Stories published in February, 2015

If a Pakistani went to Mars…

Reginald Foulds is ready to go on a one-way trip to Mars. His dream may be a step closer as he is amongst the final 100 candidates chosen by Mars One, a private organisation that is planning on sending humans to Mars by 2025. This is indeed impressive. Initial applications for this Mars trip numbered close to 200,000. He is now the only Pakistani left in the pool. A retired helicopter pilot of the Pakistan Air Force, Foulds has a one in four chance of being picked for the ambitious, first human settlement on the red planet. If selected, he will be pushing 70 by ...

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Will Ukraine benefit from the Minsk deal?

Seven days ago, when Russian, German and French leaders, accompanied by the Ukrainian and Belorussian president, met in Minsk, a deal was signed to provide Eastern Ukraine with a glimmer of hope for peace. Eastern Ukraine, soon after the pro-Russian rebel uprising last year, had started circling an orbit that was destined for chaos and failure. Even with last year’s Western sanctions, aimed at constraining Russia from supporting rebels, things were not improving in the region as the rebels were marching towards government held territories. But with this recent deal, coming on the back of last year’s failed accord, can there be hope for peace in Eastern ...

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India to Pakistan: Telling sore losers they’re beautiful

While it’s true that we Pakistanis are robustly enthusiastic about cricket and winning, it is also true that we are sour losers. A loss in cricket makes us sulk. A loss in cricket against India makes us downright treacherous to our own country. While we licked our wounds after the match on Sunday, we looked around social media for any glimpse of hope that could redeem our burnt self-esteems. The Indian cricket team captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said, “We should not forget that Pakistan has a better overall record than us. They are a fantastic side and it is never easy to beat them.” Thanks Dhoni. ...

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Is ISIS funded by Israel? Does that even matter?

 “Let our position be absolutely clear, any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force” – President Jimmy Carter, State of the Union address 1980. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three mightiest religions on the globe… and then there is oil. The American interest in the region is obvious; the American clout in the region is obvious; the American biases in the region are obvious and ...

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Pakistan vs West Indies: The unpredictable duo

When you walk into the world famous wax museum Madame Tussauds in London, there are only two cricketing figures standing – Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. There is no Wasim Akram, no Ricky Ponting, no other cricketer deemed worthy enough to be immortalised for all of history. Such was the grandeur of the West Indies team in years past that references are still made, records still intact and trophies still proudly on display. Much like the Pakistan cricket team, their glory days are behind them and the young men on the pitch are falling to shambles relentlessly trying to emulate that which is no more. Enigmatic and ...

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The 87th Academy Awards: And the nominees are…

As the Academy Awards inch closer, everyone is full of excitement, already trying to predict who the winners will be. The Oscar statuette still stands out as the greatest acknowledgment for the art of film making since 1929. Apart from complaints about the complete absence of racial diversity in the nominations, there are quite a few thrilling movies this year which, in terms of art and film-making, make the Oscars as diversified as one can imagine. Here are the nominations for 2015: Whiplash Photo: IMDb Whiplash had the lowest budget out of all the Oscar nominations. It is an astounding display of the ...

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One small step for Sheikh al-Khaibari, one giant leap for mankind

Once upon a time, far away, long ago… These are the words with which I was tempted to begin today, before I was told off by a friend for being overly cynical and unable to look at the bright side, the silver lining, the beautiful butterflies that the caterpillars currently infesting my lemon trees will one day become, etcetera. For her sake, I will take optimism by the hand today and see how far the yellow brick road goes. My quest today is to make sense of the latest in absurdity that the glorious Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia has to offer. For ...

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This is NOT sectarian violence, it is Shia genocide

Another imambargah attacked in Islamabad leaving several Shias dead and injured. In the last two weeks, this is the third such incident, fourth overall in 2015 and it is only February. This is only the latest attack in a long line of attacks that have taken place. From 2001 to now, thousands of Shias have been killed in terrorist attacks across Pakistan. Through it all, governments continued to tolerate extremist groups and even gave them space in mainstream politics. The pace of these frightening attacks has picked up. One would have thought that the regular attacks would have pricked social conscience into recognising the on-going Shia genocide, ...

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Why is PML-N allowing foreign funding for Pakistani madrassas?

Funding for religious seminaries in Pakistan has always been a difficult topic to cover. For one, most seminaries are unregistered, making it difficult to deduce the exact source of their funding. Even when seminaries are registered, questioning the source of funding remains a no-go area because of the sensitive topic of religion. Being the country’s largest province by population, the presence of a large number of religious seminaries in Punjab, both registered and unregistered, is natural. Eyebrows have always been raised when it comes to the influence of religious seminaries based in the province, but the source of funding received by ...

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UEFA Champions League returns with a thrill of emotions

It’s the mid of February, which means the knockout stages of the Champions League, and the ride to the final match – which will be held in Berlin on June 6th – is just round the corner. And I am sure that it would be nothing less than thrilling. Before the league officially begins, I think it would be a good idea to look at all the teams and assess their chances at winning. So here goes: Schalke 04 versus Real Madrid Schalke got a run for their money when they played Real Madrid the round of 16 ties last season, losing 6-1 ...

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