Stories published in February, 2015

An autopsy of Pakistan’s World Cup blues

It has barely been a fortnight since the inauguration of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australasia and team Pakistan has already found itself in a position where a group stage exit looks probable. As expected, Pakistani fans have wasted no time in expressing their anger and disappointment at the team’s dismal and lacklustre outings against India and the West Indies. Criticism is on display in its many forms; from bashing Misbah and his boys on social media to burning effigies and staging mock funerals in the streets of Multan. Former players including Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have expressed ...

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I stand in solidarity with Patricia Arquette

I am not a huge fan of the Oscars because nothing interesting happens during it. It’s the same old show, but recycled every year. And the only reason I’d ever watch the Oscars is because of the pretty dresses showcased by celebrities on the red carpet. I love pretty dresses.   However, this past Sunday, the Oscars took a different turn; they actually became interesting. More and more celebrities were seen talking about rights; civil rights, women rights, immigrant rights, etcetera. From John Legend’s powerful speech on the fact that there are far more black men under correctional control today than they were under slavery in 1850 to Alejandro Gonzalez’s speech which,  after ...

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Pakistan, not a home for the children of war?

Having worked in newsrooms for nearly three years, I find it increasingly difficult to ignore a certain self-congratulatory attitude among Pakistani journalists. Every now and then, a chief justice takes notice of a rape story and our inboxes are flooded with emails of colleagues congratulating the hard working reporter who broke the story. Once, we even did a feature on how our story helped a rape victim get justice. It was so smug, it set off a round of emails critiquing such editorial decisions and such a feature thankfully never appeared again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s crucial that good journalism be recognised, for ...

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Anti-rape law amendment: Another victory for Pakistan

They say we have come a long way since the 80s – the fashions, the styles, the music, the technology. It seems like society is taking a giant leap forward when it comes to development and evolution given that the past couple of decades have been the ones that earmarked rapid changes in social progress. When it comes to women in Pakistan, however, the graph seems to be erratic and stunted at best. The 80s brought to the women of Pakistan a terrible code of injustice vis-à-vis the Hudood Ordinance, a retrogressive set of laws that we still have in place. Not ...

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Is dog culling inhumane?

We had a dog for more than a decade. My brother’s friend had a litter of four puppies but was chastised by his mother for overcrowding the house, and hence he was forced to give the pups away. Sunnu brought one of his pups to our house when it was only five-days-old. We had never had any pet before so it was a novelty for everyone, including our extended family. The pup was a cute, cuddly, fluff ball, all white with just a hint of black. Initially, we called him Snoopy, for a few days, as he would snoop around the house and sniff everything. However, Snoopy soon became ...

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It’s time for the ICC to revamp the World Cup format

The cricket World Cup 2015 is underway. Teams are strategising their wins, contemplating their losses and trying to find a way to be in the quarter-finals. Cricket followers around the globe are following this extravaganza match-by-match and it gets even more intense for them after every match ends. This is a flagship event of the International Cricket Council (ICC) but considering the importance of this tournament, I do not agree with its format. I think in its current state, the qualification of the top eight teams to the next round is a foregone conclusion, well before the tournament event starts. The format of the first four World Cups was ...

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Why the BBC’s Lyse Doucet failed to understand Pakistan

One normally doesn’t expect someone like the BBC’s Lyse Doucet to indulge in ‘parachute journalism’, so when I came across this rather odious report by her for BBC, I was kind of taken aback. (For those of you who are wondering what exactly this ‘parachute journalism’ is, it relates to foreign correspondents going to a foreign land – normally seen as ‘exotic’, or in Pakistan’s case ‘very violent’, ‘un-liveable’ and so on – for a very brief period and doing a report for a western audience based on that very short visit). When I first looked at the headline “Book ...

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Remembering Anwer Sultana with some Baisani roti and Afghani chuttney

Dill always reminds me of my Nani (maternal grandmother), Anwer Sultana. A couple of decades earlier, during winter vacations, all of us cousins would come down to Rawalpindi to spend winter breaks with our grandparents. Nani had a huge herb and vegetable garden at the back of the house. The garden always had one particular herb every winter – soy/dill. The shrub always grew taller than me, an eight-year-old back then, making me disappear in the dill patch while trying to catch ladybirds. The ladybirds too loved the perfumed dill as much as I did. Nani loved getting baisani (gram/chickpea floured) roti made at the tandoor (cylindrical clay oven) situated close by. ...

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How serious is the ISIS threat to South Asia?

Recent weeks have brought a bevy of news headlines attesting to the rising profile of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in South Asia. The group’s literature has circulated in Pakistan, and its flags have been spotted in Kashmir. Several Pakistani militant commanders expressed their allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Alleged ISIS recruiters were arrested in Pakistani and Indian cities. Officials in Afghanistan declared that ISIS is “active” in the country’s south. Most significantly, last month, ISIS’s spokesman officially announced the group’s expansion into what he identified as “Khorasan” — a region encompassing present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite all this, some observers, including those writing for the South Asia Channel, argue that ISIS ...

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Four reasons why sending Younus Khan as an opener is justifed

We have been seeing a lot of undue criticism directed towards the decision of choosing Younus Khan as an opener in the matches against India and West Indies. But if we were to take a moment and try to understand the decision, we would see that the management had sound reasons to choose Younus. His experience Younus was included in the squad on the basis of his Test performance, his overall experience and his ability to deal with pressure. All of these traits were needed to defeat India. Pakistan had to find an effective combination for its openers, so sending Younus ...

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