Stories published in December, 2015

Will the PPP extend the Rangers’ tenure? It’s damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led provincial government appears to be sinking deeper into quicksand with every reflex and move that it makes – whatever the direction. Every path appears to have a noose dangling on the horizon, except for the flight to Dubai. Better the oasis in those dunes than local ones. On the issue of the extension of the Rangers’ tenure, the Sindh government has stumbled from one parliamentary pillar to the next. It was damned if it extended the Rangers’ tenure, damned if it didn’t, and is currently damned that it has curtailed the powers of the paramilitary force. Every move has played ...

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When the Pakistani media decided to exploit a painful tragedy like APS

It is difficult to imagine what it is like to be one of the parents of the 122 school kids brutally murdered during the Army Public School (APS) massacre in Peshawar. On the morning of December 16, 2014, these families said goodbye to their children as they left for school, and a few hours later, were shattered by the news that their loved one(s) had been mercilessly gunned down by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists. I know of parents broken after losing their child to a terminal disease, and eventually found solace. The slow torture of witnessing a brave beloved helplessly battle such an illness is ...

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Does ‘masculinity’ deter men from seeking professional psychological help post APS?

The devastating impact of a traumatic life experiences such as a terrorist attack cannot be denied. The risk of developing psychological after-affects including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief in such instances is also well documented. Children and adults alike may experience flashbacks, nightmares, inability to concentrate, frequent crying and outbursts, difficulties with sleep and appetite, relationship problems, suicidal thoughts and attempts, drug abuse, and other high risk behaviours. In a society that has raised it boys and young men to be brave and heroic and socialises to believe that any expression of sadness, hurt and fear would ...

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An open letter to Shah Rukh Khan from a “Breaking Bad” fan

Dear Mr Shah Rukh Khan, Recently, I came across news that you plan on re-making Breaking Bad. Into… a Bollywood movie. At that very moment, I felt like someone had reached down my throat, grabbed my intestine and twisted it.  If my above statement didn’t give it away, I am a diehard fan of AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad. For me, it is the most epic show in the history of television. There’s something very addictive about it; it leaves you begging for more. Surprisingly, the show’s plot is very simple, where the characters hatch completely unanticipated schemes episode after episode. The show is full of ingenious ...

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#IStandWithAhmadis because those who don’t cannot stand with Shias, Christians, Hindus, Parsis or each other

A couple of days ago the #IStandWithAhmadis hashtag campaign trended in Pakistan. I tweeted it as well. A lot of my tweets were quite whimsical. I believe that sometimes the best catharsis is to confront anxiety with humour. Here though things are different. This time I say what I really feel, particularly now, in light of the protests outside Hafeez Center against the removal of anti-Ahmadi stickers outside a shop. So in solidarity with one of our country’s most persecuted communities and indeed all those who suffer at the hands of tyranny #IStandWithAhmadis once again. #IStandWithAhmadis. #IStandWithAhmadis because we share the same earth, ...

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I live in Ireland and feel insulted that the Irish Consulate is delaying visas to Pakistanis

I am writing this in staunch protest to the lethargy that plagues the staff at the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Pakistan. It is a serious matter, and we must find it within ourselves to sympathise with the poor sufferers. I have been working in the Republic of Ireland as a doctor for the past two years. Despite all the tenacity that my experience has granted me, I could not rid them of their ailment. Ireland is a magnificently beautiful country. From the day I arrived, I wanted to bring my parents to this piece of heaven for a trip. My plans ...

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I am not saying other terrorist attacks should have less recognition but that Pakistan did not receive enough

On December 16, 2014, Pakistan experienced the darkest day in its history. Barbaric monsters from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) massacred over 144 people, out of which 132 were children, at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar. The youngest of victims were six-years-old. Many young children saw friends, teachers and staff from their school slaughtered in front of their eyes. Many lay amongst dead bodies, pretending to be dead themselves. The horrors of that day are too unbearable to think about and too graphic to mention. The world watched and turned its eyes away. One hundred and twenty two dead children and no ...

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Bara dushman bana phirtha hai jo bacchon se darta hai

December 16, 2014, is a day that will remain forever etched in the memory of every Pakistani who lived through it. The loss of 147 innocent lives to extremism shook not just the nation but the world with its inhumanity. Pakistan military’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), has aimed to play its part through two hauntingly beautiful and heart-warming musical tributes that have the power to reduce the listener to tears. The first video was released by ISPR around a month after the horrific attacks and was broadcasted on various television channels. It depicts various students wearing the Army Public School (APS) uniform. It is a ...

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365 days, 13 hours, and 45 minutes ago my brother, Arham, left us

Three hundred and sixty five days, 13 hours, and 45 minutes have passed since that incident. Sometimes, the whole film of that day rolls back on my mind’s tape and I see myself wandering around the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). How can I forget those 25 minutes? It was then that my dad walked inside the hospital to enquire after my brother. When he came out, I asked him, “Abu! Kuch pata chala?” (Dad, did you find out anything?) I can’t forget the moment in which my father mustered the courage to say out loud, “He is dead.” I couldn’t believe my ears; even though the words were so simple, ...

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