Stories published in October, 2015

Karachi might not be a safe place to live but neither is Houston

What is the chance of a bad outcome, like death, in Karachi? Based on anecdotes circulated on social media and what you read in the news, you might assume that chances for a series of unfortunate events remain high in this city. This conception prompted a friend to do some calculations to gauge the chance of an unexpected death in Karachi, compared to any major metropolitan city in the US. Assuming how the calculations were fairly accurate, the bottom line was intriguing. The likelihood of an untimely, unexpected death was similar in the two places. Comparing the death rates in Karachi with other cities and countries was perhaps meant to ...

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Dear (ir)responsible Pakistani media, the Mina tragedy needed sensitivity not sensationalism

The tragic stampede in Mina during the recent Hajj and the way it was covered by the media, mainstream as well as social, once again revealed all that is wrong in the way journalism is practiced in Pakistan. Media stirred the pot with the ingredients of sensationalism, conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation and deliberate biases. This was all based on a historical baggage, and the offering served was such a mish-mash that it became difficult to sift fact from fiction. Yes, it was a developing story. In fact, it was not just a ‘story’, but it was a tragic human event that demanded sensitive handling, ...

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Beef is to India what blasphemy is to Pakistan

Date: November 4, 2014 Place: Pakistan A Christian couple, Shahzad Masih (26) and his five month-pregnant wife, Shama Bibi (24), accused of allegedly burning pages of the Holy Quran were locked inside a room in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, by an angry mob. At the same time, one could hear announcements being made from mosque loudspeakers in nearby villages that “a Christian woman had desecrated the Quran”. Residents of the village and the couple’s brick kiln co-workers gathered people from five surrounding villages. Before long, a frenzied mob, comprising thousands of people armed with clubs, hatchets and axes, dragged the hapless couple out of ...

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Defence, check! Midfielders, check! But what about Arsenal’s strike force?

I have been an avid Arsenal fan for over a decade. After several years, the current team has me excited again. Starting the campaign with a win against the former champions, Chelsea, and lifting the Community Shield is as good as it gets for Arsenal fans.  It’s not the perfect squad and it might not even mount a lasting challenge for the league, but that is what you get with an arrogant, stubborn, and legendary coach, Arsène Wenger. As fans say, “In Arsene we trust.” Starting at the back, defence has been a problem area for years, especially after the departure of Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, and defensive ...

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Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA Speech: Packing all the right punches in all the right directions

For the past couple of weeks, the slight whiff of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s possible talking points of his United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech cultivated a foreboding rather than being a good premonition. However, surprisingly enough and much to the unexpected delight of his nation, the prime minister proved a lot of people very wrong. In his UNGA speech yesterday, he packed some pretty powerful punches in his less than 20 minutes of total speech time. He not only raised the issues that Pakistanis hoped he would highlight, but went a little beyond them by using just the right combination ...

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Eid at Rama Pir’s Festival: A weekend of qurbaani meat, prasad and religious harmony

Tando Allahyar, a district tucked away in interior Sindh, had a very curious Eidul Azha this year. On the night of September 24th, while cows and goats sheepishly awaited slaughter in the narrow galis (streets), the Rama Pir ground was alive with the sounds of bells and chants. I visit Tando Allahyar every year to celebrate Eid with my family. When I was young, I used to be able to go out on the streets without a care in the world. Now that I’m older, I can’t leave the house without a distinct purpose and a chaadar wrapped around my body. When my ...

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Should Nepal be declared a Hindu state in the new constitution?

Nepal’s new constitution is one step forward but two steps backwards. Although, it took the Himalayan state an estimate of eight years to build this constitution, but unfortunately, the document prepared by the representatives does not live up to their status. Hence, here lies the crux of the conflict that the Nepalese society has been witnessing for the last month.  Three sections of the society – Madhesis, Janajatis (indigenous people) and women – feel neglected due to the new constitution and they have been very vocal against this matter. Among them, Madhesis  inhabit Nepal’s southern plains and share the border with India. Under the leadership of ...

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Revolution 2020: Corruption, injustice and inequality, what more can one ask for

Chetan Bhaghat’s Revolution 2020 is a stirring story which mirrors love, corruption and ambitions. Bhaghat is a well-renowned Indian writer, who is famous for his novels such as Half Girlfriend, Two States, Call Centre, among others. We have also seen depiction of his novels in Bollywood movies. Revolution 2020 revolves around three childhood friends Gopal, Raghav, and Aarti. Gopal belongs to a middle-class family and aims to become a rich man. Hence he uses his knowledge to make money. On the other hand, coming from a wealthy family, Raghav’s goals are to use his intellect to start a revolution and make a difference in the society. Aarti comes from a ...

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