Stories published in October, 2014

Is the New Silk Road really an economic corridor for China and Pakistan?

While the world is busy tackling the ISIS and its look-alikes in the Middle East, China, on the other hand, has other plans to chase. One such plan is reviving the centuries old Silk Route, or the New Silk Road – a series of routes that were important in the past for cultural interactions and trade between the East and the West. As part of this revival, China recently announced working on a high speed train from Lanzhou to Urumqi, capital of the troubled Xinjiang province. It is also rumoured that the train may, in future, reach out to regional states including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, along with ...

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Diwali in Pakistan, through pictures

The first day of Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights – was celebrated at Krishna temple in Rawalpindi yesterday. As a budding photojournalist and having many friends who belong to minority sects, I feel passionately about the state of affairs of the Pakistani minorities. I was, therefore, thrilled to be part of the annual Diwali celebrations for the first time. The warm, friendly and hospitable atmosphere at the temple made my stay extremely exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed covering this colourful celebration. Here are a few highlights of my unique experience: 1) A girl performs the ‘pooja’ ritual before the Hindu deity Lord Krishna. ...

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My secret admirer

The doorbell rang. It was 2pm and I was preparing food for lunch. It was almost time for my 15-year-old son, Omar, to come back from school. Wiping away sweat from my forehead with my left sleeve, I rushed towards the entrance. But there was nobody there; just a small package tied with a red ribbon-flower. I was shocked for a second. It wasn’t any special occasion that I could recall neither was it anyone’s birthday at home or any sort of anniversary. I picked it up. It had my name written on it but the box had no name of ...

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Can Saad Haroon be the ‘Funniest Person in the World’?

Comedian Saad Haroon has been making people laugh for over 10 years now, and he now stands on the cusp of achieving something truly great. Saad is representing Pakistan in the finals of the inaugural ‘Funniest Person in the World’ competition and this weekend saw him perform in front of legendary comedians at Los Angeles’ ‘Laugh Factory’ – a venue that has hosted top performers such as Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Robin Williams. It was wonderful to see Saad don a sherwani for his semi-final performance and to entertain an American audience with quips about biryani and the hospitality of Asian parents. Ahead ...

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El Clásico2014: Clash of the titans, Real Madrid vs Barcelona

There are rivalries like Liverpool versus Manchester United, like AC Milan versus Inter Milan, like Pakistan versus India, and, let us say, like Imran Khan versus Nawaz Sharif. They are fierce. They are violent, and of course amazing to watch. But when juxtaposed with El Clásico: Real Madrid versus Barcelona, they are nothing. Absolutely nothing. The ultimate rivalry between the world’s two wealthiest and most successful clubs is considered to be the most ferocious, most passionate and most followed sporting contest throughout the whole globe. There is violence. There is vandalism. There is vehemence. And these are only the Vs. There is shoving, pulling, red-card-showing, grabbing, shouting abuses and ...

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Is ‘Annabelle’ a copy-cat?

Annabelle was eagerly awaited on grounds of being the prequel to what is being called one of the best haunted-house movies ever. While The Conjuring was laden with original concepts and a spooky aureole, Annabelle, though not a bad horror flick, failed to live up to the expectations. Of course, with a great movie like The Conjuring already on board, expectations ran high but Annabelle did no justice to the masterpiece it followed. The movie isn’t bad. But it does not deliver the hair-raising spooks and flabbergasting little wisps of instantaneous shock that its predecessor did so well. While its parent film, The Conjuring, had sudden bursts of fright with its “clap, clap”, Annabelle had ...

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Give Renee Zellweger a break!

It’s a fast-paced world where things keep changing by the minute. Thus, it naturally creates a more competitive environment that we thrive in. Everywhere you go, everyone is trying to keep up with others and trying to be something that is better than what they were moments ago. It’s the era of technology outpacing itself. And it has translated into our life in ways we pay no heed to, and even if we do, we try our best to ignore it and be oblivious. As predicted, when Renee Zellweger stepped out onto the red carpet of Elle magazine’s 2014 Women in Hollywood ...

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Would the verdict have been different if Pistorius was black?

The judgment has come and there are no surprises in it for anyone. We have all been anticipating this judgement since the trial began. A woman was murdered by her celebrity boyfriend; it’s a simple case where the chances of justice being served exist as much as making a ‘Naya Pakistan’. The trial was fun though; it provided all of us the chance to savour the live court drama in the safety of our TV lounge. This live reality show covered the drama featuring Pistorius, a double amputee reliving the scene with his bat, tears rolling down his cheeks as a sign of “negligence” and ...

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Living with polio in Pakistan

“I always wanted to study but my dream to get higher education remained just that, a dream. I was unable to complete my Matric because of my disability. It would pain me immensely to see girls who were with me in school going to college and making something of themselves.” Maria, while wiping her tears, was discussing the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s new scheme regarding free education for the disabled. Maria is 32-years-old and is a resident of Gulbahar in Peshawar. She was diagnosed with polio when she was one-year-old, soon after she got her polio vaccination. She is currently living with her brother ...

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The spectacular, Oscar de la Renta

Gentlemen, gallant, extraordinary. These are the words which come to mind when Oscar de la Renta is mentioned. A man so great, he could make ordinary women feel extraordinary in his creations. With an experience in fashion which would be any budding designers dream résumé, Mr de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in the early 30s. He moved to Spain at the age of 19 where he worked with Balenciaga, followed by an offer to work at Christian Dior. He turned down the proposition to work at Lanvin for two years, eventually making his way to America. In the land of ...

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