Stories published in February, 2015

Has Pakistan forgotten its sense of humour?

Pakistan lost against India in their opening World Cup match, but that did not affect the love I have for my team. My support does not depend on them winning or losing. Having seen all the criticism directed at our team, I couldn’t help but wonder what the morale of our team must have been. I mean, realistically speaking, three of our key players, Saeed Ajmal, Muhammad Hafeez and Umar Gul aren’t playing. That will obviously affect the outcome of our team. That isn’t an excuse, the fact that until the very beginning of the World Cup, our team was relying ...

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An interview with Moazzam Husain: We ‘discovered’ iron ore – what now?

While serving on the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, Moazzam Husain led a small team of experts, businessmen and stakeholders to develop a technical and commercial strategy to harness Punjab’s iron ore resources. The first draft of that road-map was published in April 2010. Then following further rigorous consultations in August 2010, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved the strategy for implementation. I caught up with Mr Moazzam Husain in Karachi to discuss the recent developments around Punjab iron ore. Moazzam Husain Erum Shaikh (ES): According to media reports, the Punjab iron ore resources were identified decades ago. Yet ...

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They came, they saw, they terrorised, and we are doing nothing about it

The screeches of the motorcycles were loud enough to announce their blustering arrival; the cadres jumped from their vehicles, blocked the PIDC Bridge and parked their wheelers in the middle of the road. The traffic was halted; bystanders ran away from the spot, local food vendors hurriedly shut their stalls. It was pretty much evident; a sudden panic had conquered the street, which just a minute ago was running normal. Irrespective of the diverse ethnicities present in the area, an unexplainable fear was shared by all. This took place on February 5th, 2015, in the metropolis of Karachi. Interestingly, the group which organised the rally was declared ...

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Tables turning: Is Ali Enterprise looking for an ‘escape route’ from the Baldia inferno?

It is great to see a political leader like Imran Khan come out loud and clear against the activities of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a party which, without a doubt, runs Karachi. The allegation of MQM’s involvement in targeted killings and extortion is common knowledge. But having said that, it is very important to understand that even if it is accepted that MQM was involved in the Baldia factory arson, the employers, that is Ali Enterprises, cannot (and should not) be absolved of  their responsibility towards the factory workers. Their negligence in providing a fool-proof work environment to the workers, eventually leading to such a huge loss of human ...

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Is letting immigrants into the US un-American?

Immigration is a highly painful subject in America, and has been instrumental in polarising the already divided public opinion. President Obama has time and again promised to deal with the issue but has encountered strong opposition from various quarters, especially the Republicans and those on the far right. While politics in Washington is a messy business and it is nothing but miraculous to find the Congress actually being able to get something done, the president has incessantly worked hard for immigration reform. Soon after late last year’s House and Senate defeats at the hands of the Republics, Obama, a Democrat, decided to break the immigration ...

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What I saw at the Pakistan vs India match in Adelaide

I didn’t sleep last Saturday night. Call it excitement, anticipation of victory or simple enthusiasm; words just cannot describe what I felt that night. I had reached Adelaide the day before, after boarding a 12-hour-long flight, and even though the exhaustion was formidable, anyone on Hindley Street on the night of February 14, 2015, will tell you that it was worth it. Picture the eve before Eid if you are a Muslim, Diwali if you are a Hindu or Christmas if you are a Christian, and multiply the excitement by 10 times – that’s the level of exhilaration I felt that night. ...

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Lahore blast: When will the barbarity end?

February 17, 2015. Two months and one day after the unimaginable tragedy of the Peshawar Attack, Lahore has been targeted today. Today, at 1pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up right outside the Police Lines in Lahore. So far, as reports have suggested, there have been about eight causalities but the number is expected to rise. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and other prominent buildings. The city has been struck by terror by once again. Only yesterday, I came across the video of the attack in the mosque in Hayatabad, Peshawar. The video sent shivers up my spine. Every gunshot ...

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Dear Federer, why would you choose to #BleedBlue?

Hi Roger, You know, I’ve never picked up a tennis racket in my entire life. Nor had I watched much tennis until my mother made me watch Wimbledon, in Karachi, in 2006.  She wanted me to root for Rafa (Rafael Nadal), whom she adores. But I became totally mesmerised by you instead. As David Foster Wallace would later say about you, “Just to see, close up, power and aggression made vulnerable to beauty is to feel inspired.” And boy was I inspired. Roger Federer at the O2 in London. Photo: AFP I started following tennis for the aesthetic high of watching you play. And ...

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Fifty Shades of (messed up) Grey

Never before have character names from a book become even more accurate in a film adaptation until now. The sky in his world is grey, the ties are grey, his surname is the epitome of Grey and Jamie Dornan’s rendering of the multimillionaire Christian Grey is sadly greyer than dull dish water. Based on the ubiquitous global phenomenon that has caused many a curiosity impaired reader of the first book to say how badly written it is and yet bizarrely proceed to read the other two books in EL James’ erotic romance trilogy, this first film, Fifty Shades of Grey follows very normal Anastasia Steele (Dakota ...

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Pakistan versus India: And the jinx continues…

Well it was 8am that the subcontinent started to get abuzz with the excitement surrounding the clash between Pakistan and India in the World Cup. There always is a different kind of excitement whenever the two teams face off. Sometimes it ends in player’s houses being attacked in India and sometimes it ends in brawls in Sydney. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain – there are a lot of emotions involved in the clash of the titans of the subcontinent. (I highly doubt that Pakistan can be called a titan as of today but it sounds catchy ...

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