Stories published in July, 2014

Can Pakistan ban alcohol for non-Muslims? Not ethically!

As the nation slides down the slippery slope of prohibition, progressives entrench their nails into its icy surface, resisting the imposition of Islamic dicta on the state’s non-Muslim subjects. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights stated its opposition to the proposal to impose a complete nationwide ban on alcoholic beverages, revoking the exemption provided to non-Muslims in Pakistan. It is a restriction Pakistan’s ultra-right political parties have long pushed for. JUI-F MNA, Maulana Shirani, has been particularly vocal in this regard. The proposition implies a constitutional amendment, which has faced a welcome amount of resistance from the ...

Read Full Post

Nightmare at Langham hotel? England left scarred and scared!

Twenty four hours after England’s limp capitulation at the hallowed turf of Lords, the pundits are wondering what frightened the hosts more; their five-star Langham hotel or the long locks of the once gentle and genial giant of India Ishant Sharma? Throughout the Test series, there were cries of anguish emanating from the English camp, well before Sharma’s seven-wicket spoils, as two burly all-rounders with a fair amount of brawn on their bodies, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad, were left ‘concerned’ about some paranormal presence in their hotel rooms. Broad told an English newspaper that the Lords Test against Sri Lanka, that preceded the ...

Read Full Post

Cheaper by the dozen and fasting for two this Ramazan

If you remember in the book ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ (the movie was awful), Mr Gilbraith had the entire family’s (he had 12 kids) tonsils removed on the same day because it was ‘cheaper by the dozen’. The temptation to get the most out of one’s money has always been present; you see the yearning everywhere. Recognising this very fact, market gurus have come up with ‘two for one’ deals which everyone loves, for good reason. I do too myself. You can get useful things like two cartons of diapers for the price of one, two boxes of cereal for the price of ...

Read Full Post

Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan. It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration. Wishfully, I often think ...

Read Full Post

Bobby Jasoos: A volcano of talent… wasted!

Keeping the taste of Bollywood fans and critics in mind, director Samar Shaikh and producer Dia Mirza came up with a great formula for their new movie, Bobby Jasoos, one which they thought would be a hit movie. To understand it better, the formula is a mix between women-centric movies, like No one killed Jessica, Hate Story, Dirty Picture, Gulaab Gang and English Vinglish, and detective thrillers, like John Day, Samrat & Co., Kahaani, Mr Joe B Carvalho.  So what is the movie about? Bobby Jasoos is about Bilquis Ahmed (Vidya Balan), also known as Bobby Jasoos, who aspires to be a detective ...

Read Full Post

Yes, Karachi does need a Metro Bus service!

Nawaz Sharif’s visits to Karachi have been brief and mostly concerned with law and order. The last visit, however, was a bit different from the previous ones; the prime minister (PM) has announced to launch the Metro bus named Green Line for Karachi with a gigantic budget of Rs15 billion as reported by the media. He also supervised another important meeting at the Governor House, regarding other development projects in Karachi. Millions of commuters, every day, have to rely on obsolete and dilapidated buses and recklessly driven Qingqi rickshaws to reach to their destinations and back. The beautiful bus stops that ...

Read Full Post

Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

Read Full Post

Should Malala be blamed for Gaza too?

Consider this: Pakistan is in the midst of a war on terror. Swat is in control of Maulana Fazlullah, who is now the chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Radio is banned, schools have been forced shut and a barbaric (read: Taliban’s) Sharia law has been imposed. In all this, a brave 12-year-old risks her life to tell the world what girls like her are going through. Fast forward two years. Her blogs on BBC and activism for the cause of education infuriates perpetrators of terrorism who attempt to assassinate her. She survives against all odds, and has now won many accolades and awards for her work and ...

Read Full Post

Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

Read Full Post

An Indian in Pakistan

A simple white shalwar kameez, a pair of traditional Peshawari shoes and a black jacket. The packed hall of about 900 people exploded into thunderous cheers and a standing ovation. Young boys and girls jumped up with excitement, thumped their tables and filled the air with whistles. The welcome befitted a rock star. The man in white moved to the stage and commenced speaking. He spoke clearly, simply and in elegant Urdu; every member of the audience could understand him. His thoughts were crystal clear; he stood for a multi- cultural and secular framework, believed in a corruption free society, ...

Read Full Post