Stories published in July, 2014

Should war be celebrated?

On the walls along MA Jinnah Road, I came across certain graffiti, a bold approval in red paint, which read, “Pak fauj qadam barhao, hum tumharay saath hain” (Take a step, Pakistani Army, the people are with you) This was a reminder for every passer-by that it is the duty of every Pakistani to support its army engaged in Zarb-e-Azb, the on-going military operation in North Waziristan. In the past few months, there has been a shift in the rhetoric pertaining to the army; the protector has become the saviour, the last resort has become the beacon of hope and force has become the ...

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Palestine cannot agree to a Jewish state

For months, US Secretary of State John Kerry had been involved in the strenuous task of achieving the famous ‘Two State Solution’. This meant the co-existence of a Jewish democratic state alongside a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem being the shared capital between the two. Unfortunately, and quite predictably, this project exceeded its announced deadline, and we were left with another stalemate of a situation with no end to the hostilities and a severe political deadlock. One of the fundamental demands by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) outright rejected ...

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Karachi is… love

I started this year with a blast, quite literally, and to date, this city has taken more lives than you and I could have expected. Being an average student trying to live an average life, I have been told to reach home ‘foran’ (immediately) innumerable times and have seen my siblings dance over missing school or exams due to unforeseen circumstances. This city has become no less than a war zone and those who just thought ‘yeh kya bakwas hai’ (what is this crap) to themselves are seriously delusional. In these past few months, I saw a leader being arrested, witnessed an acquaintance get ...

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Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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Are you a true football fan or a Pakistani football fan?

In Pakistan, summers usually have a few trademarks. These include myriad lawn brands, juicy mangoes, skin infections and a never-ending spree of load shedding. This year, however, a peculiar viral disease hit the urban areas of Pakistan in form of the FIFA World Cup 2014. Pakistan is not amongst the ‘big boys’ in football and the national team has never qualified for World Cup matches, yet the football fever still, somehow, hits Pakistan each time there is a football tournament taking place. The English Premier League has only recently attracted a substantial number of followers from Pakistan, but people have been following the ...

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Can a woman in Pakistan play sports without being sexually harassed?

One of the biggest impediments to women participating, or being allowed to participate, in any form of sports in Pakistan is that of sexual harassment. Just yesterday, we all learned about the tragic demise of Haleema Rafiq, the young and talented 17-year-old cricketer. She was one of five girls who had the courage to raise her voice by accusing the Multan Cricket Ground of several instances of sexual harassment that took place last year. However, rather than taking her accusations seriously and wasting no time in conducting a serious investigation, Rafiq’s cry for help fell upon deaf ears. Her case ...

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10 things my 3-year-old taught me this summer

Summer vacations always bring out an all-new, never-known-before side to kids. Some days are filled with frantic fire fighting and others are just an awe struck pause at what these little ones are capable of. The absence of a school routine and the luxury of designing their own days brings all sorts of surprises. Here are some fun rules I observed this summer: 1. If you haven’t used your toothbrush as a tummy scrub, you’re under utilising its potential. Photo: Giphy 2. Lessons in Physics: All balls, when are thrown upwards towards the ceiling, bounce back. Except the play ...

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Will Muhammad Shoaib Adil be convicted for blasphemy or will the state save him?

“The clerics tried to attack me at my office and later at the race course police station. The police were very supportive and didn’t let them touch me. Later, they surrounded the race course police station and tried to pressurise the police. Luckily, some of my friends came to my aid and they did whatever they could to make sure I get out of police station safely.” He was freed from the police station in the wee hours of night, when the angry mob had dispersed. That day his life changed and he went into hiding along with his family. ...

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In Pakistan, domestic abuse is none of your business

As Iman sat there talking to me, I could see all the classic signs of her being stuck in the cycle of abuse. First there was the abuse period, severe fighting at the end of which she would often walk out being the second, the third period would be the reconciliation where he would call and apologise or the elders of the family would be brought in to ‘patch things up’, and the fourth and final stage of returning to him, believing all his lies claiming that it would never happen again. Nevertheless, as always, she would believe and he ...

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Khan, paan and Pakistan

The streets of Islamabad are filled with an extremely diverse collection of people. There are people on the street who can’t afford a meal, but on the very same street you could find a multi-millionaire. Politicians can be spotted in hotels and local cafes, and so can journalists who, in Pakistan, are as popular as any celebrity. In terms of progress as a country, Pakistan has been on a downward spiral for most part of the last two decades. A lot of people point fingers at political leaders, military dictators and even religious ‘scholars’ but many believe that this is also because ...

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