Stories published in August, 2015

From Scotland to Pakistan, my journey to solitude

An epiphany results in one deciding their goals in life. It dictates your thought-process in a way that it becomes your aim in life to achieve it. Hence, I had my epiphany while I watching a drama being shot in Scotland. We all go through the phase where we believe certain actions might be the solutions to our problems. My aim in life was to live in the beautiful territory known as Scotland. The country brings with it allure and beauty in terms of nature, the magic of the landscape weaves into the minds of all the people who’ve visited this ...

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Beware: You may be heading into (murderous) marriage

Marriage comes with its own set of doubts and insecurities. You might have heard it on the news, you might have seen it happen with someone you know – there are many stories about failed marriages all around us. Stories about how families have been fooled in the name of this sacred bond and have lost their life’s worth of savings. The increasing statistics about marriages being broken due to infidelity, fraud by the in-laws, husbands being abusive or having prior criminal record, paint a horrible picture of marriages in our country. The divorce rate has reached an alarming level and this ...

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Being groped, harassed and video-taped on Independence Day

For anyone who has an ounce of respect for other beings, the 39-second video, which has gone viral in Pakistan, is difficult to watch.  In the said video, while on a crowded street at night, a vile young man drabbed in Pakistani national colours, evidently celebrating August 14th, sexually harasses a burqa clad woman. As his friend watches with a devilish grin wide enough to let an airplane in, he attacks a lady sitting on a bike by grabbing her from behind, gyrating against her, and then continuing the abuse for a several more uncomfortable seconds. I am not sure how this video found ...

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When the ‘city of lights’ turns into the ‘city of survival’

Karachi will endure not just because it has to, but because its inhabitants refuse to call it quits and give in to the face of adversity, for it is the people that define Karachi, and their resilience in essence embodies the spirit of Karachi. Karachi belongs to all of those who seek refuge beneath its bruised and battered but bountiful shade, irrespective of what walk of life they come from.  Karachi is not just owned by the political parties that represent it in the provincial or federal echelons, rather, it is owned by its people. We blame the politicians that they’re not doing enough to quench the violence happening daily ...

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Are ICC and PCB bowing down to BCCI, again?

It was in June 2011 when the International Cricket Council (ICC) made certain amendments to their rules. These rules clearly stated that cricket boards which are found to have political interferences will be sacked immediately. This rule was introduced to free the sport from undue government influence. However, the question remains, where was this rule when it came to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)? Well, had it been applied then, Indo-Pak cricketing ties would have never been in jeopardy. BCCI tends to cross its limits and continues to bring political interests in the field of sports. At first, they suspended cricket ties with Pakistan after terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and have ...

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Remembering Shuja Khanzada, the true patriot of Pakistan

Patriotic, graceful, sharply dressed, eloquent, polite, and charming, this was my first impression of the Punjab Home Minister Colonel (retd) Shuja Khanzada. I first met him as a colleague in the Provincial Assembly of Punjab in 2008. I was 27-years-old and Khanzada became an inspiration at first sight. His careful selection of words, composure, integrity, and infectious optimism were something to look up to for newcomers in the infamous field of politics. Khanzada was one of the politicians whose presence made me believe, and repeatedly assert that there are several sincere, patriotic, and honest people in our assemblies, only they fail to get much public attention owing to lack of ...

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Dekh Magar Pyaar Say: A scatty and mediocre cliché

Dekh Magar Pyaar Say, directed by Asadul Haq and starring debutant Sikander Rizvi and his leading lady, Humaima Malick, will keep the audience spellbound because of the directors’ cinematic prowess. The movie also showcases great shoot locations, such as Lahore and London. However, along with adding scenic beauty in order to add production value to the movie, a movie must also have a strong plot and a story to keep it moving forward. Unfortunately, Dekh Magar Pyaar Say could not score full marks when it comes to the plot, but it is good enough to be called an average and watchable movie, though it definitely lacks that particular punch which leaves ...

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Why blame Zia for every ill in Pakistan?

On the eve of Ziaul Haq’s 27th death anniversary, his name still generates an animated response from Pakistanis. Browse around social media or the English press, and one gets the impression that there is no leader more disliked than him. He was brutal. He was un-democratic. He was authoritative. He destroyed Pakistan’s moderate socio-political fabric and turned the country into the fragile fundamentalist haven it is today. Or did he? Zia was an apolitical figure, or so Zulfikar Ali Bhutto thought, when he was appointed Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in 1976.  He ended up taking control of the country in the political chaos that ensued following ...

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Fundamentalism: When a woman has to prove her ‘purity’ by balancing a rock on her head

August 2015 fell on South Asia’s shoulders as an overbearing weight and a massive shock – as preparations for Independence Day on both sides of the Pakistan-India border were underway. Pakistan’s largest child abuse scandal surfaced, wherein some 400 children had been victims to the perverted fantasies of sexually depraved men. There has been much debate and dissent as to what the rationale behind rape is, and everyone pretty much knows what drives a rapist to rape. What is more important to note here is the nonchalance of the police force and the deformed laws that govern the heinous crime that rape is. From across the border, ...

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Hospitality – The strong dissimilarity between rural and urban Pakistanis

Earlier this year, I was in rural Punjab conducting fieldwork on a study called ‘Women’s Work in Agriculture and Nutrition’. Prior to that, I was interviewing adolescents and their families in lower income areas of Karachi for a study called ‘Being an Adolescent in Karachi’. As a surveyor, I was introduced to interview respondents by a local resource person in both settings, and although my position as a researcher was the same in both sites, I noticed a stark difference on how people treated strangers between the two sites.  In rural-southern Punjab, people’s candour, warmth, and kindness were prominent. Even though majority of ...

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