member of his party, “What will she do if she gets pregnant?” He replied, “Impossible, a woman cannot get pregnant unless she’s willing”, quoting a US Republican Congressman who said the same thing. So now we know why our illiterate people blame women for not conceiving; they actually believe that it’s in ...

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To say cheese or not to say cheese: Seven body language gestures to avoid

Every move you make reveals something about you. Sherlock Holmes decodes it quite easily. Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) solves his murder cases by reading the body language. Your body is a message. There is an unabridged science behind body language (Google Kinesics). The best examples of how important body language is are the silent movie actors, who used to perform back in the day when the television screens only supported black and white images. Charlie Chaplin can be considered as one of the pioneers of body language skills, given that this was the only means of communication available on the screen during his time. A powerful ...

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MQM: Misunderstood even after 30 years

On March 18, 1984 the first political entity for the Mohajirs called the All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation (APMSO) evolved into a full-fledged political party now known as the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). The party was renamed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997. And tomorrow, March 18, 2014 it will be exactly 30 years since the MQM came into existence. However, the question remains – out of all political parties in Pakistan, why is the most intensely negative judgement directed towards the MQM? There is no simple answer to this question. However, in order to get to the crux of the issue, one needs to take ...

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PTI just keeps disappointing: Mr CM, that wasn’t insulting enough

If one more person tells me that Pakistan has a better record on women’s political representation than the ‘developed nations’ (meaning the US) because we have twice had a female head of state, I will use my very female and very strong hand to slap them across the face. The Women in Politics Maps 2014 released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women recently ranked Pakistan 72nd among 189 countries in terms of female representation in the parliament. We could have been ranked even lower – there is no woman on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s handpicked cabinet, for instance. But one does not even ...

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