Stories published in November, 2015

Should Turkey have abdicated its sovereign rights for the greater good?

The downing of the Russian plane that allegedly violated Turkey’s borders might go down in history as the event that led to something much grander in the global context. Or it could just be a news story that shocked and bemused its audience. For an amateur historian, this particular incident is a point of great interest because he knows that the worst of conflicts have erupted over much smaller bullets. Those conflicts have taken the lives of millions and have had the potential to wipe out all existence from the face of the earth. The fateful bullet that took the life of Austrio-Hungarian ...

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You think ISIS is the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world? Well, it’s not.

So you thought ISIS was the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world? Well, it’s not. The deadliest is Boko Haram. The outfit overtook ISIS in 2014 in terms of the number of innocent people killed. To make matters worse, the group has already pledged allegiance to ISIS making it a deadly and potent outsourced partner in Africa. While global media is abuzz with the ISIS catastrophe, Boko Haram – a Nigerian terrorist organisation – is laying strong foundations in North and West Africa. The outfit, based in Nigeria, is also active in Cameroon, Niger and Chad. It also carries attacks in other African ...

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Is Imran Khan’s criticism of Bilawal’s dynastic politics justified?

Imran Khan’s verbal armoury is getting more unimaginative by the day. Usually a good orator, his recent sparring matches with Bilawal Bhutto have fallen flat. While referring to him as ‘baby’ Bilawal during a public address in Malti, Imran said, “You can no longer use your grandfather’s and mother’s picture at your back to call yourself a leader and get votes.” Hitting back at the PTI chief for calling him ‘baby Bhutto’, Bilawal, while addressing PPP supporters in Badin, asked, “Chacha (uncle) Imran, has anyone ever taught a fish how to swim?” Despite the fact that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is a wounded opponent, it ...

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We like our fine-dining plates full, and Pranzo has delivered!

I am not very fond of surprises but my recent visit to a restaurant in Karachi called ‘Pranzo’ was a pleasant one. While driving around trying to figure out where to take my daughter for her graduation treat, someone forwarded a promotional video of this place and we decided to give it a try. And I must say, it turned out to be the best decision we made. The baroque style decor, the dreamy romantic chandeliers, the comfortable table settings, the huge premises, high ceilings, and various levels and sections of seating including outdoors and indoors, all culminated into a ...

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Of morning shows, Nabila’s No Makeup Palette and whitewashing Pakistani women

On November 19, 2015, Nabila’s official Facebook page shared a “make over” picture showing the beauty transformation of a girl after using Nabila’s new ‘No Makeup Palette’. The picture was taken in HUM TV’s morning show. Photo: Facebook/NABILA’S The picture was disturbing on so many levels. The most prominent and applauded transformation was of the girl’s complexion. She went from a dark and dusky hue to absolutely fair and bright. The concept of the ‘no makeup look’ is a popular trend around the world. The quintessential purpose of this trend is to give the skin an even look without overdoing ...

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I applaud Donald Trump’s suggestion to track American Muslims

As an American Muslim, I’ve always wanted to stand out from the mainstream crowd, to be highlighted for my exotic religious identity, ethnic “brownness” and multi-syllable name that will never appear on a Disneyland key-chain. That’s why I applaud Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that Muslims be given a special form of identification and his openness to the possibility of tracking American Muslims in a database. “Some people are going to be upset,” says the GOP front-runner, showing a sensitive spirit and exquisite social media trolling skills. Not I, Señor Trump, not I! Listen, I know you’re swamped right now figuring out how to build a wall ...

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Why does the world continue to ignore these roots of Islamic extremism?

The ghastly terrorist attacks in Paris have once again put Islamic extremism under the microscope. Similarly to all religions, Islam is like a stream of water, available to anyone to drink from. Out of the two billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority draws from this stream uneventfully, living out peaceful lives. There is, however, a corrupt and hateful minority, drinking from an infected portion of the stream because it suits their world view. This infected stream has been allowed to flow for over half a century in the modern era, because confronting it would result in painful and costly soul searching ...

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Why I support Hamza Ali Abbasi standing up for Pakistan’s Ahmadis

All hell broke loose and the balance of the world was skewed when Hamza Ali Abbasi took to social media to write about his grievances yesterday. Usually the most popular regarding his views, this was the first time when tables were turned on him because he spoke up for Ahmadis. I am sure as he went to sleep last night, he must have been astounded with the reality check he got from people who were previously his fans and now out for his blood. His first post highlighted how Pakistanis are quick to condemn and mourn for people dying in Syria, ...

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When England’s brilliance met Pakistan’s shortcomings

One finds it hard to believe, that this is the same energetic Pakistani side that outplayed Sri Lanka in their most recent encounter. Three-one is a ratio of defeat that spells both devastation and embarrassment, especially for a team that prides itself on its performance in the ODI format. Amid all the jubilation after crushing the visitors 2-0 in the longer format of the game, the resolve to sustain a victorious streak was lost. True, England played spectacular cricket throughout the series, but where was Pakistan’s collective leadership which is setting obstacles in their way? In the opening match, Pakistan’s bowling was instrumental in restricting the opposition to ...

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Why the US should welcome Syrian refugees without prejudice

A meme circulating the internet these days goes, “Before you condemn Syrian refugees, make sure you never said ‘All Lives Matter’.” The irony is clear. The fate of Syrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been put in limbo in the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, as seen by an increase in the US of anti-refugee rhetoric. Initially, 31 state governors announced that they will not allow the Syrian refugees to enter their respective states. Then, on November 19, 2015, the US Congress passed a bill by over a two-thirds majority to, “…halt the admission of Syrian refugees until ...

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