Stories published in August, 2015

68th Independence Day: Liberation from the prejudices of the past

This weekend, India and Pakistan celebrate their 68th Independence Day as two independent nations. Such a solemn occasion is also a time for one to reflect upon and evaluate the journey taken so far. One wonders whether the fury, rage and bloody madness that gripped the countries prior to the independence were justified? Were the killings in the name of religion perpetrated by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs justified? You cannot avoid these piercing questions. History would not allow us to forget the guilt and living in guilt is an unbearable pain. It is time to reflect upon how much damage the collective guilt and refusal ...

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5 classic national songs every patriotic Pakistani can relate to today

National songs play a vital role in instilling love for a country in the hearts of children and the youth. They are the incentive and encouragement needed to express affection for one’s motherland in every way possible. I remember when I was in school and TV channels would play the national anthem and patriotic songs beginning early August. The voices of the singers – painting new colours to the land in the minds of the patriots and making green flags greener – were the background music of our childhood. Skits and performances on patriotic songs were the life of celebrations in August, especially ...

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End of silence: A woman’s narrative of the 1947 Partition

Many of us born to families who migrated across borders during partition grew up hearing whispers of events from that time. The end of the British Raj in India saw the subcontinent dissected into two – Pakistan and India. This led to the largest migration in history and caused widespread communal violence. My nani (maternal grandmother) narrated tragedies of madness raging the land without adequate police or troops to maintain law and order. One of my nani’s friends narrated how her father had told all the women in their family that should the train they were on be stopped and boarded by rioting mobs, they should commit ...

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Six reasons why Moor raised the bar for Pakistani cinema

Pakistani cinema is emerging at a very unique point in our cultural history. Hollywood is knocking at our neighbour’s door to the east as Bollywood sets its eye on the 500 crore club. On our Western front, Iran has become a globally recognised force in neo realist filmmaking, yet people get jailed there for dancing to a particular song. Afghanistan remains to be the centre of attention with a complicated set of woes and a new administration in place, and China is slowly becoming one of the biggest film markets in the world. In the middle of this hue and cry ...

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This Independence Day, let’s give back to Pakistan

August 14th is right around the corner and I decided to share some thoughts to rejuvenate our love for Pakistan. Celebrating 68 years of independence, have you ever pondered about our love for this country and why exactly we love Pakistan? Have you ever thought about channelling this love into something more positive for yourself, your country, or in fact, all of us? As a young Pakistani female, I can say that the majority of us have this undefined patriotism, which reaches its pinnacle during a cricket match, quivers during a political debate, and dies when it comes to doing something practical for our country. This year, around ...

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Perhaps India can take a few pages out of Pakistan’s poverty reduction playbook

I recently came across a blog titled ‘What’s Really Going on with income trends in India and Pakistan’.  The blog was written by a Pakistani economist working in the Washington office of the World Bank. I have known the author and have great respect for him as an economist and as a person.  However, it pains me to see that in this blog at least, excessive generalisations and selective analysis is presented to promote a political agenda. Nobody can deny the fact that for over a decade, India’s economy has been doing very well.  In comparison, Pakistan is having severe difficulties; partly due to ...

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Why sex education can prevent cases like child abuse in Kasur

While returning back from Karachi to Toronto in May 2015, I was sandwiched in the middle seat, in a long haul PIA flight. Conversation was natural when there were three Canadian Pakistanis returning from one home to another. After the usual introductions to individuals on both sides, the conversation gravitated to the then current trending topic, the sex-education curriculum that was being introduced in Ontario schools. The gentleman sitting at the aisle remarked, “I had gone to Pakistan to explore how to settle my children back in Punjab.” He asked again, “How old are your children?” “My children are in universities,” I replied. “You are lucky they are ...

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We need the old Junaid Khan back

On the eve of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, when Sohail Tanvir sustained an injury and the 21-year-old Junaid Khan was included in the squad without any experience in international cricket, a few eyebrows were raised on his selection, but selectors thought that in Junaid, the left-arm quick, they had found a replacement for Muhammad Amir, who was at that time banned from international cricket for five years.  Having been partnered with Amir at the 2008 Under 19 (U19) Cricket World Cup, there was no doubt about Junaid’s talent, and while announcing his selection, the Chief Selector, Iqbal Qasim said, “He ...

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The good old days of ‘Subuh Bakhair’ and today’s deteriorating morning shows

The history of morning shows in Pakistan dates back to January 1988, when the nation witnessed its first morning show, Subuh Bakhair, live on Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). The show was hosted by the famed author and travel writer, Mustansar Hussain Tarar – the Chacha Jee of our era – for nearly seven years. He is considered as the pioneer of live morning transmissions in Pakistan. “Assalam-o-Alaikum saray Pakistan aur pyare Pakistan!” (Good morning to all of Pakistan and beloved Pakistan!) These words still echo in the hearts and minds of millions. This was Tarar’s trademark with which he used to open his show in his famous idiosyncratic style. His prime audience majorly consisted of children, with ...

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Of misogynistic jihadists and their sexual jihad

Whether it’s the destruction of holy shrines, burning of hostages, stoning the accused and sexually assaulting girls, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has managed to set new boundaries and records of violence. Adding to their records is the recent execution of 19 girls in Mosul who refused to have sex with the group’s fighters. This is an extension of the sheer brutality that is normally attributed to them. Countless women have been abducted by the ISIS militants. The prettiest of the abducted virgins are then sent to the markets of Syria and Iraq where they are sold as sexual objects to the highest bidder, amongst the beasts salivating to get the best ...

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