Stories published in April, 2015

Why I will never forgive Shonda Rhimes for killing Derek Shepherd

The previous episode of Grey’s Anatomy had hints that this may happen, but I said to myself that Shonda Rhimes, the writer, cannot do this. Meredith has already been through way too much. Name any tragedy and mishap in the world and she has been through it. Mom had Alzheimer’s, dad was an alcoholic. Her best friend George died. The plane crash killed her sister Lexie and friend Mark Sloan and mangled Derek’s hand, and he was unable to do surgeries for months. Before that, in 2010, Derek was shot in the chest. And Meredith nearly died so many times ...

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When will we start recognising our Women of Impact like the West does?

Pakistani women have done us proud again by securing a place in New York Time’s Women of Impact list 2015. The list honours outstanding women from around the world. It is diverse and interesting, bringing home the point that these individuals have managed to carve a place for themselves by standing up for the cause of women and other marginalised factions of society. Out of the 50 women given the honour, education activist Malala Yousafzai and film maker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy have bagged the 36th and 48th positions respectively, and we all know that honours and recognitions are not new to them. Both ladies have devoted their lives to ...

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Pamela Geller’s hate for Muslims and blurry standards of free speech

A couple of weeks back, I vocally criticised the direct interference of the state in the academic affairs of my previous university, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), after they were forced to cancel a talk on Balochistan. However, this week, I found myself vocally protesting against the decision of my present university, Brooklyn College, to invite a speaker for an academic talk. On the face it, the positions I have taken in the last fortnight seem irreconcilable, hypocritical even, but what differentiates my two positions is the fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech. Ignoring any discussion on the technicality that in ...

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Latent serendipity – How I tried to follow Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking

When I was a kid, I liked to dress up in the stories of successful people. I read about how Bill Gates used to rock in his chair when he was thinking, and for a few months after that, I made sure to rock back and forth whenever I was programming. I read a book about Stephen Hawking that described how Oxford graduate students would buy huge sketchbooks to scribble physics formulas in, and so I went out and bought a huge sketchbook to carry around with me. We all do this. We read little snippets of people’s lives in long ...

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Modi-Obama or Nawaz-Jinping: Which should be worried?

We are lucky to have a neighbour like the People’s Republic of China, a country which has always stood with us unconditionally. I have always been fascinated with our relationship with them. While the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan is making headlines these days, I feel that we should revisit our historic relationship and the strong bond we have developed so far. Pakistan was the first Muslim country which accepted China in 1950 and ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Then, in 1962, the Sino-Indian border conflict took place, which laid the foundation of a strong friendship that was to change the course ...

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The Gunman is a snooze fest with a great cast

A good action movie never fails to impress its audiences. This is why the action movie genre is the safest bet for producers and directors and guarantees box office revenues. Having said that, it is also true that some movies just don’t have what it takes, which is saying a lot, and the reasons are repetitive plots and identical scripts. In order to produce great action, changes in plots and somewhat believable action scenes are required. After all, movie-goers these days are getting smarter. The Gunman is one such recently released action film which stars Sean Penn along with a group of decent performers like Peter ...

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I voted at NA-246 and this is what I saw

I am very excited today. The exhilaration, the thrill of being part of something greater has made me very eager for today’s by-election. And I am not the only one. Every person whose vote belongs to NA-246 is excited today. It is common knowledge that the NA-246 constituency of Karachi is a bastion of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). But this time, the interesting involvement of leaders like Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) ameer Sirajul Haq has turned this simple by-election of one seat into an electoral battlefield of national importance. When I stepped inside the polling station, I was really surprised to see the arrangements: voters ...

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Bangladesh whitewashes Pakistan – Was it Azhar Ali’s fault?

Bangladesh has waited for nearly 16 years to achieve its second victory against Pakistan in an ODI, but it took them a week to completely whitewash Pakistan. Pakistan’s defeat against Bangladesh is surprising, but for me, the biggest surprise is the ease with which Bangladesh beat Pakistan in all three ODI matches. Photo: AFP Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the tour selection committee was supposed to select the 11 best players for our national team, but looking at the team that went for the tour, it seems as if PCB has no idea who our best 11 players are, or ...

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If you think NA-246 is about MQM versus PTI, you’re wrong

Who bags NA-246 and which party stands victorious tonight makes little difference. What matters is that today’s election will put an end to the environment and politics of fear prevalent in Karachi for years. Active campaigning by other candidates in Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) stronghold, polling agents standing brave at polling stations that were once no-go areas for all political parties and candidates except MQM and fearless voters walking into polling booths with the intention to not vote for MQM, and then being able to walk out and go home, are all a breath of fresh air for Karachiites. This by-election ...

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Will running for local government elections help the Christian community in K-P?

Amid all the hoopla of the Chinese premier’s visit to Pakistan, individuals belonging to the Christian community have filed nominations papers for the first time in Dir District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for the upcoming local government elections. Both news items are not linked, but both are significant. While commentary on minority rights in Pakistan has a large presence on social media, it is slowly creeping into everyday dialogue too. And even though the focus on this issue is not as profound as it should be, every step forward is a step in the right direction. It is, however, unfortunate that what pushed the Christian community ...

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