Stories published in July, 2014

For IDPs, the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming their way

The much-awaited operation to clean the north western part of the country has finally started. It will hopefully rid us of the disease that has infected our country and as a result, the locals will hopefully be able to live without the constant fear of militants and hovering drones. However, due to the intensity of the operation, residents have been forced to leave their homes and live as refugees in camps in their own country; camps that are merely making ends meet for them. Hussein Khan, once a resident of Mir Ali in North Waziristan and now living in the Bannu refugee ...

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Why Malala is not a western puppet

I have always heard about how summer days and winter nights are exceptionally long in Norway. However, it was not until I visited the Scandinavian country myself that I understood the magnitude of their duration. A beautiful country on the whole, the drastic differences in the lengths of its days, as compared to Pakistan, took me a while to adjust myself over there. I was invited by the 14 August Committee to visit Oslo and meet Malala Yousafzai, who was also visiting the city at the time. When we reached the Oslo international airport, the other committee members and I were told to wait ...

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7 kinds of people you run into at Pakistani weddings

Weddings are festive and fun occasions. They are probably the only events in the country where both sexes get a chance to mingle and dance together without someone giving judgemental stares and uttering the words ‘haw haye’. Depending on how close or how you’re related to the bride or groom, these festivities can range from being highly fun to chaotic to downright boring. But at every wedding, you are bound to come across different and “special” types of wedding guests. 1) The enthusiast This is the person who is even more excited about the wedding than the bride and groom. He or ...

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What impact does social media have on journalism?

Not so long ago, there were only a select number of news communication and news transmission mediums present; be it newspapers or television based news channels. Especially speaking about the former, newspapers were constrained, time bound, and limited in terms of what to report and how to report it. Flash forward to 2014, we frequently and repeatedly see how pivotal and crucial social media has been to the news industry with context to live coverage of a certain event. Whether TV based news mediums or print, utilising social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have become the norm. Not only are these tools used ...

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From Pakistan to ‘Survivistan’

You make a football for the world to kick (even though we don’t play football) and I cheer you on! You give a speech at the United Nations (UN) and I cry tears of pride and joy! You win a cricket match and I clap till my hands hurt! You get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and my chest bloats with pride! You discovered the Higgs Boson and I am enthralled! Proud is too small a word! You take the first Oscar for your country and I scream out the news to the world! You produce the most divine mangoes in the whole wide world and ...

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The failure of the police system in Pakistan

A few days back, while coming to work along with my husband and brother, I was stopped at a check post by the Islamabad Police. One of the police officials on duty inquired from my husband about the three of us. My husband stated that he and my brother were going to drop me to my office. The police official turned towards me, raised his eye brows and, while pointing towards my brother, asked rudely, “Yeh kaun hai?” (Who is he?) I replied, “Mairay bhai hain.” (He is my brother) To which the police official responded, sarcastically, “Lagta tu nahi hai.” (He doesn’t look like it) “Kia matlab lagta tu nahi hai” ...

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Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?

On August 11, 1947, certain words echoed in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan with much emphasis. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”  These words were proudly stated by none other than the founding father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After 66 years of struggle, sacrifices and long-fought battles to procure democracy in Jinnah’s Pakistan, ...

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Has Pakistan forgotten what Ramazan means?

The most awaited Islamic month, Ramazan, is here. Muslims around the globe observe this month in their own, unique way. In Pakistan, people are usually busy buying groceries, making regular trips to the tailors to get their Eid outfits stitched, setting up their houses, planning iftar parties and praying – all in that order. Ramazan in the United States is celebrated differently, however. Muslims try to change their timings and cut down their work shifts so that they stay fresh for taraweeh prayers and late night qayaam. As an American Muslim, it is a great test to stay patient while fasting and dealing with ...

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And so it is

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. “Hi love! Care to meet me today?” Rayaan, on the other end of the line, teasingly asked his long time sweetheart. “Ray, you do realise this is the tenth time you have called me. How can I work if you keep distracting me like this?” Ariana responded, loving the attention he was showering upon her. “You know my day is not complete until I see your lovely face. How about I pick you at 7pm?” “Sounds great! But where are we going today?” Rayaan smiled and said, “It’s a surprise. I will ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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