Stories published in September, 2014

Karachi’s comedy scene – Can you handle it?

If you’ve lived in Karachi, you’re sure to have heard the complaint about there being a lack of entertainment options in the city. Eating out represents the obvious choice for entertainment but there is always the “and now what do we do?” question that hangs in the air after the meal. It’s too early to go home and unfortunately the debate about ‘what next’ rarely moves beyond dessert options. The thought of why there aren’t more regular entertainment options in our city has been annoying me for a while now. If one looks at the thriving theatre industry or the packed ...

Read Full Post

No Pakistani can ever resist some palak paneer

I was in Pakistan for a few weeks to attend a sibling’s wedding. However, the trip turned out to be longer than expected because of the political situation in the twin cities that led to the cancellation and rescheduling of the wedding a few times. Because of this, many invitees were unable to attend the events. The happy affair turned into a stressful one as the two families tried to get through the logistical nightmare that blockages and the long march had created between Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The mehendi was cancelled, the wedding reception was organised at a four-hour ...

Read Full Post

Civil disobedience in Hong Kong: A lesson for Imran Khan

Hong Kong has recently seen a wave of peaceful protests organised by pro-democracy activists. These protests have been countered by the pro-Beijing rally, which demonstrated how divided the city is over this issue. In order to understand how this protest came about, one needs to step back and assess Hong Kong’s history with China. One country, two systems Hong Kong was a former British colony that was handed over to China in 1997. Since then, China has governed Hong Kong under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, where Hong Kong – defined as a Special Administrative Region of China – is given a ...

Read Full Post

Why Lahore is better than Karachi today

Karachi saw its renewed glory days under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. For the first time, the citizens felt bonded with the city and its ways. There was an air of optimism and under the ‘I own Karachi’ program, for the first time in a long time, Karachiites came forward to beautify their city and contribute towards its uplift. The two mayors, Mr Naimatullah Khan from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) followed by Mustafa Kamal from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), did wonders and set the city on the path of progress and development. I personally know a number of expatriates who relocated back to Karachi in order to ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan sports: Abundance of talent but lack of recognition

It was amazing how Pakistan beat India 2-1 in their Asian games fixture yesterday. If you see the last couple of months in light of the Indo-Pak rivalry, you would be proud to see how well Pakistan has done against India in pretty much all sports. Just last month, Pakistan beat India 2-0 in the final match of a friendly series. Though Pakistan lost the first match, we won the series on goal average. Last week, our domestic side, Lahore Lions, took on the two time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians and surprisingly ended up beating them. And it’s not just these Indo-Pak clashes where we have done really ...

Read Full Post

India walking the talk with their first transgender news anchor

It is prime time bulletin on Lotus News, a satellite news channel in southern Indian town, Coimbatore. Dressed in a dark brown silk sari, 31-year-old Padmini Prakash is all set to read out the day’s headlines. In matching brown lipstick, vermilion in the parting of her hairline and a bunch of white jasmine tucked in her black curls, Padmini sports a professional charm. Her Tamil pronunciation is clear. Her intonation is perfectly timed. In less than two months, Padmini has become one of the most popular news anchors of the television channel.   But it wasn’t an easy journey for ...

Read Full Post

In reality Mr Khan, no you Khan’t

There was once a man who didn’t believe in empty rhetoric but followed through with his promises. He won Pakistan the World Cup, made Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust and established a university in Mianwali. The youth idealised him, the elderly praised him, and the people adored him. And while he showed that change is achieved by the tangible, he never followed through with that in his politics. I wish he had. He was selling a dream that many Pakistanis yearned for. A Pakistan free of corruption and nepotism, where the common man would have equal opportunities, where he would have freedom ...

Read Full Post

The attack on Farooq Awan doesn’t affect me, so why should I care?

If you’ve somehow missed yesterday’s news, you should know that there was another attack in Karachi last night, at Gizri, DHA. When I heard about this, I felt the same pang of anger and frustration that anyone normally would in such circumstances. But, within a minute, it was all forgotten and I continued watching the movie I had paid for. How did I feel so comfortable in resuming my business so soon? Because I didn’t ask what happened, where it happened or why. The real question I asked myself was: did it matter? Sounds harsh, yes, but that’s the truth. Have we, ...

Read Full Post

Coke Studio 7 comes with strings attached

What an opening! The much-awaited Coke Studio season seven begins with the hope of fresh music, sounds, return-to-roots and much more. Strings have teamed up to become the sound producers of a huge franchise even though they have no prior music production experience. It was but expected that, apart from picking all the right people, their overall presentation would be a ‘celebration of strings’, given Bilal Maqsood’s love for the guitar. Episode one fared well and stumbled a little as well, but gave much to celebrate. Ustad Raees Khan and Abida Perveen: Mein Sufi Hoon Who can go wrong placing these two maestros together? It was a joy to see ...

Read Full Post

Jinnah’s Flagstaff House, neglected but not forgotten

This summer, when a meeting in Karachi was cancelled, I finally found an opportunity to visit the Flagstaff House. I had known it was a museum since college days but had been unable to visit it. I felt it was time to make up for the omission. Flagstaff House is an impressive stone building located in the Saddar area in Karachi, and was one of the residential properties of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He had purchased it from a Parsi businessman before partition. As we pulled into the driveway, I was surprised that one could drive right in. There was only a single semi-interested security guard. Upon walking up to the ...

Read Full Post