Stories published in November, 2014

Hanging by a thread – Liverpool’s Champions League hopes still hang in the balance

Having seen the worst possible starts from the once-mighty Reds since 1982 in the Premier League, the Merseyside giants travelled to the outskirts of Bulgaria to take on Ludogorets Razgrad with the hopes of securing their berth in the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition. The fact that the Bulgarian side – currently in their first Champions League campaign and with a record transfer fee of just $1.5million – stands tall in front of the Reds is a matter of concern for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who has been piled with criticism in the recent weeks for his ...

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2013 elections: Out with the allegations, in with the evidence

With another showdown between the government and Imran Khan on the horizon, it is important to revisit the root of the current strife; rigging in the general elections of 2013. While much has been said about this subject, we still appear to have people who are not correctly informed as to what happened, or is alleged to have happened, and what are the evidences to support such allegations. The crux of the arguments from the disinterested, misinformed commentators boils down to what I came across in an op-ed around two months ago. Basically that the agitators have neither, “ 1) A theory of how ...

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The kinds of people you will definitely encounter at Sunday Bazaar!

For those of you who are not from Karachi, Pakistan, and who do not know what Sunday Bazaar is, it is a huge open thrift market in the posh locality of Defence Phase 8. You will find anything and everything – bolts of luxurious fabrics, original oil paintings, fruits and vegetables, wicker baskets, leather jackets, second-hand books of all genres, used shoes and bags, disposed-off toys and electronics among many other things my brain refuses to do an inventory for. Essentially, it is a wholesale-cum-flea market which takes place on, you guessed it, Sundays only. And for those of ...

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RIP Phillip Hughes, you will always remain unbeaten on 63

With just one week left to his 26th birthday, Phillip Hughes left the cricketing world, leaving us shocked and saddened, after having fought bravely for three days. He incurred a head injury by a Sean Abbot bouncer in a freak incident during a Sheffield Shield match. At the age of 20, this miraculous country-side batsman made his way into the Australian Test side against South Africa at Johannesburg back in 2009. His very first fall in Test cricket on nought was on a bouncer bowled by Dale Steyn which he, in pursuit of slashing it over the slips, edged to Mark Boucher. South Africa thought they had found the weakness ...

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Is Pakistan ready to talk about sex?

I don’t want to jinx it, but there is a weekly call-in show on Health TV freely discussing a subject that has traditionally caused much controversy. Clinic Online is now taking callers’ questions pertaining to sexual health. This is a clear breakthrough, in a country whose schools deny the presence of reproductive organs in the human body and whose public healthcare professionals walk around eggshells trying to impart important information about preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Clinic Online on Health TV, featuring Dr Nazimuddin Siddiqui, invites callers to share their health concerns on-air, and offers helpful medical advice. The program clarifies its role as ‘advisory’, and does not sell itself ...

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Why didn’t the Pakistan embassy stand up for Assim Abbasi?

In 2004, I travelled to Belgium to visit my uncle who was residing and doing business there. I found the people to be very welcoming, the architecture was outstanding and, of course, the world-famous chocolate was delectable. So when news emerged this week of a Pakistani, Assim Abbasi, residing in Belgium being wrongfully identified as a crazed, fundamentalist gunman, when in fact, he was holding a cricket bat, sent out alarm and disbelief.  Understandably, emotions are running high following the attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels but the fact that the Belgian police and media failed to make the necessary checks meant an innocent ...

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India and Pakistan must stop playing with SAARCs future

So despite the extraordinary efforts of Nepal, host of the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, to ‘pull aside’ Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif to ‘crack the nut’ and ease tensions between the two South Asian neighbours, it appears that a meeting between the two leaders will not take place after all. Thanks to the belligerent and nonchalant ways of India and Pakistan, SAARC, as an organisation, finds itself at crossroads, faced with a crisis of identity and an inability to make an impact on the people of the member countries. Even after almost four decades of its existence, it, ...

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Do human rights activists hate Imran Khan because he is not a leftist?

The young girl who works as domestic help for me said, “Baji, do you know why our men don’t want Imran Khan to come into power? It is because they are scared that women in the villages will gain strength if he becomes our prime minister. Already, he supports women standing up for their rights. The jalsas are a proof of this. But we will make sure he wins. We are by his side.” This was the morning after Imran gave an inspiring and honest talk from his container as PTI celebrated “Justice for Women Day”. I had heard that Pakistan ...

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The problem with “collateral damage” in a “surgical air-strike”

The questioning gaze of that drone victim, who lost one of his family members – with eight others injured – on the fateful day of October 24, 2012, in a drone strike at South Waziristan, still haunts my memory every time a new strike occurs. Just today, four more people were killed in North Waziristan; they too shall be termed as “collateral damage” of a “precise air-strike” against “terrorists” hiding in the “safe havens”, and forgotten or not even talked about as individual human beings in the first place. When will this loss of innocent human life stop? Who will make the American government accountable for this ...

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Can the Pakistani education system stop catering to political agendas please?

The issue of school curriculum has been under discussion in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for some time now. The 18th Amendment devolved the education sector to the provinces but that has yet to bear fruit, since the leaders who have decided to take up the responsibility of planning a ‘better’ future for the youth of K-P still need to achieve some constructive results. Playing its ‘due’ role, the coalition government in the province wants to change what is being taught to children at schools. The changes desired are within the lines of ‘religious’ and ‘national’ teachings, according to the members. They want chapters on national heroes like Bacha Khan ...

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