Stories published in September, 2014

Ineffective management floods Pakistan… again

The recent floods that have wreaked havoc in various parts of the country should come as no surprise due to the increasing frequency of unpredictable weather patterns and Pakistan’s inability to deal with them. We remain fixated on issues of national security and domestic politics, and climate change and the resulting water crisis remain Pakistan’s most threatening issue. The floods of previous years and the drought in Thar (a few months ago) testify to the growing unpredictability of the weather and ineffective management of the government. Despite efforts to develop the service sector, we remain predominantly an agrarian economy; therefore, the effect of climate change ...

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#WhyIStayed: Understanding why women stay with abusive husbands

When the disturbing video of National Football League (NFL) star, Ray Rice, beating up his wife in an elevator, after knocking her unconscious and dragging her out, surfaced in the media the harrowing narrative of domestic violence remerged with all its might and force. And the news of Janay Rice lashing out at the media for releasing the video and advising the media to mind its own business made her look like an even bigger culprit than her husband. It’s a common example of how the victim is demonised and morphed instantly into a culprit, if she does not fit our tailored standard of sham ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 3 The rich

Zameer opens his door, which is covered with dust, cow dung, and drawings done by a chalk. As he enters his nine-year-old son, Hassan, spots him and runs towards him and holds him tightly. Zameer embraces him with all his love, but not all his strength. “How have you been, my son?” “Good.” “Where’s your mother?” “She’s gone to get roti’s, she just left.” He nods his head, and drags a charpoy under the peepal tree, removes his shoes and discharges a long sigh. Hassan watches with wonder, at shiny shoes covered in shiny dust, which only please the owner when they are taken off. “Are ...

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The Islamabad embarrassment: A satirical analysis

Hi again! This is Aalia Suleman back with another special interview with the leaders of the Azad-Biwi-Tehreek (ABT) and Jalao-Tehreek (JJT). Amazingly, Mehrul Jafri (MJ) of the ABT and Afreen Khan (AK) of the JJT are still camped out in this ground in Karachi with their swarm of supporters. If these two leaders remain firm on a resignation from the In-law House, there is an equally inflexible response from the mothers and sisters-in-law who adamantly refuse to comply. This unrelenting and stubborn attitude from both sides has now also forced the Dadi Chief to intervene. Let’s see where this fiasco is leading: Aalia: First and foremost, ...

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“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

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Can I be a vegetarian in Pakistan?

The idea of being a vegetarian is still a strange and unheard concept in Pakistan. Primarily because there aren’t enough vegatarians, and there are hardly any restaurants catering to vegetarian needs. When you come across a vegetarian here, you find them striving to sustain this ‘spiritual’ state. Two years ago, I watched the biographical documentary of Mahatma Gandhi and got convinced that I should spurn eating anything which has life and would go through immense pain to become edible. I did quite a lot of research on this subject, listened to the arguments proposed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ...

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7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere. This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes: 1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI): ‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’ In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine ...

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Welcoming Autumn with tamarind lamb cutlets and a spicy chickpea chat salad

Chickpeas with spice, herbs and lemon are a street snack in Pakistan called chat, with bursts of chat masala, made up of piquant black salt, dried mango powder, cumin, coriander seeds and black pepper; it’s a salivating heady mixture that entices all the senses. Topped with lashings of sour tamarind chutney and coriander mint chutney, these are tantalising combinations that speak of a flavour of Pakistan. This salad of mine combines many attributes of my homeland, barbecue lamb is quintessentially Pakistani and I have combined it with an easy chickpea salad based on chat on the streets of Pakistan. I also combine some ...

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What? Why? How?! Saeed Ajmal…

As I sit here, I type this in disbelief.  Saeed Ajmal has been banned. Read that statement. Allow it to sink in. Have you managed to wrap your head around it? Does it hurt? If you’re a cricket lover you can feel the loss. If you’re a Pakistan cricket fan, your world has just been ripped apart and any semblance of world cup victory dreams have now been shattered in front of your very eyes. Where is the justice in this world? How did the International Cricket Council (ICC) clear him in the past only to go back on their previous statements? Are we ...

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Qadri Sahib, you cannot ‘rent’ your supporters!

Battered by the monsoon and baked by the sun, many Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) revolutionaries seem to be yearning to return home. Alas, they did not or probably could not read the fine print of the contract they signed with their political party. According to a BBC Urdu report, there is growing discontentment among a large number of protest participants who are, allegedly, not being allowed to go home. These include participants who were injured in the clashes with the police, and are ostensibly unfit to sit-in any longer. A young resident from Bahawalpur informed BBC that he’d been promised a sum of Rs6,000 to ...

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