Stories published in December, 2015

Unless PIA is privatised, it will continue to hijack the nation

Having already confirmed with Pakistan International Airline (PIA) my return flight to Karachi a few days earlier, I was feeling relaxed on the penultimate day of my lovely vacation in Nepal, but when I called the Pakistani national airline’s office in Kathmandu to re-confirm my flight, I received a surprise. According to the PIA representative, my flight had been cancelled days ago, and I was to wait another four days to fly to Karachi. As much as I was fascinated by Nepal, I didn’t wish to spend more time in the country. For one, I was running low on cash ...

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Is it game over for Imran Khan and PTI?

Remember when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as a popular party in the country ahead of the 2013 general elections? Everybody was swept away by Imran Khan’s tsunami rhetoric and we all thought we had found Pakistan’s saviour. It received an overwhelming response from its supporters in various consistencies, which made it the second largest party after Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The urban middle-class was thrilled. They all swayed to the chants of ‘real change’ and ‘naya Pakistan’. They were spellbound and euphoric. They thought they were part of a historic movement that would end corruption, nepotism and injustice in Pakistan. The idea that ...

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Pakistan’s soldiers, Pakistan’s army fathers, you carry my name

The delicious bread – Peshawari naan – was longer than I was tall. Seven-years-old, in a sundress and an oversized sunhat, I was a very British child in Peshawar. Hairpin roads, every pothole palpable in our Ford Transit, we lurched into 1975 Pakistan through the Khyber Pass. Descending the Hindu Kush, we finally entered the dusty, garrison town. At the end of the 7,000 miles drive from England, my Pakistani parents, younger then than I am as I write this now, navigated toward our final destination. From my window, I struggled to pronounce the English signposts – for a long time “Pesh-ware” was ...

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2170 days

It was a cold sunny morning, in March 2010, when I was given the opportunity to work with a young dynamic team that would be a part of an upcoming newspaper. We, as a small team at our Islamabad office, had started telling people that we were working for The Express Tribune, a paper affiliated with the New York Times, to be launched in a couple of months. “We don’t know what newspaper you guys are talking about,” almost everybody responded. “We will talk to you when this paper actually launches.” To our horror, most of the people we called slammed their phones on ...

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Justin Trudeau’s PR manager may need to do a better job in the future

Whoever is managing Justin Trudeau’s PR campaign is doing a pretty good job, it seems. Trudeau was personally present to greet the first plane carrying Syrian refugees. Videos of him picking out jackets for young Syrian girls have gone viral, and further improved Trudeau’s image as the man of the people, a far cry from Stephen Harper’s rigid regime. While Trudeau’s command on critical policy issues such as minimum wage appears to be pretty weak, his command on items that gather media attention is the opposite. Most analysts within the Canadian political world agree that Trudeau’s honeymoon may not last long, and they are correct. There ...

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Shahrukh Khan and Kajol fail to deliver their magic in “Dilwale”

Rohit Shetty is known for his star studded cast, comedy capers which are stuffed with silly jokes, senseless scripts, unbelievable coincidences and over-the-top blasts that fling vehicles in the air. Whenever Shahrukh Khan and Kajol have appeared together on screen, the audience has burst with love. The new box office records are a testament to that.  The duo’s popularity is reminiscent to that of Amitabh Bachan and Rekha. No other on-screen couples  have been adored by fans as strongly as these two. The young and multi-talented heartthrob Varun Dhawan is considered the next big “entertainer” in B-town. Photo: ...

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I was at APS on December 16, 2014 and now I know what hell will look like

On December 15, 2015, I received a text from my daughter’s school stating that, in order to commemorate the APS Peshawar tragedy, December 16, 2015 would be a holiday. It was then that that harrowing Tuesday morning came back to hit me in the face. Hard. And then it began. I started reliving every moment of it again. That fateful Tuesday morning, at 10:52am my phone buzzed. The briefing was short and to the point. I didn’t have the time to think about the magnitude of what was being said to me. All I knew was that I was on duty. Whilst ...

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This is, unabashedly, a Xmas toy drive plea

Full disclaimer: I’m writing this because the lovely blogs editor who sits across the room from me thinks it’s important you and I discuss my toy drive. So hello reader, let me tell you about the Xmas Toy Drive. Ok, that sounds like the pen pal letter some poor sod wrote in fifth grade and then wondered if the reply got lost in the mail. As you can see, I’m not very good at selling myself — no pun intended. But see, here’s the thing, I don’t need you to buy something from me. I can’t sell you much to begin ...

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When Serena Williams slammed stereotypes and ‘strong’ became the new ‘beautiful’

Whenever I ask my daughter who is her favourite tennis player, she would always say Maria Sharapova , Caroline Wozianski or some other blonde, beautiful and above all, white player. Whenever she is playing a game on her tablet, she would always choose a frail blonde avatar. And whenever her brother would tease her saying she looks dark, it would be taken as the ultimate sting. She has never chosen a dark-skinned doll or one with a sturdy body. It makes me wonder about the factors affecting her choices and her perception of beauty. Perhaps, the fault lies with the media, the society or ...

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You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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