Stories published in May, 2015

9 effective packing tips for your summer vacation

Summer is just round the corner, which means almost every one of us is in their ‘vacation-planning’ mode. Summers are usually the most convenient time for people, especially families, to take a vacation – mainly because of their children’s long summer break. Whenever I plan a trip, I try to make sure I do as much sightseeing as possible during the limited time that I have. And one of the ways to do so is by travelling light – a challenge that most of fail to accomplish. Being desis, I think it adds on to the struggles of travelling light, as we have a tendency ...

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We will remain a generation of idiots, unless we get it together

During my holiday in Singapore, I had the chance of seeing the world-renowned show Songs of the Sea at Sentosa Island. In between the show, I noticed a teenager sitting beside me. I turned to him and said, “You could have watched this on Youtube if you had to watch it through an artificial lens.” He was a tourist, just like me, except he was recording the entire show on his iPhone from the moment it commenced till the end. He looked at me as if I were a disinhibited moron, talking nonsense to strangers. With the advent of digital photography, the opportunities to take infinite pictures ...

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When the media becomes the judge, the jury and the executioner

“Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was the suspect.”- Steven Wright The chief minister revealed his name as he was arrested as a suspect. Free and fair media pulled out his photographs and life details from social media and the news spread like wild fire. Today, he is the poster child for a new debate and sad reality; the well-educated radicalised extremist. In present day Pakistan, peace and calm refers to the short uneasy intervals between the continual series of horrific terrorist attacks. Uneasy because each incident emphasises our vulnerabilities, dramatically plays out our insecurities and triggers many ...

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Risks of writing an authentic book in Karachi

I’ve been writing since I was in my mother’s womb. According to her, I never kicked – but she felt constant scribbling on her tummy. I probably came out of her holding a novel called My Nine Months in the Womb by Saba Khalid, which she probably threw away because it was too graphic for her Jamaat-e-Islami sensibilities. While girls were playing with Barbies, I was busy picking up my favourite books, cutting out the author’s name, putting my own name instead and then pretending to be the centre of attention of my very extravagant book party! By the age of eight, I had written ...

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Brendan Rodgers needs to learn from Louis van Gaal, for Liverpool’s sake

Last season, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers – while commenting about Tottenham – said, “If you spend more than £100m, you expect to be challenging for the league.” This season, Liverpool spent a staggering £117m, following the departure of Luis Suarez, only to be knocked-out of the Champions League in the group stages, while suffering a humiliating exit from Europa League in the very first knock-out rounds, and eventually finishing the season at sixth position. What does this mean for Liverpool? No Champions League next season, for sure. From talking about his ‘coaching bible’ to accepting that he might be on the verge of a potential ...

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7 ways of spotting extremism before it becomes ‘terrorism’

Following recent events, Sabeen Mahmud murder and the Ismaili bus attack cases, a lot of aspects regarding the perceived idea of ‘terrorism’ have come under question. The ‘psychology’ of terrorism has now become open for debate. Earlier myths surrounding terrorism – such as certain madrassas being ‘terrorist’ nurseries and poverty being a fuel for terrorism – now appear to be hilariously absurd over simplification of facts. Extremism that leads to ‘terrorism’ is a solemn and common phenomenon – more than many of us can imagine. Such confusion emerges due to the elusiveness of terrorism. Terrorism is hard to define and so is a ‘terrorist’. One ...

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Dear Khaled Hosseini, will you be Kashmir’s saviour?

Dear Khaled Hosseini, I regularly follow your page and have read all your books. I must say, it’s been an honour. Recently, I saw a short video, some narrations, and a few pictures of your work regarding Syrian refugees. I am impatiently awaiting a detailed account and I am more than desperate to uncover the reality about the Syrian refugees. Being a Kashmiri and residing in Karachi and Lahore, I dare invite your pen to a misery which is larger than the academic and legal definition of a refugee. The United Nations (UN) probably calls them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and hence the title drops to a lower ...

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The top 10 smartphones of 2015 to get your hands on

Almost 38 % of mobile phone users use smartphones as a primary device to communicate, and it seems Pakistanis are following the same trend. After the launch of 3G and 4G facilities in Pakistan, the demand and usage of smartphones has increased by a large amount. Choosing a suitable smartphone for ourselves from a wide range of devices is not an easy task and we end up going through various lengthy reviews before taking our pick and making the purchase. I have selected the best smartphones available in the Pakistani market, which offer the best features, ranging from the camera focus to design and performance. These ...

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Why can’t we bring back Ali Haider Gilani or Shahbaz Taseer?

Ali Haider Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, was abducted on May 2, 2013 during an election rally from his hometown, Multan. His secretary and bodyguard were both killed, and soon after that, the election campaign of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Multan crumbled. The authorities claim that Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Salman Taseer, is also imprisoned under conditions as bad as Ali. The locations of both the political figures is said to be somewhere in Afghanistan, but has not been confirmed as yet. Yesterday, Yousaf Raza Gilani received an anonymous telephone call from Afghanistan and it happened to ...

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#CricketComesHome: With tears and jubilation, the cornered tigers are back with a bang

“Ugg raha hai dar-o-deewar se sabzah Ghalib! Hum bayabaan mein hein aur ghar mein bahar aayee hai” (Greenery is growing out of the doors and walls, Ghalib I am in wilderness and spring has arrived at my house.) In his remarkable yet slightly partial treatise to the game in Pakistan, The Wounded Tiger Peter Oborne identifies two events as being game-changing in the history of the sport in the land of the pure. First was the ‘Test match’ victory over the touring MCC side in Karachi in 1951 which established an Abdul Hafeez Kardar-led Pakistan side as a force in international cricket and ...

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