Stories published in March, 2015

By destroying relics, ISIS is committing the greatest blasphemy

Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) destroyed an ancient Christian monastery which has been described as the equivalent of Canterbury Cathedral. ISIS have allegedly blown up the monastery of Mar Behnam near the town of Qaraqosh built by Assyrian king Sanharib. pic.twitter.com/9XC5TD9k0G — EnaLolena (@EnaLolena) March 19, 2015 Just weeks earlier, it raided Mosul Museum and filmed themselves destroying all the relics on show, including priceless, irreplaceable Assyrian statues. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2i9583 This is a throwback to the infamous episode of when the Taliban destroyed the ancient great Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in 2001. The rationalisation is the same. In typical Wahhabi-inspired nonsense, ...

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Dear ICC, so what if Wahab Riaz blew a kiss at Shane Watson?

Wahab Riaz and his legendary bowling spell against Shane Watson have touched a chord with cricket fans all over the world. Riaz has made us realise that, in this world of powerplays and fielding restrictions, bowlers can also put on a show that “oohs” and “aahs” hundreds of millions of viewers. The fast-bowler needed just a few overs to demonstrate that a well placed bouncer is just as entertaining as a well timed sixer. The aggressive interaction between Riaz and Watson also showed how there is so much more to cricket than just bowling and batting. Pakistani cricketer ...

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(Not) The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Director cum screenwriter Michael Hoffman, who previously directed The Last Station, Some Girls and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is back after a couple of years’ break to entice moviegoers. This time, he brings a highly romantic as well as tear-jerking drama movie, The Best of Me. Based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, the movie is a perfect illustration of Sparks’s literary style with mandatory rudiments such as infidelity, loss, pain and sincerity. It all begins when ex-lovers Dawson Cole (James Marsden) and Amanda Collie (Michele Monaghan) reunite in Louisiana town after 20 years at the funeral of a mutual friend, Tuck (Gerald McRaney). This reunion offers them a ...

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Becoming Pakistani… again

Moving is never easy. Moving away from your home country is, well… at first, the thought of a brand new place, unknown people and fresh experiences feels thrilling and even dangerous. You approach your new home wearing rose-coloured glasses and a surprising determination to discover everything. But then, after the rush of giddy excitement fades, the transatlantic adjustment simply feels tiring. It is a relief to know that you have a home to go back to, somewhere with familiar smells and sounds, with friendly faces and with people who speak in the same accent you do and who understand your ...

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Wahab Riaz can fill Misbah’s shoes

Pakistan’s World Cup campaign came to an end yesterday, and while many expected the Aussies to emerge victorious, very few had expected Wahab Riaz to put up a fight the way he did. Photo: AFP Pakistan’s batting and fielding proved to be the biggest shortcoming yesterday, yet again, and defending a measly total of 213 proved too much for the bowlers this time. While Australia managed to dominate most of the match, there was a short spell of 12 overs or so when this was not the case. In a single spell of six overs, Wahab showcased an epic display of fast-bowling which had ...

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From the Terrible 20s to the Naughty 40s

I started to take stock of my life towards the last leg of my 30s. I recently approached my 40s and something inside me changed. Living in a world where we typically highlight milestones like our entry into adolescence, pre-teen years, and teenage years, people seem to think that once you are done with your 20s, it is all bound to go downhill. I learnt that my 40s are my walk uphill; challenging yet rewarding. I realised that the “duty calls” part of me had to sit back on the side seat and the driving seat had to be occupied by the “nurturer” in me. What ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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Why am I speaking for Shafqat Hussain?

A day before Shafqat Hussain was scheduled to be hanged on March 19th, I released a video called “How were you like when you were 14?” as my contribution to the #SaveShafqat campaign trending online.

Shafqat has completed his five-year prison term for involuntary manslaughter. Yes, there are no murder charges against him. He was originally convicted for murder by the trial court but the High Court in appeal overturned same in 2007. Shafqat now faces death only on one count – kidnapping for ransom. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 passed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government was designed in a way to ...

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Everything I hate about the Pakistani fashion industry

If you are a young struggling female journalist in Pakistan with big dreams of reporting stories that matter, you will probably spend a few years reporting all the stories that don’t matter! Among all those literary masterpieces you pen will be an array of pieces on: Designers who have made it big Designers who have not made it big but have a great PR agency The 4363778 lawn launches Fashion “weeks” that are three-days long You will get to meet loads of glazed out designers and hear them talk about a lawn jora like it’s the cure for cancer. You’ll learn to thoosofy the words “sartorial”, “quirky”, “edgy” and “aesthetic” in every headline. For instance: “Designer (insert Bawani, Hashwani, ...

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#ThankyouMisbah and #ThankyouAfridi – You will be missed!

“It looks bad. Who will save the middle-order now?” “Don’t worry, Misbah is still about to play.” “Oh man! The strike rate is so low! We are definitely losing this.” “I am counting on Afridi. He can save the game.” These are some of the many conversations that take place between Pakistani cricket fans during any important match. But sadly, it will not happen anymore. Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi will no longer accompany our heated discussions. They will no longer dominate our debates. And I wonder if there will ever be another duo about whom we would be as passionate as we are ...

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