Stories published in December, 2015

Not every frog you kiss will turn into a prince

Shaheena called her friend at 3am, crying bitterly; she was totally devastated. She told her friend that the boy she was in a relationship with for the last 15 months had gotten engaged to his cousin and was getting married. Shaheena had endured break-ups before in her life. Twice, with two different boys. This time, however, she was having a hard time coming to terms with the end of this particular relationship. She was stuck with all the memories of her relationship; the endless check-ins from their favourite eateries, the selfies, little gifts, late night chat history stored in her phone and the ...

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My country won’t stand up against rape, but I have to stand up for the national anthem?

“Nationalism is a great danger. It is the particular thing which for years has been at the bottom of India’s troubles. It is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against the education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.” – Rabindranath Tagore On Monday, at a movie hall in Mumbai, a family was humiliated, threatened, told they would be slapped and were forced to leave the hall amidst applause, because they did not stand up during the national anthem. This was not a victory for patriotism but a defeat for humanity. ...

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I am very glad that Shireen Mazari’s daughter voted for PML-N

Recently, news emerged that the Central Information Secretary for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shireen Mazari, and her daughter voted differently in the local body elections. Her daughter, Imaan Hazir, created quite a stir by voting for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Democracy, by its very definition, proposes that the freedom to vote is a wholly individual choice. It is not something that a person can be coerced into doing otherwise there would be scant difference between democracy and dictatorship. But what happens when a prominent member of a famous political party faces mutiny amongst her domestic ranks? Just an FYI: I voted for minorities & PMLN. — Imaan ...

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Five lessons that cycling in Pakistan is teaching me about life

After visiting a friend in Bombay who cycles nearly every morning (at 4:30am), I decided I wanted to try something similar in Pakistan. Although I haven’t managed the 4:30am part yet, I have been learning some interesting lessons from cycling, particularly on a Thanksgiving ride to the breath-taking Katas Raj Temples. 1. It’s not as far (or as impossible) as we think When I was initially thinking about riding to Katas Raj, I was pretty worried that I might be too tired for the 60 kilometres ride. After thinking about it for an embarrassing amount of time, I finally overcame this ...

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I know what Muslims are like

I haven’t written many articles or newsletters this year. Part of the reason is that I’ve been busy on other fronts, in my personal life as well as working on a couple of new book projects, plus launching a modest book-publishing venture (the website is still a work in progress). But I also don’t think the world needs a steady stream of op-eds and tweets, opinions and “quick takes”, from me, any more than it needs them from anybody else. Part of our problem these days is that we all have all too much to say. So I’m writing now to say something I ...

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Using Mumtaz Qadri to bag votes is a sick tactic, Imran Khan

Mumtaz Qadri is a convicted killer – a man who shot his own boss in cold blood, then Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, for taking a stand in favour of minorities being unfairly prosecuted under a draconian and archaic law. Since his heinous crime, Qadri has become a beacon for the insane in this country; a symbol to which extremists flock like birds flying south for the winter, or like suicidal moths burning themselves on tube lights. Never mind the fact that Qadri threatened to take his own life (which honestly, is like threatening to gift someone a Ferrari); a clear violation of Islam’s anti-suicide rule. This ...

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The case of stolen side mirrors and stereo systems

Fahad Ahmed, a banker by profession, was provided a company-maintained car by his employer. After having upgraded from a two-wheeler and now commuting in luxury, this brand new 1300cc vehicle was the car of his dreams. Little did he know that soon he would be coming under tremendous stress, just in order to keep this car safe from various criminals, roaming the streets of Karachi. It was a Sunday and Fahad had gone to his in-laws for dinner with his wife and two kids. After attending to the social call and exchanging farewell, the family returned to their brand new ...

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