Stories published in December, 2014

The Pakistani dream: A kingdom in heaven

On 16-12-14 the Taliban struck at the very heart of Pakistan. They plucked our children one by one while we watched in a catatonic fix, struck by disbelief that the enemy had entered our homes. But why the surprise when they have been rapping at our doors? We remained deaf, blissfully unaware. In June earlier this year, the Global Coalition for the Protection of Education Against Attack pointed out nearly 800 such incidents at educational institutions in Pakistan from 2009 to 2012. A grenade explosion at a government high school in Bannu took place in November, preceded by the bombing of a school bus in Khurrum Agency that claimed ...

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Liverpool’s bandaged hero provides some solace for Brendan Rodgers

Philippe Coutinho gave the lead to the Reds, but it was Martin Skrtel who took the headlines with his header in the stoppage time, which preserved a point for Liverpool after trailing Arsenal 2-1 throughout the second half. Liverpool drew first blood as the Brazilian scored in the 45th minute after the home side had dominated possession (80% in the opening 30 minutes) in the first half. But, as we’ve seen before, Liverpool succumbed to yet another set-piece goal when Arsenal centre-back Mathieu Debuchy overcame Skrtel to head home the equaliser. Photo: AFP The second half kicked ...

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Noor Jehan: The undisputed queen of melody

Today is the 14th death anniversary of Malika-e-Tarannum Madam Noor Jehan. Yes, it’s been 14 long years since South Asia’s queen of melody left us all, after she suffered from a prolonged ailment, at the age of 74. Famous for her silken saris, bold eye make-up, unique hairstyles and glittering diamonds, Noor Jehan’s melodious voice touched millions and created a matchless blend of vocal gestures and emotional expressions, which interpreted feelings in a very surreal way. A legendary singer, all her musical performances have a distinct manipulation and creation of vocal articulation, all done according to the standards of style and genre of every ...

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Imran Khan: Always a crowd pleaser

It was September 22nd of last year; one of the blackest days in the history of Pakistan. It was a day when the Taliban targeted a church in Peshawar with a pair of suicide bombers who ripped through a congregation 500 strong. The savage destruction that followed resulted in the death of over 78 Pakistanis with nearly 150 wounded. It was an act of terror in every sense of the word, and casualties included both women and children. We watched in horror on our television screens as tragic images of injured Pakistani worshipers flooded news channels. At first glance the aftermath resembled a butcher shop, ...

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Reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty!

As a legal and human rights defenders’ community, we should condemn the Peshawar attack and express solidarity with the victims. However, lifting the moratorium and executing prisoners on death row will not eliminate the threat of terrorism and militancy or make us safer. It will be another step towards eradicating the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens.  Shafqat Hussain’s case has nothing to do with terrorism and seems more like a public relations gesture to appease public outrage at the heinous and barbaric attack of December 16th. As Reprieve points out, Hussain is of poor background, and was 14-years-old at the time of the offence. ...

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Racing towards prejudice: “Those Muslim terrorists are killing innocent people…”

“Those Muslim terrorists are killing innocent people…” I don’t even remember the rest of his sentence. Those words stunned me for a minute. But even as my ears started ringing, I took a couple of deep breaths telling myself,  “He doesn’t know what he is talking about. There is no use pointing out his poor choice of words.” It is ironic that this happened in a class where our 73-year-old African-American Professor, himself a victim of racism, had been teaching us how to recognise the various forms of racism in America that are present even today. “I just want to share an observation”, ...

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Game of Thrones versus House of Cards, who will bag the Golden Globe?

As per the Greek mythos, Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships. By the same token, collectively, two of the most popular drama series Game of Thrones and House of Cards have created a plethora of die-hard fans, countless memes and memorable one-liners from the two drama series.  If one was to find a singular commonality between the two drama series, it will be the pursuit of seeking absolute power. While, House of Cards frequently chronicles and portrays the journey of its main character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), in the corridors of power in Washington DC ,  Game of Thrones, on the other hand, ...

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India needs to stop complaining

The second Test match between hosts Australia and India was another tale of flop for the Indian captain MS Dhoni, outside their home grounds. The wicketkeeper-batsman, leading the men in blue, wrapped up a box of complaints and presented it in the post-match press conference by saying that the Decision Review System (DRS) is not accurate, umpiring decisions were not consistent and the practice pitches at Gabba were ‘uneven’ for practice which resulted in Shikhar Dhawan’s injury on the fourth day of the match. While pointing out the not-so-important stuff, the Indian World Cup winning captain forgot that his team has a habit of falling like ...

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No guts, no glory, no brain, same story

Being Hamlet Every time she’s invited to a social event, she finds herself in a little bit of a dilemma. Mind you, she is very social, loves chatting with a crowd and is popularly thought to be the life of a party. But the decision making to go, or not to go, to an event always weighs heavy on her mind. It would have been easier if the decision to not attend the party had been taken a couple of days after the invite was received and regrets had been offered to the host, rather than a last minute excuse on ...

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The cost of silence

The nation is in shock after the events of the Peshawar school attack. Even for a country that has seen its fair share of violence, the tragedy that occurred was unbelievable. After becoming aware of what had happened, I sat in silence, overcome with grief, contemplating questions such as ‘Why had this happened?’ and ‘Who would do such a thing?’ But it became clear to me that perhaps I was going about it all wrong. I was trying to make sense of a situation that could never make sense. What reason could ever justify the killing of over a hundred innocent school children? ...

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