Stories published in April, 2015

Why I chose SZABIST over IBA and LUMS

“SZABIST” That’s where I studied. It is also the one word response I am most-likely to give in professional get-togethers because it is the most common question to be posed at me. During grad-school, at dinners, get-togethers, meet-ups, internships, interviews – in fact, wherever I meet new (or even old) people, this word is my go-to response, my safe haven. This one word is my identity. And because of this one word, I have come across many varied responses. For instance, my friends from the University of Karachi (KU) would say: “Ah! That place is just like my nani ka ghar (maternal grandmother’s house). Is it even ...

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The price of upholding democracy in Pakistan = Unfair dismissal

SSP Muhammad Ali Nekokara is a professional officer, a handful in an array of incompetent officers. Nekokara is not only an officer with impeccable professional credentials, but is academically very well qualified too. A graduate of public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy’s School of Government, Pakistan’s civil service needs more officers of his calibre. It is highly likely that Nekokara preferred association with the civil services in Pakistan, rather than following up further opportunities in the proverbial greener pastures – which is only obvious given his alma mater. This officer need not be made an example of, and any attempts by the government ...

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Cinderella: When magic and dreams turn into reality

The newest adaption of Cinderella is doing well so far because its “twist” is that it has no twist. It delivers the story that we are all well aware of all in a refreshingly simple and touching manner, thus distancing itself from the recent slew of angst ridden fairy tale adaptations such as Into the Woods and Maleficent. Directed by Kenneth Branagh – who previously directed Thor – manages to lay the emphasis on creating a magical journey for the viewers, with the addition of resplendent gowns and grand sets certainly making it a visual delight. Newcomer Lily James adds sincerity to her role as Cinderella, and coupled with Richard Madden’s charming portrayal ...

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Just another ridiculous joint session in the Pakistani Parliament

They questioned the legitimacy of Parliament. They objected to the transparency and fairness of the general elections in 2013. They protested and resigned, making their return conditional upon the formation of an inquiry commission to probe into the allegations of rigging during the 2013 elections. And they returned to Parliament after the promulgation of an Ordinance establishing that very commission. So what was all the fuss about? Yesterday, during the Parliament’s joint session which was called to discuss the pertinent Saudi-Yemen issue and Pakistan’s role therein, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators returned to the National Assembly after seven whole months. Once again, despite all its vices, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) proved to ...

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Gang raped in Swabi for being a transgender person

The transgender community of a country like Pakistan – a place ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world according to a report by the Minority Rights Group International (MRG) – live very miserable lives because crimes such as harassment, torture, violence, bullying and other hate crimes become everyday ordeals for them. Just yesterday, in a heart rending incident, a transgender was gang-raped while two people were shot dead in Swabi, a district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). They were a group of transgenders going home after performing a music and dance show at a wedding. On their way home, some armed men stopped them and tried ...

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Football’s 10 most controversial signings

With the January transfer circus in full flow, the rumours continue to spread, talks are under way, contracts are being negotiated, and the past, as it always does, makes its way to the forefront as clubs reflect back to the one that got away. There were some transfers, however, that rocked the footballing world; names that are still on the tip of our tongues — beloved heroes who turned in one second into bitter traitors. 1. Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid) It would be no hyperbole to call Luis Figo’s transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu THE great betrayal, the mother of ...

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University of Toronto – “It’s the dream man!”

They walked quietly together, letting the traffic build conversation for them. The streetlights flooded the roads but they still found it difficult to see. The cars zoomed past them without a care in the world. The tall apartments in the surroundings made them feel miniature, like two toys in a room filled with giant furniture. Beneath these towering buildings were shops lined up together, from wall to wall. People went in and came out from these shops like ants. Life unfolded around these two, as they walked silently on the side of the road. Their uniforms faded and their ties loose; ...

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As a constitutional kafir I ask, does my religious freedom hurt you this much?

Yesterday, a very close family friend – someone I have always considered an uncle – was arrested in Pakistan. His crime: he had printed verses from the Holy Quran in an Urdu publication. My uncle is an Ahmadi, and under Pakistan’s notorious anti-Ahmadi laws, he committed a ‘crime’ punishable by at least three years imprisonment and a fine. The law states that an Ahmadi who “poses as a Muslim hurts the religious feelings of Muslims”. In the late 80s, three of my maternal uncles spent time behind bars under these same anti-Ahmadi laws for the crime of saying the Kalimah. Thousands of Ahmadis – and ...

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Sindh me a postcard: For those who think it’s a bad idea to travel to Sindh

Moderate or cold weather is best for sight-seeing, which is why many people opt to travel in the January-February period. This February, I decided I needed to discover my very own motherland, Sindh – a place I had only read about in historical or archaeological books and could not find tales of any visitor’s journey, unlike the rest of the places in the world. Though I haven’t travelled that excessively but I always had a desire to explore or at least see the province that I inhabit. Having had my ancestors serving at top bureaucrat posts throughout the province, with their names ...

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Pakistan must not pay the price for PM Nawaz’s honour

The government of Saudi Arabia has formally asked Pakistan to help militarily in the on-going crisis in Yemen. And Pakistan has been quick to offer its aid to the Saudis. Now this is not based on strategic necessity for Pakistan, even though there is an argument that the Saudis could do with the extra help on ground. The reasons why Pakistan has been so keen to get involved are rather more prosaic. Also, much more misguided. They are largely grounded in the personal relationship that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has with the Saudis from the time they persuaded the then president, Pervez Musharraf not ...

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