Stories published in June, 2015

Toy guns aren’t the problem, police officers with zero gun restraint are

A couple of days ago, a SHO in Faisalabad, without giving any warning, shot two 14-year-old teenagers who were taking a selfie with a toy gun. One of the victims of that shooting died yesterday while the other is still hospitalised. But this incident is not an isolated one. Just a month back, in Daska, a SHO opened fire on unarmed lawyers, resulting in deaths of two lawyers and a pedestrian. The same SHO is said to have killed a detainee in police custody when he was posted in Malakwal and he still managed to keep his job. Last year, the Lahore ...

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The short girl, the guilt and the elevator

I was nowhere to be found. My mother looked everywhere; in my room, in hers, around the house and outside. When she stopped looking, I snuck out from behind the stairs and ran up to the roof. My regular seat waited there on the edge that looked out to the vast area of what they call, Defence Phase Four. What happened today was not the first time that it had happened. It was just one of the many times when people treated me the way they do. But something was different this time. It was that girl’s smile or perhaps ...

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The sin of being a widow in this world

We live in a country where, when a journalist calls the Chief Minister House and asks if they have any special events for International Widows’ Day, the reply you get from the concerned person is, “Widows’ Day? Is there one?” But then, considering two things, Pakistan might not be the only country. Firstly, it was just four years ago that the United Nations General Assembly declared June 23, 2011, as the first-ever International Widows’ Day, so it is a relatively new event. Secondly, the women being celebrated are on the lowest tier of the social pyramid, and their problems are not given the ...

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When fasting becomes a sin

It was the October of 2005, during the month of Ramazan, when a devastating earthquake claimed close to a hundred thousand lives in the north of Pakistan, and injured just as many. I had the opportunity to serve the victims of this tragedy in the Kashmiri city of Bagh. Of the many things I vividly remember is caring for some men and women with life-threatening injuries who refused treatment because they were fasting. They considered it a grave sin to break the fast. As a medical professional, this was especially frustrating for me. Similarly, we have all come across pregnant women who suffered ...

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We cannot blame K-Electric for the electricity crisis

It would be an understatement to claim that the last few days have been a nightmare for the residents of Karachi. Tripped feeders, faulty transformers, broken cables, voltage fluctuations, phases missing for entire days have coupled with the scorching heat to deal a fatal blow to the metropolis. Latest reports indicate that more than 780 people have died as a result of heat stroke, dehydration and heat-related ailments. Naturally, this has resulted in widespread anger with K-Electric. People are attacking offices and beating the staff as a means of venting their frustration over the company’s incompetency. Every listening post for the company is ...

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Five cricketers who may change the future of Pakistani cricket

After the dismal performance of our team in the World Cup 2015 and the recent Bangladesh series, people are beginning to perceive that Pakistani cricket is running out of talent due to the flaws in our domestic system. However, even after such flaws, we possess some extraordinary cricketers who haven’t made their debuts yet or still have to show their potential. The best part about these youngsters is that they are all below 25-years of age. They possess great talent and hold unique match-winning abilities. Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Asghar, Ziaul Haq, and Muhammad Rizwan are some ...

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“That crazy starving Muslim!” Why do Muslims fast, anyway?

When my Lithuanian classmate who sat next to me asked whether I wanted to have lunch one day, I explained to her that I was fasting as it was the month of Ramazan. She gave me a sarcastic smile and said, “Well, you crazy people can starve all you want!” On my way back home, I started thinking of how ‘crazy’ or ‘weird’ fasting could seem to some people, especially those whose lifestyle and culture are not familiar with this practice. While trying to scrutinise my knowledge and trying to understand this further, I came to a painful realisation: I was not at ...

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7 tips for Karachiites to beat the heat wave

Sindh is witnessing one of the worst heat waves to date, where 350 people have died and the count keeps rising. These are tough times and one feels completely at loss when Mother Nature is so unrelenting. So here are a few things you can do that could help in preventing further loss of life. 1. Invite house help to temporarily stay at your house When faced with adversity, it is best to come together and offer whatever help you can. If you live in an area that isn’t receiving the overwhelming amount of load-shedding as other areas are, be kind to your house ...

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Over 400 dead in Karachi and yet we have no plan of action

More than 400 people have died in Karachi since yesterday, due to the deadly heat wave that has laid siege over the city. That’s more than 400 homes struck by tragedy for no apparent reason. That’s more than 400 lives simply wasted away because the local government had no system in place for such a calamity. But then again, when was the last time that we had a system in place for anything? Even in this recent tragedy, chaos ensued. Even hospitals around the city were not equipped to handle the commotion. Jinnah Hospital ran out of ORS and clean drinking water because of the ...

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K-Electric boasts of massive profits, but Karachi still does not have electricity

Three years ago, I wrote a blog praising K-Electric’s improving standards, and in general, the blog was received well by Karachiites. Clearly, many of us were in agreement about the power company’s progress as a service provider. Rolling blackouts in areas where customers were paying bills regularly were less frequent than before. At the same time, the company formerly known as KESC had adopted social media to allow more avenues of communication. There was also a marked improvement in customer service and a faster reaction time from the repair teams. At the time, I expected this to only be the beginning of K-Electric’s upward trajectory. As ...

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