Stories published in April, 2015

What Naya Pakistan will be like in 2050

This is the year 2050.  The Pakistan we once knew in 2015 has changed tremendously. Or has it really? Below is the glimpse of literally ‘Naya Pakistan’. 1. The government vows to end the energy crisis till 3058. Promise. 2. Malala Yousafzai has moved back to Pakistan and is currently running for the office of prime minister, from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of course. She enjoys an unequivocal support from not only the liberal faction within the country, but also from King’s Landing, Meereen, Bravos and Winterfell. However, she continues to face severe backlash from religious outfits and Wildlings, a wave that started back in 2012 when she was allegedly shot. 3. Jibran ...

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A giant cross will not help Pakistan’s Christian community

Ever since the last two devastating church attacks in Peshawar and Lahore, the pressing issue of minority rights has received increased attention. The government’s futile attempts to provide a safe haven for the state’s minorities have been all in vain. In the wake of this pursuit, yet another effort is being carried out to assure that the minorities are considered equal inhabitants of this country. A 140-feet tall cross is being constructed in one of Karachi’s oldest Christian cemeteries, which is also claimed to be the largest across Asia. Financed by the Henry Gill family, the construction work is supervised by Parvez Henry Gill himself. The cross ...

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Pass your matriculation exam or stay in Karachi jail – your choice

On April 14, 2015, 30 prisoners from Central Jail Karachi took part in the annual matriculation exams organised by the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK). These exams were the first of their kind to be held inside a Pakistani detention centre. They were open to prisoners of all ages; even though the standard age for these exams is 15 to 16 years of age, BSEK kept no age limit for the prisoners. Twenty-one out of 30 prisoners gave Level 1 (class IX) exams, whereas the other nine gave Level 2 (class X) exams; all prisoners except one enrolled themselves for ...

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Karan Johar takes on GoT with ‘Kabhi Games, Kabhi Thrones’

Social media is full of news of Game of Thrones being adapted as an Indian television show. Am I the only one who thinks that the plot lends itself perfectly for a Bollywood movie instead of a TV show? I would pay good money to see a Karan Johar production titled ‘Kabhi Games, Kabhi Thrones’. The story would begin with Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon riding together on a motorbike merrily singing a song together. The evil sautayli ma (step-mother) would ask Jon Snow to be banished from the kingdom, and the Stark jayedaad (inheritance). Snow’s storyline would become even more contentious in a Bollywood setting with the word ‘bastard’ repeated multiple times with the echo ...

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Zimbabwe’s visit to Pakistan: Dawn of a new era?

“Daarhion ne phir marwa diya hai” (The beards [bearded men] have gotten us into trouble again) These were the first words I heard on a dreary school morning as news of the attackon the touring Sri Lankan team made the headlines. A desolate shroud enveloped Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore as news broke that the bus carrying the touring Sri Lankan cricket team was fired at by a coterie of Kalashnikov toting ‘na maloom afraad’ in broad daylight. The nearby elite would hear of such incidents up in the agencies next to the Afghan border and seldom, the Taliban types would make it as far as Peshawar, but a gun massacre somewhere as central ...

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Ariba on the outside, Ahmed on the inside

Greeted by the waiter at a café, nervous yet anxious, I inquire about the girl I was scheduled to meet for an interview. “Ma’am, he is waiting for you upstairs.” The first thought that runs through my mind: HE? There must have been some mistake, I thought. To my surprise, I meet a person I was more inclined on calling ‘handsome’ than ‘pretty’. Surrounded by the strong smell of men’s cologne, she was dressed in a crisp white dress shirt for men, a brown belt and beige trousers. I could see the sweat on her hands that wore a Swatch and carried a Blackberry. Ariba Rizvi, ...

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Leadathon15, for the sake of our future

Since the early 2000s, Pakistan has seen tremendous growth in youth-based interventions with new conferences, workshops and seminars cultivating a forward-looking environment for the youngsters of today. On account of the dynamic structure of such conferences, many young men and women attribute their personal and professional successes to the skills they acquire at these forums. For instance, the Young Leader’s Conference in Pakistan has shaped lives of countless participants by exposing them to innovative ideas, new networks and professional conduct. The idea behind these endeavours is that the disenfranchised generation of today needs direction to propel their personal and professional ...

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Once you’re Pakistani, there is no going back to India

The non-issuance of visas to India continues to irk thousands of Pakistani Americans as the former remains hell bent to grind an axe with Pakistanis, regardless of borders or their new nationalities. At the moment, there are an estimated 500,000 Pakistani Americans in the US and the rate of their continually burgeoning numbers makes them the second fastest growing group of Asian immigrants in the US. According to the Pew Research Centre, the entire population of Asian Americans, which includes Pakistanis, is among those in the highest income bracket as well as the best educated in the country. However, despite all the good check marks ...

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Can uniform prayer timings in Islamabad bring religious harmony?

The recent news development of Muslim clerics and the Ministry of Religious Affairs agreeing to have uniform prayer timings in Islamabad has been hailed as a positive step forward. While there can be little argument that a step which aims to promote religious harmony is good, it is important that the matter is studied in more detail. Setting conspiracy theories aside, it is common knowledge that the government has taken the recent step to develop some sort of understanding among different Muslim sects, as miniscule as it may seem, and in the process give birth to the idea of coexistence. Disappointingly, however, the ...

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#KashmiriLivesMatter, India

Recent heavy showers led to a flood in River Jhelum because of which Indian-occupied Kashmir has come under the line of fire again, with torrents wreaking havoc throughout the valley. Last year, Kashmir witnessed a similar tragedy – 300 lives were lost, $16 billion worth of infrastructure was destroyed and six million Kashmiris were affected on the whole. It is too early to decide if these floods are worse than their predecessors, but if the people stuck in these areas are not evacuated in time, things might get out of control. During the floods that took place last year, many Kashmiris were of ...

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