Stories published in April, 2015

For love of the printed word

In the summer of 2010, a colleague brought a new newspaper to work. The workplace had a number of publications coming in but this one made an immediate impact. The type face was bold, the pictures vibrant with colour and the stories were fresh. It was sassy without being saucy and with enough hard hitting content to make me read it cover to cover in one go. The newspaper was The Express Tribune (ET) and fast becoming the young reader’s choice. The reasons were obvious. Compared to the staid fare ladled out by competing newspapers, The Express Tribune was talking about issues prevalent but ...

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My experience as a blogger for The Express Tribune’s blogs page

Today is The Express Tribune’s five year anniversary and while it is a jubilant moment for the whole publication, it is one that is also tinged with reflection.  The publication started as the first Pakistani newspaper which, partnered with the International Herald Tribune initially and the International New York Times now, offered a mix of domestic and global news to the masses. It provided a different perspective by allowing blogs from ordinary individuals on its website, opening up a whole different field of “online” or “citizen” journalism. Additionally, Express Tribune has greatly utilised social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the news and this ...

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How to ‘accidentally’ make the velvetiest red velvet cupcakes

I was introduced to a red velvet cake on my 25th birthday when my friends decided to throw me a surprise birthday dinner at a beautiful restaurant called Okra in Karachi. Just as I picked up the menu to order dessert, after having a bowl of delicious shrimp risotto, my friends brought out the cake with two lit candles on it. I was secretly very happy they decided not to put in all 25 candles as I wasn’t very happy about turning 25. As I cut through the cake, and everyone seated close to our table sang to me, I could not help but ...

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Four things that Saudi airstrikes in Yemen put into perspective

The unprecedented Saudi onslaught against the Houthi rebels in Yemen has taken many by surprise. As speculation grows over further escalation in the region, so does uncertainty regarding the nature of Saudi’s intervention in the conflict. While a broader Middle Eastern conflict marred by bitter tribal rivalries, petty grievances and a never ending quest for democracy pans out in the coming days, here’s a quick look at four things that the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen help put in perspective. Nothing brings the Arabs closer than Iran Arab unity is a utopian idea, which despite being well-founded in literature has yet to materialise. On rare occasions, this ...

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Will Nabeel Gabol’s twist to the NA-246 by-elections help PTI?

NA-246 was left vacant when Nabeel Gabol, under mysterious circumstances, stepped down and separated his ways from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The move, back then, was dubbed as a strategic one by the once blue-eyed boy of Pakistan Peoples Party, in order to escape the much-predicted military crackdown on MQM. And while the MQM Rabita Committee kept convincing the media about their close ties with Mr Gabol, he issued statements otherwise. The NA-246 constituency comprises of areas in Karachi that have been the epicentre of political power for more than two decades now. This constituency has a number of heavily populated concentrations of Mohajirs (Urdu-speakers) ...

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Game of Thrones – What to expect from season 5

For most of the world, spring is just around the corner – but for HBO’s Game of Thrones fans “winter is coming”, as the new season kicks off on April 12, 2015. Game of Thrones is one of the most widely watched shows of this decade and is increasingly becoming part of the urban culture due to its surging popularity. However, for me, the charm of the show started to fade sometime last season. Yes, I am one of those I-have-read-the-books people and as the show drifted further away from the books, it left me exceedingly frustrated as significant subplots and characters ...

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16 facts you didn’t know about Ho Mann Jahaan

Pakistani cinema is on the verge of revival as more and more talented directors and film-makers prove their mettle in the field. Asim Raza’s debut project, Ho Mann Jahaan is one such movie we should keep an eye out for. Currently in the making, unlike many other movies in Lollywood, this film does not focus on politics. Based on the relationship dynamics between three friends, it is going to be the perfect epitome of an entertaining yet meaningful Lollywood flick.

I got the chance to meet the cast and crew of this much-awaited movie and tried my best to get as much ...

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Western hypocrisy: Pakistan’s nuclear weapon is a threat but India’s is not?

On April 6, 2015, The New York Times published an editorial titled Nuclear Fears in South Asia. The editorial portrayed Pakistan’s nuclear weapon capability as an ultra-sensitive concern for the global community; however, India’s mighty nuclear quest was exempted from this category, using its vibrant democratic system of governance as a justification. I am still lost over how nuclear safety has anything to do with a system of governance, but oh well. Ever since Pakistan tested its nuclear weapon in 1998, it has become an epicentre of criticism and this debate has seldom gone off the radar in contemporary global affairs. Many international security experts have expressed unnecessary and ...

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Shoaib Akhtar – the legend, the sensation, the enigma

Cricket has certainly evolved over the years, and when you see someone like AB de Villiers hitting bowlers out of the park and teams scoring 300+ runs so easily, you tend to think about how this game has changed its gears and has become more batsmen friendly. AB de Villiers. Photo: AFP The days of batsmen fearing bowlers have gone. I remember how lanky fast-bowlers from West Indies used to produce terror amongst batsmen in the 80’s. Today, their legacy is almost dead. Only the likes of Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson have somewhat preserved the art of the fierce fast-bowling, as it was once known. But personally, ...

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You’ve got (Black)mail: How the LGBT community in India are exploited

It is a well-known fact that many people who identify with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in India are walking a very fine line – be true to who he/she really is while also maintaining a cautious approach of how that comes across in day to day life. It is unfortunate that such people are held under a microscope with every single action of theirs being analysed and dissected by society, and most recently, for nefarious gains. A 31-year-old gay man in Mumbai named Rajan was surreptitiously followed into a men’s bathroom by two strangers and coerced into performing oral sex ...

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