Stories published in July, 2015

Publicity versus public welfare: Has AAP gone morally bankrupt?

I vividly remember how as a young reporter at the Press Trust of India, I got the wonderful opportunity to cover the first three nights of anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare’s fast unto death, demanding a strong Jan Lokpal at the historic Ramlila Maidan in August 2011. “This movement will change India,” I recall saying to a colleague at the venue. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was born out of the Anna movement and I like many others had high hopes for it. When no one was ready to give the AAP a ghost of a chance, I wrote extensively in its support, ...

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PTI claims improvement in K-P, but the tales of Nathiagali speak otherwise

I spent my childhood playing in daisy-filled meadows, walking the pakdandis and exploring the narrow roads of Nathiagali. I have drifted along these pakdandis for miles, getting lost in the green hills only to be brought home by the villagers who witnessed us growing up. My family and I are blessed that we can flee to the Galiyats, escaping the hustle bustle and frenzy that has seeped into almost every other city in Pakistan. The hill station has been my parents and grandparents retreat of choice since the 60s. This year brings the fourth generation of our family to the Galiyats at a ...

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Why isn’t Qaim Ali Shah’s name on NAB’s investigation list?

All words and no action is what can be best described for the old and incompetent Qaim Ali Shah. ‘Reshuffling’ of officers right before Eid holidays puts him in a category of his own, one which entails corrupt politicians and government officials the province has seen in the past 20 years. Words fall short to describe what this man has done to our province, Sindh. Dismissing qualified district commissioners will not resolve the issues Mr Shah is trying (but failing miserably almost every single time) to address. Just as offering holidays for government officials when the common people of Sindh are dying due ...

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Why Eid in Dubai does not even compare to the Eid in Lahore

Having been raised in two Muslim countries, UAE and Pakistan, Eid has always been the festival of the year for me. I won’t lie, but from childhood till date, my favourite Eid has always been Eidul Fitr, in other words, Choti Eid. In Dubai, Eid was all about henna. Trust me, if you know the art of henna painting, cash in on your strengths and rush to Dubai. All the salons will be packed. In a country like UAE, where no one in their right mind can imagine having heaters, on the eve of Eid, you’ll find Arab women drying their henna painted ...

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Was #MakkahLive a PR stunt to appease Arabs and Muslims?

Social media is powerful. There’s no denying that. Time and time again, social media has proven its efficacy in relaying the truth regarding social narratives when traditional media has failed to do so. Snapchat is one such powerful medium. It allows users to share images in 10-second video clips with each other. Recently, Snapchat introduced a live story option which allows its users to post clips or images from a given location or event. These ‘snaps’ from the same location or event are then collated into a 24-hour live public story available to all users. Here’s the catch – Snapchat decides what ...

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Argentina and Messi, a story of missed opportunities rather than a fairy tale

Alexis Sanchez slotted home the winning penalty in an outrageous manner and ended no less than 99 years of wait for Chile in front of a rapturous home crowd. As the Chilean players sprinted across the Estadio Nacional pitch to celebrate a momentous victory, Lionel Messi cut a desolated figure yet again. A long wait was over, but a painful one for Argentina and Messi continued. A year earlier, it was all about the little Argentine reaching heights, reserved only for past greats like Pele, Maradona and Zidane when Argentina faced Germany in the World Cup Final. ...

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Why I felt more Pakistani outside of Pakistan during Eid?

I was spring-cleaning my laptop a few weeks ago, when I chanced upon two pictures of myself. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have noticed them among all the randomness saved on my hard drive, from mp3 files to material I saved from when I was working towards my Master’s degree and so much more. However, with Eidul Fitr around the corner and desperate attempts to find pictures of a specific outfit, I paused to look and was struck by the very obvious. Not just the photographs, but of myself – in Pakistan, an English-speaking, junk-food-eating, Hollywood movie watching ‘Westerner’, and in UAE, ...

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What they didn’t tell you about Pakistan: Seven common myths dispelled

Pakistan may be one of the most misunderstood countries around and it is certainly easy to see why when you hit the layman’s ceiling of knowledge in about 10 seconds. What most people don’t see is what lies beyond the media coverage, highlighting just the challenges the country is facing today. There is a lot more to Pakistan than what meets the eye, so prepare for some enlightenment and let’s go bust some myths. 1. Pakistan is no place for women A young girl from Kailash in native dress. Photo: Asfandi Yar. Contrary to the stereotype, not all Pakistani ...

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Breaking bread together: An American convert’s take on Eidul Fitr

When I was younger, family gatherings were the highlight of our year. My siblings and I would don our finest clothes, heading out to these events with so much joy and anticipation, you’d think we were meeting the president. Our family get-togethers celebrated an array of life events both planned and impromptu. My parents, my siblings and I would climb into our beat-up car and drive to our destination, gushing about all the ways we were going to have fun. Celebrations like these are a means for humans to get together, and communal gatherings are essential to our survival and wellbeing. ...

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Let this Eid be our wake up call

As I walk down memory lane, Pondering what once was and is now, It breaks my heart to admit the change, How we’re cold towards matters, We once cared about.   While many lost their lives to the ruthless heat, We were debating on subjects which don’t concern us, Whether to ‘celebrate’ a bill passed in another nation, Did we condemn the Safoora attack enough?   As a nation we have lost our innocence, Who are we? We don’t know. As Eid approaches us, In all honesty, did we do justice, This Ramazan, I don’t think so.   This Eid can be our saviour, Let’s not ‘take’ and only give, Let’s open our eyes, And protect our realm.   Let’s end our indifference, And sympathise, It’s about time we improve ourselves, And not criticise.   Let’s awake ...

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