Stories published in April, 2016

Sorry, Mr Jinnah, we had to ruin your beloved Pakistan

You wanted Pakistan to be a state where we would be free; free to go to our mosques, temples and churches, but today it is a country where many are free to bomb places of worship. You said there would be no difference between Hindus, Christians and Muslims, but today Pakistan’s Muslims are killing each other (as well as Hindus and Christians) because they cannot tolerate those whose beliefs are different from theirs. Your Pakistan would have been a model democracy, but 10 years after your death, a military dictator took over the reins of the country, and we hailed ...

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Saudi Arabia threatening to pull out assets is economic terrorism

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York, it was revealed that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Yet the country the United States immediately attacked in retaliation was Afghanistan. Later, they followed this up with an invasion of Iraq. It has been nearly 15 years and both wars are still on-going, and are estimated to have cost between $4 and $6 trillion. While a response from the United States was certainly expected, after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil – in the country where the event was planned, it is curious that none of ...

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Watching The Jungle Book is one of 2016’s ‘bare necessities’

We all remember Disney’s animated movie, The Jungle Book (1967), which added another feather in Disney’s cap of achievements. Disney recreates the magic nearly 49 years later with the remake and release of The Jungle Book, featuring live-action animation, inclusive of high quality visual effects. The digitally animated characters and jungle make this movie a breath-taking masterpiece. The same story is narrated in a manner that would not have been possible half a century ago. The CGI rendered talking animals will take the viewers by surprise; they are larger than life and add meaning to the live-action adaption, which tells the story of Mowgli ...

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A place to call home: An entrepreneur’s journey to bring community to Pakistan’s poor

When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) first started to share the words of the Quran and spread Islam, he was forced to flee his home of Mecca due to persecution. He, along with the Emigrants who had left their homes behind for the sake of their faith, found refuge with the newly converted Muslims in Medinah. These Muslims — known as Ansar, or “The Helpers,” — embraced Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Emigrants as their own, providing them with food, shelter and security. It is this spirit of generosity and brotherhood that led Jawad Aslam to create Ansaar Management Company (AMC), an Acumen investee that provides affordable ...

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Nawaz Sharif going once.. going twice!

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was recently put on sale on eBay by one frustrated Pakistani who was sick of all the nuisances cluttering up his life. The move was applauded by many world over but mostly in Pakistan, and it occurred to me that this ‘spring-cleaning’ of our country should continue well beyond the realm of prime ministers that have time and again failed to deliver. Here are ‘for sale’ advertisements for other aspects of Pakistan: 1. The judiciary Sindh High CourtPhoto: Online The corrupt judiciary is only good for long marches and works with a special starter key of either monetary or political clout. ...

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Hamza Akbar: A rising star goes unnoticed

Hamza Akbar has not only officially become Pakistan’s first cueist to qualify for the World Snooker Championship, but has also won his first match in the qualifying round against Welsh Jamie Jones (bagging his first professional win alongside his first pro award of 6600 GBP). This was Hamza’s best performance as a professional snooker player in the British Circuit as of yet. Recently, two of his close matches include one against two-time World Champion Mark Williams. In the first round of the 2015 UK Championship, he made a comeback from 4-0, but eventually lost 6-4. Whereas, in the second one, he took Michael Holt to a deciding frame ...

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I’d rather watch a ceiling fan than Shah Rukh’s Fan!

A disclaimer of sorts before I begin this piece; I have never been a huge Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) fan (no pun intended).  Au contraire, even back in the day when everyone and their dog was drooling over his excessively exaggerated psychotic characters in Darr (1993), Baazigar (1993), Anjaam (1994) and Ram Jaane (1995), I found Shah Rukh Khan’s quirkiness more exasperating than endearing. I mean, okay I get it – you pulled off a deranged anti-hero successfully once, but why in God’s name would you don the same eccentric avatar over and over again that is bound to be milked dry in no time? Fortunately ...

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The Jungle Book: justly hyped or just another lazy Hollywood money grab?

The Jungle Book is the latest live action adaptation of the famous collection of short stories from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a boy that was abandoned by his biological parents and finds shelter within a pack of wolves. These wolves adopt him and raise him as their own. Later on, Mowgli comes across colourful characters such as Bageera and Baloo. They protect him from the evil Bengali Tiger, Sher Khan, as he threatens to not only kill the boy, but to slowly take over the law of the jungle. There have been countless Hollywood adaptations of the famous novel; ...

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Egypt’s Hollowed-Out Society

On Wednesday, three judges in Cairo will decide whether to allow prosecutors to pursue their case against me and my co-defendant, the journalist and human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat, in the government’s continuing attack on nongovernmental organisations in Egypt. The case against me has centred on my role in founding the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, which aims to educate the Egyptian public about their civil and human rights. As for Mr Bahgat, it is widely known that his investigative reporting has rattled the government. But the case against him has focused on the activities of the organisation he ...

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The hypocrisy of Muslim outrage in Pakistan

I’m sure everyone remembers Ahmed Mohammed, the clock boy. Does everyone also remember the furor it caused in the pious Muslim circles? Sure, it was pretty ridiculous of the authorities to nab him from his school in the US and it was fairly stupid of them to mistake a homemade clock for a bomb but I do remember the self-righteous outrage in the circles that generally wouldn’t do this ‘please share to spread awareness’ kind of thing if the subject was Naveed Rafique.  Who is Naveed Rafique you ask? He is a 13-year-old boy from Jaranwala, Punjab. Naveed was a position holder in his ...

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