Stories published in January, 2016

Agony and starvation in the Syrian war

After haunting pictures and stories of starving civilians showed up on international news sites and social media, food and other desperately needed aid were finally allowed into the Syrian town of Madaya on Monday. Yet this should not be a cause for celebration or complacency. The aid convoys and their supplies offer only a respite in the slow-motion agony that is destroying Syria and its people. What is needed, and has long been needed, is an immediate end to the civil war. The obstacles are daunting. But the news coverage, especially the photos of emaciated Madaya residents, is putting a renewed ...

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Is The Good Dinosaur as great as The Lion King?

The Good Dinosaur is yet another impactful movie produced by Pixar. Do you remember the kind of sentiments Disney evoked within you while watching The Lion King, especially when Mufasa was killed by the herd in front of his son? That is the level of impact I am referring to. The story begins with a twist. An asteroid which was meant to strike earth resulting in the extinction of dinosaurs, misses earth and life goes on as usual due to which humans (cavemen) exist along side with dinosaurs. While dinosaurs are seen talking, human beings communicate with gestures and sounds. This makes the ...

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This video is why our police officers need to learn the art of self-defence

Recently, a brawl broke out between a citizen and a group of traffic police officers at the busy PIDC intersection in Karachi. Initially, media reports painted the citizen as a victim who had been subjected to police torture. Civil society and political activists joined the bandwagon as well and the perpetrator was released after a brief detention period. Later on, when the CCTV footage was released, it showed a completely different picture where a law enforcer was seen approaching a citizen instructing him to move his motorcycle away from the no-parking zone. After a very brief exchange of words, the deranged ...

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My argument in favour of a federation and why religion could not unite Pakistan

Pakistan displays strange contrasting patterns with respect to religion’s influence. Apparently, Pakistan looks to be a relatively moderate country, particularly when compared to the likes of Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etcetera. Here the hardliners have never been voted in power through the ballot box. It has an independent media and relatively loose censorship standards. Radical Islam as a mode of life is still largely absent from the overall lifestyle of the Pakistanis as the country by no stretch of imagination is following the trajectory of Iran. It does not have a charismatic cultish religious leader like Khomeini and the public mood despite being conservative ...

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Women should depend on men for mobility? WoW!

Owing to the fast-paced nature of the world and domestic economic strains, women are no longer confined to the domestic sphere but are seen venturing out into the public. While some say women are taking back the wheel, it can be argued that it is not reclamation that is taking place but for once, it’s an assertion of the female right to belong in the streets. The ‘Women on Wheels’ (WoW) rally is a perfect example of this. On January 10, 2016, 150 women took a huge step. They swerved onto the streets of Lahore on motorcycles after training with ...

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Can Zizou prove to be a saviour for the Galacticos?

Zinedine Zidane is arguably the best player of his generation – watching him glide on the football field was like watching a painter perfect his art. Unstoppable with the ball at his feet, he was truly one of the most gifted players to grace us with his presence on the field. When the Spanish press revealed that Rafa Benitez’s days are numbered as head coach of Real Madrid, rumours had it that Zidane would replace him as the manager of his former club. Instinctively, the fans and the media began to reminisce about the man whose sublime volley won them the Champions League, and the fact that ...

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11 things we learnt from Ho Mann Jahaan

“Ho Mann Jahaan”, apparently among Pakistan’s most anticipated films, released recently to packed houses and rave reviews. While there’s enough in the film to keep you glued to the seats, Pakistan has definitely seen better films lately. An amazing soundtrack, a boisterous star-cast, decent acting, ample use of flashy colours, spectacular cinematography and some great locales are some of the film’s strong points. However, there’s more to the film; and far more shades of grey that go well in one flick. So here’s a round-up of the deeper meanings and greater life lessons from “Ho Mann Jahaan”. No spoilers ...

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan may have ruled the box office, but Wazir is 2016s Bollywood game-changer

Wazir is one film that proves that, if made well, a good movie has the power to possess its audience. With flawless acting from Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar, Wazir is one emotional rollercoaster ride. There is no question that, even at the age of 73, Amitabh Bachchan’s acting is unparalleled. Farhan Akhtar, remaining true to his legacy, gave a performance par excellence. So it is no surprise that this movie is the exemplification of the perfectly synchronised dance of two seasoned actors. You will have to see it to believe these words though. Photo: Wazir Facebook page Bachchan plays the role of Pandit Omkarnath Dhar, a ...

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“Baaji, you never wear a dupatta. Does that mean you are also asking for it?”

It was a despairing day for humanity on Sunday when yet another report of a horrendous rape broke out of South Asia. A 14-year-old Indian girl bravely took to television to share her story. She had been gang raped by three men for two weeks in a dark room before being pitilessly shot after she had been told she was being let go. Speaking of her ordeal to the NDTV news network, the teenager said that the three attackers took turns to rape her over a two-week period. “After a fortnight of repeated abuse, one night they said they will let me go. ...

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Why did the doctors of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital refuse to treat a transgender patient?

Recently, in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, a victim of a gunshot wound was left unattended for three hours. The patient was critically injured and the doctors refused to administer treatment. Moreover, the hospital staff was callous and impertinent. The victim’s name was Adnan. The whole incident sounds unreasonable, doesn’t it? Why would the doctors refuse to touch a patient? Why would the hospital staff point and laugh at a dying person? Well, Adnan is a transgender person. The entire transgender community in Pakistan has had to endure repeated verbal, physical and sexual abuse. I felt particularly sorry when I learned my medical peers were involved in an act ...

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