Stories published in May, 2015

Pakistanis, ditch the cash for plastic money

“Would you like to pay by card or cash?” I choose cash. So does the majority of Pakistan’s population. Despite carrying a credit card and two debit cards in my wallet, I still prefer to use cash for all my transactions. I have my reasons for doing so; however, I also feel my ideology regarding plastic money is a depiction of the general consumer mindset. Here is why: 1. I feel more secure with cash in hand. It gives me greater control over my spending and allows me to exercise frugality where needed. With a debit card, I have the ability to ‘swipe’ away my ...

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China can mistreat Muslims, but others can’t?

Since childhood, we have grown up listening, reading and watching the tales of Pak-China friendship. We were told that Pak-China friendship is ‘sweeter than the sweetest honey’, higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the seas. We were continuously reminded that Israel, USA and India are enemies of Pakistan, Islam and Muslims and they would take any step to extinguish Muslims from the face of earth. Our curriculum, television channels, newspapers and mullahs propagated the same at every occasion. Every other day, we witness rallies and protests condemning these countries for their treatment of Muslims. If an Indian, US or Israeli somehow slaps a ...

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Meeting Dr Wahidur Rahman, again

When I touch my heart, It starts to bleed, Like the hit of a dart. I miss Sir Wahid.   He showed me patience, He offered helpful advice, He created memories for me, On truth and beauty suffice.   As bright as the sun, How gentle he seemed, In my mind right now, He floats like a dream.   He trained us for the world ahead, He instilled us with hope. “Don’t lose sight,” he told us, “You won’t be able to cope”.   When the dark day came, With its mournful deed, Hundreds of shoulders volunteered, To carry and bury Wahid.   He was taken away, Bid adieu for the very last time. He was escorted to his destination, In the hollow, the timeless, the sublime.   He left ...

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Is Pakistan and China’s friendship really that strong?

The rhetoric is sweeter than honey, even if the friendship isn’t. Lip service between China and Pakistan is higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans, and the likes. It is also as absurd as it is untrue. With our public space consumed by such meaningless analogies, especially in the backdrop of the ‘historic’ visit of the Chinese president, I can’t help but recall a recent trip to the country. Listening to the linguistic gymnastics of both governments, one can be forgiven for forgetting how different the two countries are and, more ominously, how little Pakistan fares in the overall Chinese ...

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A Pakistani won the Asian Snooker Championship, but is that enough?

After a long and tiresome wait of 17 years, Pakistan has finally clinched the Asian Snooker Champions Title. Hamza Akbar, 22, won the nationals by beating his Indian counterpart in a nail-biting match by a margin of 7-6 games and became the youngest national champion in Pakistan. At Kuala Lumpur, the Pakistani youngster beat two compatriots and made his way towards the finals, where he played brilliantly and achieved his dream. Akbar hails from a modest family and he began playing snooker as a hobby. He had no idea that this hobby would become his profession someday. Starting off like any other snooker ...

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Why people should NOT get married in Pakistan

Before you wrinkle your eyebrows in a ‘holier-than-thou’ frown and judge my very existence, let me assure you that this blog is not a preaching of what you should or should not do. This blog is based on mere observations of human relationships and a concept that defines our lives in so many ways – shaadi (marriage). I was familiar with this word at a very young age. But it was at the age of six when my brother (eight-years-old then) told me something that freaked me out. In sheer exasperation, that only an older brother can have, he said, “I can’t ...

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Avengers: Age of Ultron – The epitome of a superhero movie

After the events that unfolded in New York in The Avengers prequel, the superhero club – including Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, and Hawkeye – regroups itself and these heroes combine their forces to battle another formidable foe in Avengers: The Age of Ultron. The much anticipated sequel has all the factors of a fantastic superhero movie. However, there are also the signs of how the Marvel Universe is attempting to blend and crossover characters from its different realms. Photo: IMDb The movie begins with the Avengers fighting to take hold of Loki’s sceptre from another villain, Wolfgang von Strucker, who plans to use it against the world ...

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Why do I have to tell anyone if I am Shia or not?

The natural course of policies made in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always had a negative tilt towards the Shia Muslims of the world. Having the privilege of hosting Islam’s most sacred place of worship, they have monopolised the Islamic faith and exploited the concept of pilgrimage as much as possible. After years of exporting its ideology to Pakistan, and many other countries across the Middle-East, and creating fissures in society, the kingdom took it up an ante – since proxy wars may not always be feasible – they have created divisions even in the unifying act of ...

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Does Charlie Hebdo really deserve the Freedom of Expression Courage Award?

On August 2nd, 2006, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s front page depicted a sobbing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The caption read, “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes.” (Muhammad (PBUH) surrounded by fundamentalists) The thought bubble added, “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons.” (It’s tough being loved by morons.) The target? Sociopaths who, rather than committing acts of charity in the name of Islam, choose evil and violence. Charlie Hebdo mocked these extremists, yet never condoned or incited violence – the only legitimate limit on speech. In 2011, radicals firebombed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, yet Hebdo continued to publish, culminating in the infamous massacre of January 7th and ...

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No BJP, Rahul Gandhi did not cause the earthquake in Nepal

A devastating earthquake clocking in a shocking 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked Nepal on Saturday, killing nearly 4,000 people and injuring 6,000. As aid and prayers rush towards the afflicted from all over the world, measurements are being taken and reports drafted about aftershocks and future quakes that might occur in the region. Science has come far in the last couple of centuries but man is still, in the grand scale of things, no more than an amoeba, crawling on the surface of a soft-boiled egg still warm out of the pan. Not everyone was upset, however. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Prachi insisted that the earthquake ...

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