Stories published in October, 2015

Mr Qaim Ali Shah, you have faced tremendous injustice at the grimy hands of this public

What do you do when you have more money than the poor masses of your country can even imagine? You make it rain, of course. What do you do when you travel through helicopter and there are no helipads in your poor, impoverished country? You descend from the skies when you so desire. Remember, the world (read Pakistan) is your oyster (read parking space). Our beloved Sindh Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah, is being chastised for landing his helicopter in the middle of Niaz Stadium and disrupting an under-19 cricket match. People are saying that he is disrespectful, high-handed and embodies VIP culture in Pakistan. ...

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Will Gilgit-Baltistan witness a peaceful Muharram this year?

As the Himalayan peaks witnessed their first snowfall, I was automatically reminded of my days in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I turned towards the window overlooking the silhouette of mountains, and I wondered whether Gilgit will witness a peaceful Muharram this year. Gilgit, being the capital of the province, is home to a fair representation of all sects; Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis and Noor Bakhsis. During Muharram, streets are thronged with men, women and children making their way to various majalis and processions.  “We climb the mountains around Gilgit valley to illuminate the name of Imam Hussain (RA), drawn out with candles,” says a young ...

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Zahid Rasool Bhat, set ablaze for being a Muslim in Indian-administered Kashmir

Indian-administered Kashmir is on the boil against the mob killing of 18-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was attacked with petrol bombs on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway near Udhampur on October 9th, when he was travelling back to the valley from New Delhi. Bhat, the Kashmiri trucker, sustained serious injuries when the right-wing goons mercilessly beat him up and set him ablaze. Bhat’s killing raged violent protests followed by a shutdown on October 12th, called by the pro-freedom factions. The same day, the Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed strict restrictions in most parts of Kashmir to prevent protests against Bhat’s killing. However, Bhat’s body was ...

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Mohammad Amir deserves half the salary and no chance at captaincy

Mohammad Amir, the young cricketer who was banned for a spot fixing scandal, still managed to garner a lot of sympathy from Pakistanis, be it cricketing legends or experts and because of this, he has been allowed to play cricket once again. However, if the cricket fraternity thought Amir would be welcomed back with open arms, they were wrong. Yes, Amir is still young, has immense talent, bearing in mind his recent performances in the realm of domestic cricket, where he claimed more than 30 wickets in six matches during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, yet, people, in specific his team mates, will not be as forgiving. This ...

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George Lucas took Star Wars to the dark side. Can JJ Abrams bring it back?

At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker faces off against his father, Darth Vader, under the watchful eye of the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Initially, Luke tries his best not to engage with Vader in combat, not only in the hopes of pulling his father from the clutches of evil, but to shield himself from the intoxicating draw of the dark side. Darth Sidious, “Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!” Eventually,  Vader breaks through Luke’s mental defences, “So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from ...

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Why are we criticising ISPR?

“Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less”, George RR Martin could not have penned it better. The narrative making the rounds is that there is a civil-military imbalance, and that the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) must immediately reconsider its course of action and dispel any notion of a “soft coup”. It is peculiar; critics first shower praise upon the ISPR for its performance, then highlight the credibility a single tweet by Director General (DG) ISPR commands, and later conclude by recommending that ISPR cease and desist. Why? From the British Army to the Indian Army, a simple ...

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Karbala is a call for empathy, a call to stand up against injustice

Today, conversations on religion, religious beliefs and notions even peripheral to religion are quickly associated with extremism, conservatism and terrorism. Therefore, I would like to begin with a definition of the word ‘religion’. Religion means ‘to bind’, to connect an individual to God – it is an institution with a purpose to transcend human beings and connect them to their creator, be it Allah (SWT), Ram, Jesus, Buddha or just Nature. However, religion remains incomplete without a line of tradition and rituals, which is an attempt to humanise the process of connecting with God. Muharram is the first month of ...

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A chocolatey affair with this decadent gateau au chocolat – it demands to be loved

Get ready for the ultimate chocolate affair with this decadent gateau au chocolat; it demands to be loved. When it comes to a showdown of desserts, no matter how fancy a dessert may be, it can never beat a basic chocolate cake. No matter how stressed you are, chocolate cake will always have your back, because ‘stressed’ when spelled backward is ‘desserts’. I have been doing tricky recipes over the past few weeks, hence this time around, I decided to stick to my childhood sweetheart – chocolate cake. I was never a fan of baking, up until last year. Since then, I feel the easiest ...

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The sentiments of Karbala do not only belong to Shias

I would firstly like to inform my readers that I am a Muslim, a Hussaini at heart. I believe that Imam Hussain (RA) was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He was the one who had gifted us our religion back. I would like to shed light upon the Battle of Karbala. This tragic event was not just an attack on Imam Husaain (RA) but also his family and followers. It was an attack on the family of our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) – the same Prophet (PBUH) who was extremely concerned for the good of his Ummah, and spent his nights ...

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Does Netanyahu hate Palestinians so much that he is blaming them for the Holocaust?

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, always the very popular man in the Muslim world, had a revelation to share with the universe a few days ago. He stated that the very man responsible for the genocide of six million Jews in the world, Adolf Hitler, had no intentions of killing them after all.   Who would have thought? In fact, it had been a Palestinian, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who had convinced him to do it. Of course, it had to be a Muslim that led him astray. The Mufti, Haj al-Husseini apparently whispered melodiously “Burn Jews” in Hitler’s ears; his eyes ...

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