Stories published in July, 2015

Dear PTI, your DJ Butt is no better than PML-N’s Gullu Butt

These days, it is easier to find a similarity between the colours black and white as compared to finding similarities between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). You will always find them on opposite sides of the table, bashing each other with no holds barred, accusing each other’s leadership of being corrupt, disloyal, and crooked. Their followers seem to be following the same course as well. They stoop to petty lows to defame their counterparts. Social media is now being used as a popular weapon where even personal lives of leaders are not spared. Interestingly though, these rival parties do have one thing ...

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Mango yogurt: Mangoes and Ramazan, a match made in heaven

Mango season and Ramazan have been coinciding since the last few years. Hence, my love for mangoes has made me incorporate mangoes in my Iftar regularly. With June’s blistering heat around, one longs for things that are cold and refreshing while breaking the fast. This simple and easy to make mango yogurt provides that along with appropriate nutrition. I always save an extra bowl for Sehri as well. Hope you will try it out. Ingredients: Unsweetened Yogurt – 500 grams Sugar – ¼ cup Mangoes – 3 medium-sized (cubed) Dates – 8 (pitted and chopped) Fresh Apricot (Khobani) – 5 to 8 (pitted and chopped) Almonds – 8 to 10 (coarsely chopped) Method: 1. Add sugar to the yogurt and mix ...

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A woman was stripped naked by Indian officials in Kashmir. And we will blog about it. Again. In vain.

On June 19th 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that included the following statement: “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The resolution also mentions, “Women/girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including in some cases as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” Just a few years later, circa 2015, in Indian-occupied Kashmir, a woman was stripped naked by five men – including one army official. It was the district of Udhampur ...

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Keep calm and leave it to Younus Khan

As Younus Khan (171*) and Shan Masood (125) nonchalantly battled their way to an unexpected 242 run partnership during Pakistan’s record chase, two thoughts kept floating into my head, ‘nothing compares to the compelling nature of good test match cricket’, and ‘no team is as predictably unpredictable as Pakistan’. After being set a target of 377 in the deciding Test match by Sri Lanka, few would have expected Pakistan to chase the mammoth score down, least of all because our batsmen had collapsed to 215 in the first innings. Yet, the great Pakistani Test match batsmen, Younus, had other ideas. After being relatively quiet throughout the series, he played a ...

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An open letter to Hema Malini: You could have saved Sonam’s life

Dear Hema Malini ji, You may be a superstar but your tweets blaming the dead girl’s father for the unfortunate car mishap reeks of nothing but obnoxious arrogance of stardom on the silver screen, exposing the callous indifference of your ilk from Bollywood to the suffering of others. I beg your pardon for my harsh words, but by my troth, I am hurt. Fie on thee for your remarks. On Wednesday, you finally broke your silence on the fatal car crash in Rajasthan with your tweet: (Contd) How I wish the girl's father had followed the traffic rules – thn this accident could have been averted & the lil one's life ...

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Learn Smart Pakistan: Introducing innovation in teaching with boot camps

As part of our national non-profit initiative, Learn Smart Pakistan conducted two teacher boot camps to help build skills in lesson planning and learning games among selected teachers in Pakistan. The boot camp included a bonus session on online mentoring for teachers participating in the digital challenge. Since 2014, we have been sponsoring a series of educational activities for ninth grade students and teachers under the banner of Learn Smart Pakistan (LSP). As a part of LSP 2015, we conducted, for free, two Teacher Boot Camps on June 15, 2015 at the Islamabad Club Pakistan. The boot camps enabled teachers to strengthen their capacity and ...

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Murphy’s Law for parents of three-year-olds

I am going to take my parenting “expert” hat off and put my mom-of-a-three-year-old hat on. I’ve been feeling under the weather, and although I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal, I started to write these to make myself laugh. I hope you have some chuckles too. And yes, these did actually happen. You will cut the wrong end of the freezie, stir the yogurt the wrong way, break the banana or use the wrong-coloured cup. The day you are late for an important appointment is the day you will unbuckle the car seat, as you always do, and your three-year-old will shriek like s/he ...

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If Muslims in the US can do it, why can’t we try speed dating in Pakistan?

The Pakistani society has seemingly made social progression in a number of areas; the one thing that is still stuck in a painful first gear is the way khandaani (family oriented) families tend to find matches for their unmarried children. The grooms’ family still have the upper hand; their mothers are still the villains scouting every home for the match of their choice. On the other hand, the girls’ side still remain in the meek ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ mind-set. The word khaandaani is used here to identify the families who, despite being well educated, continue to consider it taboo for their children to bring home a partner of their own choice. If ...

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Punjab’s dominance is not because Punjabis are chauvinists

There is a common narrative that an overwhelming majority of Punjabis are chauvinistic and are always conspiring against the smaller provinces. In fact, it has become sort of a trend, particularly among some of the liberal journalists, to put all the blame on the Punjabis. I can understand the rationale behind it because that is a well-accepted narrative. Moreover, since the smaller provinces have complaints, therefore it becomes difficult to say anything in defence of the Punjabis for the fear of being called a ‘pseudo liberal’ or worst, a closet chauvinist. Some of the journalists just throw the word Punjabi chauvinism without even trying to justify ...

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She wanted fortune, and he wanted love

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The frivolity with which Mehr sat in the Nadia Coffee Shop at the Marriot hotel in her revealing red sari earned a scorn or two from the passing ladies. Little did the ladies know that their husband’s enjoyed scantily clad Mehr’s sight as much as they despised it. She clutched her bag, a fake DKNY, peeked inside the pockets and then ordered a glass of lime water. Her calm countenance faded as her phone kept ringing. Her eyes scanned the men at the shop, separating the suitable ones from the ...

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