Stories published in August, 2014

This is what I saw in Bannu

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Bannu district, where the majority of the 500,000 plus Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), primarily from Mir Ali and Miranshah in North Waziristan Agency, have moved to escape the military operation called Zarb-e-Azb (apparently) against the terrorists who continue to threaten the people of Pakistan. This is not the first displaced population I have seen or engaged with close up, but the feeling of being overwhelmed never fails to leave. As one enters the garrison town of Bannu, visibly under the control of and closely monitored by the military, roadblocks line all entrances of the town ...

Read Full Post

This year is Arsenal’s year

During the 2014 World Cup, a picture of Arsene Wenger went viral across social media in which he was caught playing football on a beach in Rio de Janeiro. The moment it caught the public’s eye, there was a wave of anger and disgruntlement amongst the Arsenal supporters (including myself), because by that time their rival clubs, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United were active in the market and signing some talented, quality players. No doubt you saw this yesterday but here's Arsene Wenger playing beach football. Never lost it. https://t.co/LySYrJLJK8 — Coral (@Coral) June 28, 2014 Christian Karembeu & Arsene Wenger are playing ...

Read Full Post

If Turkey can do it, why can’t other Muslim states?

Over the indiscriminate genocide of innocent people of Gaza, the Muslim leadership, the Arabs in particular and other Muslim states in general, have blatantly and deliberately remained silent. More than 1200 people have been killed and over 6,000 have been seriously injured in Gaza since the launch of Israel’s army offensive. Physical infrastructure is severely damaged: several houses and buildings have been demolished including mosques, schools and hospitals. There are about 57 self-governing Muslim states across the globe; some are absolute monarchies while others are sovereign democratic republics. Yet, none of them has dared to openly condemn or curb Israel’s vicious character. Leaders ...

Read Full Post

I will not celebrate August 14

August 14, 2009 I decided not to celebrate August 14th this year to show my personal grief, shame and solidarity with the nine innocent Christian citizens of Gojra, who were killed and their homes lit on fire. On this day, I will hang the Pakistani flag at half mast, will switch off my television, have none of those ‘milli naghmay’ and sing no national anthem. I am sad, ashamed and deeply distressed. I will call up all my Christian friends to apologise and express my grief, pain and sorrow. August 14, 2010 94 people were killed and more than 120 injured when the places of ...

Read Full Post

Has Imran Khan brought about any ‘tabdeeli’ in K-P?

The 2013 general elections were perhaps the most important elections in the history of this country. They brought forward a positive change in political outlook. They were able to mobilise the masses to leave their houses and become an active part of the political process by voting. And they were a lethal blow to the venal aristocratic oligarchy; they brought a party to power that did not stand on aristocracy or family politics – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, cynics now mock the PTI for not living up to the hype it created to bring out a complete metamorphosis or ‘tsunami’ in ...

Read Full Post

Humans have no place in the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

“All hail Caesar” Taking place around 10 years after the memorable events of its predecessor movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shows a world where humans have been all but wiped out by the simian virus. Caesar, who we last saw leading his band of apes into the forest, is now the leader of a much larger and intelligent troupe of apes. They live in relative peace until a group of humans stumble upon their territory causing a cataclysmic sequence of events that result in an all out war between the two species. The fact of the matter is that the apes were, ...

Read Full Post

My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Nowadays, various television channels have taken to playing emotional songs about sons and fathers joining the army, going on active duty and dying at the line of duty. It might be motivating for the general public, but what happens to the families of these soldiers can be comprehended neither by the channels nor by their producers. It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching the song, if her father is going to meet the same tragic fate because she believes that her father is the bravest. It is difficult to answer her question when a lump in the throat is ...

Read Full Post

Would you get your jaw-wired to lose weight?

“Hey, you have lost weight?” This is a question almost every woman in this world hopes to be asked. Every day, we discuss, think about, act on and cheat on this weight monster. Recently at work, one of my female co-workers proudly announced that her family friends got their daughter’s jaws wired so that she cannot eat or chew. The poor 17-year-old will be living on liquids for the next two years. What is the end result? Of course, she will shed all those ‘extra’ pounds and probably will be able to grab an acha rishta, but how inhumane is that? While listening to ...

Read Full Post

Don’t take your soldiers for granted

*Saf Shikan post is one of the few posts at Siachen glacier that is inaccessible by animal transport. Hence, all the transport of ammunition and food items is done through man-portering, mostly because the gradient of the post is impassable by mules and because the approach to the post is over looked by the enemy sitting just a few meters away. Saf Shikan is located 18000 feet above mean sea level at a gradient of approximately 30 to 40 degrees. An officer’s 6x3x4 feet (LxWxH) igloo, shelter made from discarded jerry-cans and PSP sheets, and a 9x6x5 feet shell-proof bunker ...

Read Full Post

Stop ridiculing the mentally ill

Individuals with mental health disorders are often the victims of violence and there is wide-spread discrimination directed towards them, whether by intent, ignorance or insensitivity. They are often the victim of jokes or are ridiculed for their behaviour. This attitude can make life difficult for them and present major obstacles to recovery. It is hard for them to find stable employment, living arrangements and relationships because of diminished self-esteem and weak social support. I came across two instances recently of major discrimination against people with mental health disabilities in Pakistan. In the first instance, a TV host, on a recent Ramazan ...

Read Full Post