Stories published in September, 2015

Maryam knew she was born poor and meant to be treated harshly

Three months ago, an 11-year-old Maryam sat in my friend’s drawing room, weeping incessantly. My friend and I asked her if there was anything we could do for her, we inquired if she wanted to talk to her mother. All we got in return were confused, big black eyes staring right back at us. Maryam curled herself into a tiny ball and continued sobbing. I felt immensely grieved because the little girl had made a long arduous journey from her village to this new house alone. My friend’s mother had asked a former driver to look for a female domestic helper; one ...

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From backing vocals to lead vocalist, there’s no stopping Sara Haider

It’s rare to come across voices that not only touch our hearts, but mesmerise our soul. Sara Haider is one of those exceptional singers who have managed to leave such an impact on the audience. This karachiite has shown her talent from her very first appearance on Coke Studio­­­­­ as a backing vocalist. This season, for the first time, she performed as one of the lead vocalist. Sara comes with praiseworthy experience in theatre such as ‘Grease – The Musical’ and ‘Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival’ in India. Sara, who started her career from UTH records, stated that, “As a vocalist, I want to be as versatile as I can ...

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Pakistan Super League: The right people for the right job at the right time

By now everyone knows that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning on conducting its first ever international tournament in UAE, the T20 Pakistan Super League (PSL), which will be played from February 4 to 24,  2016. The logo launching ceremony was held on September 20, 2015 and a star studded dinner announcing the commencement of PSL was held in Lahore last week, suggesting that PSL activities are in full swing already. Plenty of renowned international stars have signed up for the tournament, including the hard-hitting batsman and ‘Man of the Series’ of World T20 2010, Kevin Pietersen, who announced his arrival through a video message on social ...

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We have not forgotten APS and we will not forget Badaber

The mosque in Badaber was the first mosque I ever prayed at. Eighteen years ago. It is now covered in blood. My father, Air Marshal Riazuddin Shaikh, was Air Commodore at the time. We lived in Badaber for a year and a half. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a pilot. An Air Force fighter pilot, like my father. But it wasn’t very long ago before I realised that I was just not cut from the same cloth these remarkable men and women are made of. Badaber, since the time I have known, has been a ...

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Jawani (toh) Phir Nahi Ani – But you won’t get your time or money back either

Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), without a doubt, has been one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The reasons include its well-known star studded cast which includes Hamza Ali Abbasi, known for his controversial statements regarding the movie, Mehwish Hayat, who’s seen in a completely different light since the release of her item song, and Vasay Chaudhry, who is known for his inspirational tales. The movie also highlights heavy brand endorsements. The movie revolves around three childhood friends, Saif (Hamza Ali Abbasi), Sheikh (Vasay Chaudhry) and Pervez (Ahmed Ali Butt), who are married and settled in their lives but are afraid ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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Perhaps Pakistan can learn a lesson or two from India’s judicial system

A tree along the Jantar Mantar road in New Delhi, India – a place which resembles London’s Hyde Park for being a way too busy place to protest – is a stark reminder of a judicial revolution; a judicial revolution for the justice of women to be precise. This is the same place where a massive campaign started off back in December 2012 in order to seek justice for the 23-year-old psychotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh Pandey who was gang-raped and brutally physically abused in a bus. Thirteen days after she was raped, she succumbed to her injuries and died at a hospital ...

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Aamir Khan cried because ‘Katti Batti’ was just so (un)moving

Directed by Nikhil Advani, Katti Batti is a romantic comedy at its core! The plot isn’t ground-breaking or something the audiences haven’t experienced before. In fact, it’s a typical rom-com, perhaps even inspired from a Hollywood romantic comedy, like many Bollywood movies of this genre, repackaged in such a blatantly palpable manner that one can predict the end in the first 10 minutes of the movie, if not five.  So the story goes something like this – a middle class young architect Madhav (Imran Khan) is smitten by Payal (Kangana Ranaut) who is looking for a ‘casual relationship’. At numerous occasions, the ...

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Setting the record straight: 6 stereotypes overseas Pakistanis face

A Pakistani living abroad has to battle with numerous stereotypes. It has been a year since I moved to Australia and I still get heckled by people’s pre-conceived notions about where I’m from. It is not just because I am from Pakistan, a country plagued by terrorism and corrupt regressive regimes, but also because Pakistan is considered to be a religiously extremist country. There is a distinct need to set the record straight and inform the international community that Pakistan is a lot more than what they have assumed it to be. I want to address some of the questions that were ...

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Till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels

Lady Gaga’s recent music video “Till it happens to you” explores the harrowing realm of sexual assault trauma, especially when it occurs on college campus. The most debilitating aspect of on-campus rape and sexual assault is that the victims are young and vulnerable. At this stage of life, they are exploring new horizons and that includes new relationships too. Their friendly intimacy can be easily exploited and used as a weapon against them, assuming their consent in the assault. The sexual assaults mostly occur by someone familiar or within your comfort zone. So it leads to a sense of betrayal and makes it hard for the ...

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