Stories published in July, 2015

When a mother turns to her 17-year-old son for help in Pakistan

The perfectly starched lab coat hanging in my cupboard stared back at me. I was starting a summer internship at the Civil Hospital to see the inner workings of the field I aspire to pursue. And oh boy, I was motivated, now more than ever. This internship proved to be a great educational experience and opened my eyes to a side of the world I had been oblivious to before, leaving me with a story that I’m compelled to share today. A particular case struck a chord with me – one I may never forget. The patient, Shayan, was a boy of ...

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Can fundamentalism in Pakistan be traced back to madrassas?

In Pakistan, certain madrassas have a knack for producing terrorists. The government is aware of this yet it does not have a consistent stance regarding such madrassas. After the Peshawar school attack in December, the government made it a priority to regulate madrassas, but when the information minister, Pervaiz Rashid, spoke out against them last month, not a single member of government publicly supported him. This conflicting treatment did not happen overnight. Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to Former Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ziaul Haq who wanted to ‘Islamicise’ the state. Zia’s 1979 education policy highlighted the priority to ...

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From Ant Man to Bajrangi Bhaijaan, five movies to watch this Eid

Each year Hollywood and Bollywood releases movies that shake the box office and create a buzz among the audiences. Knowing the unpredictable audience, some do well while others don’t. Here are some of the movies that will hit cinemas this Eidul Fitr. Ant Man Photo: IMDb This year you will bear witness the rise of a rather different kind of a Marvel Comics superhero – Ant Man. Directed by Peyton Reed, the movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, who finds a suit that gives him extra strength, but shrinks him in size of an ant. Rudd is a criminal ...

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Younus Khan rains on nine-year Lankan drought in the Island

Misbahul Haq was optimistic that the absence of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene on the Sri Lankan side would increase their chances of victory, but he forgot about Dimuth Karunaratne and the new young captain, Angelo Mathews, who scored centuries in the first and the second innings, respectively. Misbahul Haq. Photo: AFP Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan team were harnessing skills to counter leggie Yasir Shah who took yet another fifer in the first innings, but they forgot to prepare for Imran Khan’s pace bowling on the good Pallekele track, where he dismissed the entire remaining five batsmen on day four of the Sri Lankan second innings. Younus Khan, ...

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Two years of civil war wiped out 15 years of education progress in Syria

For the first time, we have the official numbers that show the devastating consequences of the civil war in Syria on education. When the conflict first erupted in 2011, nearly every child was enrolled in primary school across the country. Within two years, nearly two million children and young adolescents were out of school. Enrolment rates have plummeted, leaving one in three children and more than two out of five adolescents excluded from education, according to the new data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). It took two years to erase all of the educational gains made in Syria since the start of the century; ...

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Fairy Meadows: Where the legends of Nanga Parbat are kept alive

Fairy Meadows is like the bouquet of flowers set before the towering killer mountain, Nanga Parbat. The mountain sets a backdrop for the Fairy Meadows, making it an appealing and exciting destination for tourists. Fairy Meadows are where the legends of Nanga Parbat are kept alive, told by generations of villagers who had the chance of witnessing the legions of climbers who never descended its icy walls. Towards the northern side, it welcomes us with the Raikot glacier, strewn with dark echoing crevasses, plagued by constant avalanches, and guarded by 15 meters of ice spears. One in five people who attempted to climb ...

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It’s not funny to maliciously demean someone, Pakistan! Don’t be Aamir Liaquat!

I cracked up after watching ‘Eye to Eye’ the first million times. I did not stop laughing till Taher Shah appeared on Aamir Liaquat’s show. Watching him being maliciously demeaned and bullied on live television left me feeling disgusted. It is extremely difficult to tell when a joke goes too far. As a comedian, I struggle with it every day. Most of the comedy I see on television or social media is racist, sexist, or hateful. Any effort to point the potential harmful effects of these jokes is met with the usual dismissive response, “It’s just a joke!” I have been performing at clubs all over ...

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Is ‘Oh my God’ going to become ‘Oh my Allah’ in Pakistan?

Recently, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a list proscribing English translations of various Islamic terms such as ‘Allah’, ‘Masjid’, ‘Salaat’, and ‘Rasool’. I find it ironic that this came to my knowledge on July 5th, which is the day Mian Nawaz Sharif’s ‘roohani daddy’ Ziaul Haq imposed martial law in 1977. Zia also passed a similar instruction which, over the course of time, replaced Khuda Hafiz with Allah Hafiz in all of our literature, visual media and in our daily conversations. Given our prime minister’s well-known rightist tendencies, and now this, it is not very hard to see the exemplification of the old saying “like father, like son”. Here, I am ...

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In defence of Centaurus Mall – Why the hullabaloo?

“Rs100 just to enter? How dare they? It’s a public mall! I’m boycotting the mall!”  The level of offence that some have taken to the recent decision by Centaurus Mall’s administration to charge Rs100 for entering the building is surprising, and largely misdirected. First up, the fee can be adjusted against purchases made in the mall, so entry essentially remains free if you buy anything inside. Second, the mall is private property, and businesses have a right to refuse entry. Don’t believe me? Try hanging around inside any random shop for a few days, buying nothing and just ogling at customers. If you’re ...

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Traditional Pakistani pakoras with a Chinese twist

Pakistanis’ love for pakoras cannot be described in words. Be it Ramazan, monsoon season, a lunch or a casual tea meeting, one just can’t get enough of them. The blend of different spices and aromas truly depict the taste of Pakistan. Indeed, it is because of our love for pakoras that we have come up with varieties of it. Hardly any household is complete without the aroma of pakoras in the month of Ramazan. No matter how much popularity burgers, pizzas and other fast foods have gained in our generation, the love for pakoras will continue till the end of time. I have been eating gram ...

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