Stories published in December, 2014

Will we ever hold Aamir Liaquat accountable for spewing hate?

December 25th has always been an important day for Pakistan. It was on December 25th that our founder – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was born. Officially dubbed Jinnah’s day, many celebrate it by remembering Jinnah’s enduring struggle for freedom and equal rights for the minority Muslim community within United India. Jinnah’s selfless struggle was driven by a passionate sense of respect for human freedom and equality. He dreamt of a state where there was no discrimination, one that stood firm on the values of tolerance, acceptance and pluralism. It is well known that Ahmadis played a very prominent role in the creation of ...

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Holding the government and army accountable

On December 18th, when news first broke that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a top leader of the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and accused mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, was going to be released on bail, frenzy ensued. The Indian media exploded, and was quick to compare this development with the Indian show of unity with Pakistan following the Peshawar massacre; pundits denounced it as a case of the same old. However, something else happened on December 18th. The news quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter and Pakistanis across the country, as well as overseas, were quick to respond and express ...

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If Ghalib was alive in 2014…

We curse him while trying to cram verses from Deewan-e-Ghalib into our heads for our Urdu literature exams. We study him because we have been told to but if – by some miraculous, unfortunate realignment of the stars – Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, or Ghalib, was alive in 2014 rather than the 19th century, I am sure he would have been found hiding under the deck of a boat trying to escape to Australia. The first charge levied against him would have been of being an Indian agent; he was born in Agra after all. Anchors would appear on television with proof of ...

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The cyclical nature of the War on Terror

Acts of ‘terror’ have been permeating through our televisions screens and newspapers in the West to the extent that we now seem to be surrounded by them. The ‘war on terror’ makes ‘us’ in the West feel safe, but what is almost never considered is how ‘our’ safety affects the lives of the ‘others’ we aim to destroy. In the wake of the horrific Peshawar school attack that killed 141 people, many of whom were children, the international community rallied against the attackers. What remained unexplored were the factors that led to the attack to begin with. What were the motivations ...

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Ghalib, with angels as his muses

Mirza Asadullah Khan chose possibly the most apt pen name for himself – Ghalib – meaning dominant. He rules the world of poetry of the Indian subcontinent to date. Greats like Faiz have taken pride in looking up to him. Centuries later, he continues to be the muse for millions. “Koi ummeed barr naheen aati   Koi soorat nazar naheen aati…” (There is no hope to be found, There is no way out to be sought) A Long Play (LP), or a 33 1⁄3 rpm vinyl record, that my father had bought from a trip to London was titled “Lata sings Ghalib”. Often, Abba would play ...

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Seven years after Benazir Bhutto, PPP becomes a ‘Zardari’ party

Today we observe the seventh death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto – Pakistan’s first female prime minister and a woman of extraordinary talent. Since her first tenure as prime minister, we saw how she took charge of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and led it through thick and thin. However, seven years later, if we take a look at her party now, we will see that a lot has changed. For instance, PPP workers are still not sure who their party’s leader is. Even though Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was made party chairman soon after Benazir’s tragic death, he remained away from the political circus because of ...

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Leaving The Hobbit 3 with teary-eyes and a sense of closure

The Battle of the Five Armies is the latest iteration in The Hobbit series; it concludes the journey of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) which began from The Shire in the first part of the movie trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in a spectacular but saddening note. The director and co-writer, Peter Jackson has a lot riding on this movie. Not only does this movie have to stand on its own as a pure entertainment chartbuster for the casual moviegoers, but with regards to the larger JRR Tolkien’s fictional world and its devoted, almost cult-like fan base, ...

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In Arsène we still trust?

Arsène Wenger is under projection of momentous censure as the Gunners suffered their third defeat in the Premier League, at home, to rivals Manchester United. Arsenal slid down to the eighth position in the league table after a 2-1 loss, which in turn strengthened the opponents and dealt the home side a crushing defeat. Despite consistent attempts to cross the score line, the Gunners were ultimately unable to make an impact, and succeeded in disappointing their fans. Criticism against the manager has grown stronger and he is now a victim to vicious remarks. With Arsenal’s record being kept in mind, it is evident that they have yet to ...

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Aao Parhao – Why I chose teaching over a ‘dream job’

Teaching students at the college and high school levels has been a constant in my life since I graduated from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2011. Apart from working as a sub-editor at The Express Tribune in the year 2011-12, I was also teaching Sociology as a part-time faculty member. I have chosen to continue with the latter occupation for a variety of reasons. I went into teaching because I was inspired by John Dewey and his work on the education system in Turkey, whereby he completely reformulated the country’s education system according to the demands of the modern world. Not only ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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