Stories published in December, 2015

We need Amir back because our selection committee couldn’t find a replacement bowler

Pakistan’s team is being re-known for all the excitement it brings to the game of cricket. That comes from the fact that surprises are the forte of Pakistan cricket structure. So much so, that we ended up giving a 40-year-old his debut match just two series before the World T20, and now we are on the verge of giving a chance to a player who just completed his five year ban amidst a spot fixing scandal. We must give credit to the selection committee as Rafatullah Mohamed from Peshawar was included on the back-to-back impressive performances in the Domestic T20 tournament, ...

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I still wonder what my brother Shayan last prayed for on the day of the APS attack

Shahab, my sister, tells me that I look like him. Whenever our father sees my face, he sees Shayan. I avoid him a little at home, because I know how much it pains him to see Shayan’s smile on my face, his gait in my walk and his sparkle in my eyes. On December 16, 2014, the lives of my family members changed forever. We were a happy family of four brothers and two sisters. And now, we are a family with an empty chair at the dining table, an empty bed with an extra pillow and a dry toothbrush that ...

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Why do over 17 million Pakistanis hold a ‘favourable’ view of ISIS?

At first glance, it looks like an overenthusiastic Black Friday sale by Q-Mobile and Huawei, but a closer look at the unmistakably grim faces next to the long banners reveal that this group was involved in Pakistan’s favourite pastime – a protest. Photo: Kashif N Chaudhry Photo: Kashif N Chaudhry Photo: Mohammad Jibran Nasir – Official Yes, we love a good protest, don’t we? We gleefully demonstrate against the sentencing of murderer Mumtaz Qadri, who incidentally threatened to commit the anti-Islamic act of suicide after being hailed as the ideal Muslim and says he isn’t ...

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Hush little bomb

Hush little bomb, You’ve done your work. Hush little bomb, Please hide that smirk.   Smother your fire, Please, just take a break. Leave the sky, Please, for humanity’s sake.   Don’t you see? The lives you’ve snatched? Don’t you feel? The anger you’ve hatched?   Hush little bomb, You’ve done your work. Hush little bomb, Please hide that smirk.   Silence your roar, Please, just lie on the ground. We have had enough, Please, not one more sound.   What have you done? You broke their lives in half, You crushed their bones, But here you sit and laugh.   Hush little bomb, You’ve done your work. Hush little bomb, Please hide that smirk.   Think of the blood, You’ve sprayed in our eyes. Think of the sorrow, You’ve thrown in our lives.   The hatred, the misery, It’s all because of you. The ...

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Medicating women’s feelings

Women are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others. These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of ...

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Bhumman Shah – Our forgotten Sikh heritage

Taking advantage of the long Eid break, I along with a couple of friends decided to explore the ancient Depalpur Fort, about a couple of hours drive from Lahore. We arrived in Depalpur on time and started inquiring about the said fort. To our amazement, not a single person there had a clue as to what we were talking about, until a shopkeeper taking us for some ‘documentary-type’ filmmakers, directed us to a small village on Wasawaywala road by the name of Bhumman Shah. Somewhat disappointed, we decided to make good use of our day and headed to Bhumman Shah. After ...

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Believing in one’s own propaganda: Newspapers of Dhaka and the war of 1971

During a recent visit to Dhaka, I had the opportunity to do research in the National Archives of Bangladesh and the Library of Dhaka University. Although the creation of Bangladesh was not the focus of my research, I was anxious to learn more about the tragic events resulting in the death of countless civilians and the dismemberment of Pakistan. For this purpose, I picked up the files of two English newspapers, Morning News and Pakistan Observer, published from Dhaka and examined their contents for the months of November and December. I looked at the headlines, feature articles and advertisements printed in these newspapers between November ...

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From the diary of a mother who grieves

I love pink flowers. They look so majestic yet delicate. My son helped me plant those. He would be so happy to see them bloom. I stare at them blankly while sitting in our garden. I’m so tired of grieving, so tired of people looking at me with pity. I will forever be an entity of human desolation. A rubbish bin for human guilt.  “Oh look at her! Her plight makes me grateful for everything I have!” I can see the empty empathy in their eyes. The press and ‘celebrities’ all left when they had their fair share of photos and videos for inflating their egos, and ...

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For some, West Pakistan may be home but East Pakistan will never be forgotten

When people would ask me my ethnicity, I used to proudly declare that I am Bengali. This was before I understood the concepts of nationalism, citizenship and belonging. I learnt in my adolescent years that I am, in fact, not Bengali. I am not even from Bangladesh. I have Gujrati origins, and my great grandfather and his family lived in East Pakistan for 24 years after partition. My father only spent seven or eight years in East Pakistan before moving to West Pakistan during the war. Both, my great grandfather and my grandfather, whom I knew closely, spent an important ...

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What do you mean I shouldn’t be allowed back in the US, Mr Trump? It is my home!

Dear Mr Trump, I grew up in one of the best towns in America – Moorestown, New Jersey. Surrounded by a loving, protective family and an amazing community, I attended the best schools, made lifelong friends and married the love of my life. My parents moved to this country carrying what every single American parent carries, the hope for an amazing future for their kids filled with countless, unimaginable opportunities. Thanks to this country and my diligent parents, I always got way more than I ever needed. Thanks to my Christian and Jewish neighbours, I was taught tolerance, aiming high and smiling every day. Thanks to ...

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