Stories published in November, 2015

Pakistan’s children are unsheltered, uneducated and uncared for

The Pakistani state treats its children with criminal neglect despite many laws and policies to protect them. The Constitution guarantees children between the ages of five and 16 the right to compulsory education; yet over six million children are out of school, and others in government and private schools receive a compromised education with little practical relevance to their lives. Pakistani labour laws, although ambivalent on what constitutes juvenility, are consistent on the fact that children should not work in hazardous occupations or long hours or at all if they are under the age of 12. Yet, children work long hours and in ...

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What exactly was India’s role in the 9/11 attacks?

The world witnessed with utter disbelief, when live footage of two passenger planes flying directly into the Twin Towers was telecasted by all major channels of the world. Within minutes, the two towers were razed to the ground, with nearly 3,000 innocent people buried under. The investigations revealed that four passenger planes were hijacked by al Qaeda operatives from the East Coast. The entire operation was meticulously planned and executed by Mohamed Atta, an Egyptian, along with 18 other members, who were all linked to al Qaeda. All 19 hijackers perished in the crash. And for the first time, we saw terrorists launch attacks in a country, ...

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Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Wawrinka, who will bag the ATP final?

After around 60 tournaments in about 30 countries, the finest eight of the tennis world battle out the Barclays ATP Tour finals in London. The top eight are divided into two groups – Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase. The group names instead of Group A and Group B are added as a way of recognising and paying tribute to players who have done exceptionally well in the past. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Tomáš Berdych and Kei Nishikori are put in Group Stan while Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer are put in Group Ilie. World number one, Djokovic comes to London with a bag full of wins. With victories in Paris, Beijing, Shanghai and New York, Djokovic came as a favourite. But he finds ...

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Despite Bugti, a peaceful Balochistan will remain a distant dream

Brahumdagh Bugti, in his recent statement has invited all Baloch political parties for negotiations to sort out their differences. Years in exile have mellowed the young Bugti, who was once viewed as a firebrand proponent for an independent Balochistan. Malik Siraj Akbar, a senior Baloch journalist based in Washington, DC, noted in one of his articles in The Huffington Post that, “In the past, Mr Bugti, 34, who leads the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), had insisted that Pakistan should first recognise the Baloch right to statehood and then ask them to sit on the negotiation table. The BRP, in the meanwhile, has had to pay a ...

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What they don’t tell you about being pregnant

It first starts with the woman (let’s name her Boops) peeing on a stick while simultaneously trying not to wet her hand. It is not a pretty sight. No, don’t try to imagine it. I said, don’t! Then comes the waiting period. Tic Toc, Tic Toc – the longest two minutes to date.  Is it one line, or two lines? One… no… two, I definitely see two! And voila, just like that you are pregnant. The hand you possibly splattered on is forgotten, as you wipe your forehead in relief (or fear) that you are now about to step into another phase of your ...

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From the ‘slow-mo’ to the ‘self-starer’, the kind of people you come across at Zumba

It’s been a few months into your first desk job and you realise that you are expanding horizontally. You can physically feel your behind increase in size as you sit heavily, day after day on a swivel chair in front of your stupid screen. Not only does a nine to five (read nine to eight) job drain you psychologically, because you would much rather be reading a book or travelling the world than sitting in an office signing off emails with ‘regards’, you’re also physically degenerating into a lazy, large, unhealthy mass. And this is precisely why I started Zumba. Before you confuse Zumba ...

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The day Lascaux cried

The first light of dawn was setting on nature’s various wonders and the tribe of Shamosis was waking up to the incessant chirping of early-morning birds. The water in the nearby lake stood motionless. Serenity prevailed: nature reigned supreme, humanity remained at peace. The Shamosis had been travelling for the past six months now without a stop. Usually, Closett used to initiate a gathering of elders whenever an area was discovered fit for encampment but the last such gathering had been a long time ago, when they had left the territorial fringes of modern-day Turkey and entered what one today ...

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25 terms desis love to use

People of every country have their own slang, consisting of words they have either created or adopted. Here are some of ours:  1. ‘Denim ki jeans’: Well, what else would jeans be made of? Plastic? This would be as redundant as saying ‘gosht ka insaan’ or ‘lohay ki gari’. Yes, denim is the fabric used to make jeans. Thanks. 2. ‘Over smart’: Usually said on Facebook to someone perceived to be clever. Only in Pakistan is intelligence used as a slur. Imagine parents using this on their children, “Don’t try to be over smart. Stay within your limitations. You aren’t very intelligent after all.” 3. Dis/Dat/Dere: Even today, there are people who type ‘dis’ instead of ...

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Don’t blame Islam for terrorism

We immigrated to Canada fourteen years ago. It was the year that affected world peace in the worst way possible; it was the year 9/11 happened. A bunch of suicide bombers claiming to be “Muslims” hijacked a plane that eventually crashed into the Twin Towers. Hundreds of people lost their precious lives and many families were left to live with a hole in their hearts without their loved ones. There have been many conspiracy theories about this incident, some claiming it to be an inside job, however what emerged as a result of the horrific incident is a term, ...

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Fear the wrath of God

What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common? Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open. “Look what the Kalash have done now” In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game. It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. ...

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