Stories published in January, 2016

Sex with any girl under the age of 18 is rape!

Cowards. Cowards. All of them. Cowards.   On Friday, Pakistan’s National Assembly tore down a pitch that whichever way you look at it, seemed like a no-brainer. Introduced by the ruling government’s PML- N, the proposal sought to end child marriages through a bill called ‘Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014’. That’s great, right? Who doesn’t want to place a ban on parents forcing their children to tie the knot, when they aren’t old enough to tie their shoe laces? Who doesn’t want to place a ban on fathers selling off their young daughters to lecherous old men for profit? Who doesn’t want to protect ...

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Carol: A heartening romance

The following is a short movie review. Carol (2015) is a melodrama set in the 1950s (adapted from the novel The Price of Salt) where Therese (Rooney Mara) is an aspiring photographer who falls in love with an older, more sophisticated woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett). Within the mist of a difficult divorce process with her husband, Carol and Therese embark on a journey across the West, trying to find answers in a world gone array. On paper, this might seem like a film one had seen countless times before, but it is Todd Haynes’s impeccable attention to detail and dialogue that ...

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I believe in Mohammad Amir but there is a slight problem with his comeback

Let’s get one thing out of the way; Mohammad Amir should be forgiven for all his wrongdoings. Plenty of people disagree and think he should continue to pay for his sins. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but, I’m sorry, are these people heartless? I want to see him represent the country with pride and reward his compatriots and those who have continued to believe in him, even though he disgraced the nation. It’s not just Pakistan who should be behind this precocious bowler, who some believe was well on his way to becoming the greatest bowler, such were his feats at his tender ...

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Muslims and Christians are more similar than you think

Recently, a professor at Wheaton College in the US was put on ‘administrative leave’ after she donned a hijab to show her solidarity with Muslims and expressed that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Wheaton College is an Evangelical Christian institution which holds firmly to fundamentals of the Evangelical church. The Statement of Faith of Wheaton College defines Evangelical belief in God as, “WE BELIEVE in one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons: the everlasting Father, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, the giver of life; and we believe that God created the Heavens and the ...

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With or without the F-16s, Pakistan will remain a regional game changer

Fighting Falcon F-16, an American built multi-role fighter jet, has enjoyed a deep-rooted relationship with Pakistan for over three decades. Thanks to its design, it offers an almost complete solution to the tactical and narrowed strategic demands of a compact Air Force like Pakistan’s. Its matchless aerodynamics and upgraded avionics put it a notch above its peers of third generation fighters. The prime factor of its marriage to Pakistani Air Force is its war tested (Afghan-Soviet) history. It was the first advance jet fighter of the American region that became the green tail, replacing the renowned F-86, the Sabre. F-16, just after its induction, was very promptly ...

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Is education killing creativity?

This one TED-talk made me rethink my concept of education. Education for me had always been about rote learning and grades. I mean, if I could repeat the day’s lesson verbatim I was one of the most intelligent students. But if that logic applies, then a parrot can repeat things perfectly too so it is probably the most intelligent of all life forms. But parrots aren’t educated. Do you see my conundrum? Education should be about more than just about becoming literate, it should also facilitate creativity and originality. In my opinion, formal education is producing a workforce conditioned to be conformist; ...

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Siachen: Taking theatre to the peaks of greatness

I read somewhere if you continuously compete with others you become bitter, but if you compete with yourself you become better. Anwar Maqsood definitely believes in this because he has outshone his previous plays Pawnay 14 August, Sawa 14 August and Dharna with his latest Siachen. Siachen has outdone every brilliant quip and taken this theatre performance to the peaks of greatness! The director Dawar Mehmood doesn’t reveal anything beyond the vague prelude ‘about 20,000 feet away from God Himself’ on the play’s Facebook page. It is the story of a group of soldiers stationed above the clouds, showcasing their struggle in sub-zero conditions, ...

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Sheraniland: Sharia law needs saving from Mr Sherani

In the past 15 years alone, Pakistan has made great strides by introducing numerous laws to help embolden and empower its womenfolk. Unfortunately, for Pakistan’s women, putting pen to paper only creates the law. It doesn’t actually implement that law. Nor does that law act as a shield against Pakistan’s powerful yet disillusioned institution of bearded clerics with an agenda. Take for example, the current chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Sherani, whose favourite pastime (when not fist fighting other maulanas) is undoing centuries of incremental change in women’s rights with a quick brandishing of the religious zealot’s favourite weapon: the mighty, all-encompassing and all too frequently misinterpreted torch of Sharia law. To be ...

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He was 12-years-old and wanted to liberate slaves in Pakistan. He is dead now

On April 16, 1995, a 12-year-old boy named Iqbal Masih was shot and killed while he was riding his bicycle with his friends in Muritke, near Lahore. He was punished for raising his voice against child labour. While he was in the US, he was asked why he wanted to return to Pakistan when he knew of the danger to his life. To that, he courageously responded saying his mission was more important than his life. And it was with his life that he paid the price for standing up for his beliefs. He was just 12-years-old. Masih said, “I want to do what Abraham Lincoln did.” He wanted to ...

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Pakistan’s complete lack of planning creates the ideal environment for violence

A loud blast followed by an explosion in Quetta on Wednesday left several persons dead and others severely injured. The scene was a polio vaccination centre, and the explosion took place near a group of vehicles which were being loaded with vaccination supplies. Twelve of the dead belonged to the police, two to the paramilitary, while two were civilians. Fifteen people died at the hands of a suicide bomber whose remains were later collected from the site. The police and paramilitary personnel killed had come to the polio vaccination centre to escort the polio workers since polio teams are so commonly subjected to attacks ...

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