Stories published in December, 2015

Why isn’t the standard of education in Pakistan’s private schools regulated?

A free school run by Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain, Dawes Lane Academy, has been closed down, simply because it failed to secure a suitable permanent premise. The school was opened last year on a temporary property after getting necessary permission from the Department for Education. Does that, in anyway, ring a bell? Private educational institutions today have become a billion rupee industry in Pakistan. A phenomenal growth in private sector schools between 2000 to 2014 has been recorded – an increase of 69 per cent, as compared to a mere eight per cent in public sector schools. This should not come as a surprise since not much is required to open a private school in Pakistan. Institutions offering ...

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America, you didn’t let them go to Disneyland because they are Muslim?

Every single day, I wake up to more and more stories of Muslims either being thrown in front of moving trains, or having pigs heads thrown at their educational establishments or even being denied entry to the US in order to go on an innocuous holiday to Disneyland. Muslims seem to be tainted by association.  Whenever a Muslim is portrayed in a positive light in the media, a couple of weeks later the same publication will try and besmirch him in some manner, like Aylan Kurdi’s father being labelled as a people smuggler after his son become an emblem of the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s as if being a Muslim ...

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New girl in Lahore

When you are a college dropout, tired of making coffee for a living with a half-finished manuscript lurking in your head, it’s only natural for you to pack your bags and fly to the East; land of your father and his father, in pursuit of a hippie lifestyle. Okay, let’s just say Whole Foods organic market was out of budget. What was I thinking though when I boarded that plane from good ole Amreeka? What was dad thinking when he labelled pasteurised, hormone-free milk fake? Was that out of his loyalty towards the Australian cows milked here in Lahore? Or the nehr water that makes its ...

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To defeat the ISIS, America needs to get Saudi Arabia on board

In the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, people are asking whether ISIS’s attempt to strike at public places is part of their deliberate strategy to attack liberal western values. The argument gains credence especially when one finds ISIS chose soft targets like a concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants in Paris, a city which they described as a “den of prostitution and vice”, to instil fear in the minds of the people. Samuel Huntington, a well-known political scientist, wrote in his insightful and classic book “The Clash of Civilisations and Remaking of the World Order”, “… the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and ...

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6 bizarre ways people have tried to defend Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after Bisma’s death

Mohammad Faisal Baloch said to reporters that according to the doctors, had his daughter Bisma received medical attention only 10 minutes earlier, her life could have been saved. Instead, she died because of the delay caused by the security measures taken to protect the visiting Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, at Karachi’s Civil Hospital. The tragedy has resulted in plenty of backlashes towards Bilawal and VIP culture in general. But curiously enough, there has been some backlash towards the backlash… a backlash’ception if you will. This has come not only courtesy of Bilawal’s own camp, but from PPP ...

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The verdict is out: Presenting Bollywood’s most popular versus most impactful movies from 2015

2015 was a mixed bag of a year for Bollywood. On one hand, we saw a lot of new-age filmmakers come up with some really off-beat stuff, while on the other, we were subjected to some same old, regressive, masala films. The classic confusion that every movie critic faces in picking the top films of the year is whether to go with flicks that have Box Office tills ringing or go with movies that set one’s own heart fluttering. I have simply avoided the whole dilemma by including both. So without any further ado, here are the top five popular movies ...

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A curious Muslim boy’s love for Christmas in Karachi

As a first grader, there are a few things that cause wonderment and excitement, and for me, the sight of a huge green decorated tree was right up there. It was just before the winter break and as I walked into the corridor in front of the classes, I saw it. To a six-year-old, the six feet tree looked impossibly large and beautiful bedecked with colourful balls, luminescent stars, tiny boxes that promised much and what looked to be real snow. And goodness, was that candy cane on the branches! I looked back at my father who smiled and quickly slipped ...

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Can all Muslims act like the Muslim heroes of Mandera?

There was an incident in Kenya whereby a group of Muslims thwarted a potential attack by al-Shabaab (the fire spitting Somali al Qaeda) when they tried to kill a group of Christians who were traveling by bus to Mandera, Kenya. “Finally”, I said to myself, “Here’s something that shows that the Muslims still have some compassion left to do good and care about fellow humans!” In this day and age of doom and gloom, instances of turmoil and destruction loom large on our heads and overwhelm our thought process. Life, as we know it, is a tough nut to crack. ISIS and ...

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Dear Bisma, you will be forgotten and there will be more like you

Dear Bisma, Although there is much uproar as to how tragically you passed away yesterday, it is unfortunate that in a few days’ time, this case, like every other, will be dusted under the carpet and forgotten as a new Bisma will come into being. It never stops. I hope wherever you are, there is justice. I am glad you do not have to grow up knowing that the lives of us citizens are not as important as security protocols. I am glad that you are not subjected to the violence you may have faced like more than three-fourths of our women do, or that ...

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With a record like his, why was Younus Khan excluded from the PSL?

As many as 98 players have been picked by five franchises for the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL). The tournament promises to be an exciting event. Out of the three formats of cricket, in T20 cricket, it is not likely that every player gets an opportunity to bat and ball in one game. The format is fast and one good performance can change the whole game more often, as compared to Test or ODI cricket. Fielding and fast-paced nature of the format means that fitness is essential. Having said that, this PSL is going to be without Younus Khan, the former World T20 ...

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