Stories published in January, 2015

If you are an unmarried Pakistani, you cannot visit Sweden

“Sweden will no longer issue visas to Pakistani citizens unless they are visiting a close relative or are married with children.” Apparently, even ‘tourism’ related purposes are not permitted. Obviously, none of this makes a part of their official press release; they wouldn’t want bad press attention for this racist policy, now would they? This brings me to the purpose of my blog today. I have had many Swedish friends for years and one of them visited me in Lahore, Pakistan, in December 2013. He still remembers my mother’s parathay and liked Pakistani food better than most of what he has eaten in ...

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Did Pakistan really top the ‘porn-searching’ list?

Pakistan (also referred to as ‘Pornistan’ in recent time) has topped the list of Porn-searching countries in the world yet again, as revealed by news website Salon. That’s not it – it gets even more disturbing when the story states that, “It leads the way in porn searches for animals like pigs, donkeys, cats, dogs and snakes.” Snakes? Are you kidding me?! I really wouldn’t want to get into the details of that. Following us, on the list, were countries like Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This list insinuates that Muslim countries are goldmines for porn companies and sites. Today, however, I will not ...

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Pakistani Twitterati took on the #PetrolShortage and here is what happened

Already frustrated by crippling electricity and gas shortages, Pakistanis now have another crisis on their hands. This time around, Pakistanis are standing in mammoth queues just to secure a drop of petrol. The ‘petrol crisis’, as it is being referred, brought to light some interesting and entertaining observations on the country’s favourite government-bashing platform: Twitter. Three hashtags are currently being used to respond to the petrol shortage in the country; #PMLNpetrolchor was the top trend, with it being used over 19,500 times in the past 24 hours and #PetrolShortage and #SherBanoSher were each tweeted nearly 6,000 times since yesterday. We look at how people reacted: This @Reuters report ...

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‘Half Girlfriend’ only half satisfying

“Classes can wait. Love can’t.” Chetan Bhagat almost never fails to induce a million “aww” moments into his readers’ experiences with his stories. The writer, who gained immense fame and glory for his best-selling novel Two States (also turned into a movie), is everything one associates with love and drama. Half Girlfriend is Bhagat’s newest contribution to romance and literature, and most definitely, Indian cinema. Based on the life-changing events in two people’s lives, the novel promises a flush of contemporary Bollywood. The story revolves around Madhav and Riya, who are people from Mars and Venus, literally. Madhav, being a small town Bihari boy, finds it hard to ...

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Is Messi getting ready to pack his bags and leave Barcelona?

The year 2015 hasn’t started so well for the 27-years-old Argentinean, Lionel Messi, who lost the Ballon d’Or award to his rival, Ronaldo. Last year, however, was a great year for Messi; from becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in La Liga (and in the history of the UEFA Champions League with 72 goals) breaking Raul Gozalez’s record, to captaining his Argentinean side in the FIFA World Cup, making it to the final against the World Cup Champions, Germany, he had done it all. Messi, who has been a Barcelona player through the academy ranks and made his debut in 2004, has been ...

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12 things the media should have highlighted when a 5-year-old was murdered in Lahore

Having worked on child rights issues and more specifically against child sexual abuse, a highly prevalent and often not talked about menace of the society, for the last 16 years, the sad and tragic incident of the rape and murder of a five-year-old earlier this month in Lahore, did not come as a shock to me. However, what did come as a shock and disappointment was how the media missed the opportunity to highlight, through its vast network, the importance of educating children, parents and caregivers about the issue of child sexual abuse; the need for strong and effective legislation against child sexual ...

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Did Cinderella really want to marry Prince Charming?

“It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time, for we are bound by that, but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.” – T S Elliot She is mean, she is nasty, and she is a step-mother. The little boy looked at her and thought, “What did I ever do to deserve this? She has taken my father and finds joy in mistreating me, but one day it will all be happy.” The little boy had nothing to eat; he would go without eating real food for days. He would ...

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Can Pakistanis rise to the occasion?

It’s been a while since I last visited Pakistan; long enough that the kids I knew have now grown up to become functional, responsible adults. The friends I made are descending into the middle-age bracket. Many of the relations I had have either passed or are in the late stages of their lives. In a nutshell, a tremendous amount of transition and transformation has taken place as far as my personal life, as well as those I left behind, is concerned. I keep a close eye on a regular basis, thanks to the great tools of technology, on how the Pakistani ...

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Does David Cameron want to spy on the companies spying on us?

David Cameron recently pledged to potentially block encrypted online messaging platforms such as Whatsapp and iMessage. He claimed that the British government should not have to tolerate companies that encrypt their users’ data to the extent that even the national security agencies could not access user communications. While this proposed idea by Cameron might seem radical at first, it is more of a tactical ploy out of frustration in an effort to gain bargaining power over the companies. And this is not exclusive to England alone. Commercial entities such as Whatsapp currently take information from consumers without knowledge or meaningful voluntary consent. These companies ...

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60 years ago Saadat Hasan Manto knew what Pakistan was in for today

“I have seen him;  On the cleanest roads, in a dust-covered amazement;  In the gathering storm of blind, overturned cups; Tossing the empty bottle he shouts, ‘Oh world! Your beauty is your ugliness.’  Booms becoming the noise of chains, The world stares back at him, Their bloodshot eyes rattle with the question, ‘Who nabs the pillar of time, By the noose of his drunken breath? Who dares to break into dim corridors, Of twisted conscience? Who intrudes upon poisonous dens, Of demonised souls? Through icy glasses his rude glance, Chases us like a footfall, Foul monster! Bang! Bang!” (A poem for Manto – Majeed Amjad) The man who saw beauty in the world’s ugliness and for whom this poem ...

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