Stories published in April, 2016

Poor little rich boy

Three days ago, Shaan Taseer, a forty-something scion of one of the wealthiest families in Pakistan trashed a couple of college students half his age, over a school project. The attack was sexist, classist — and public. And, it went downhill from there. Taseer’s delicate sensibilities were initially offended by the students’ small protest-art installation comprising of 25 sanitary napkins taped to a wall inside their school campus. The seven friends, young women and men, hoped to stir a conversation about the body shaming that accompanies the onset of menstruation. Instead, the students, particularly two of the women, were singled out for verbal ...

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Are Pakistan’s “still unmarried” women the leftovers?

The best ones get taken first. The ones that are second choice get taken next. Those who are still not taken are considered ‘left overs’ – something must be lacking. No we are not talking about the kurtas on sale at a pret store, nor the shoes on the rack of an international shoe store. We are talking about women. Talented, smart, intelligent Pakistani women, each uniquely beautiful, irrespective of whether she is poised to be a home maker or a working woman. It is shameful that this is how society perceives them if they are still unmarried. Being engaged or ‘in a relationship’ ...

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Underappreciated, undermined: Five performers that went unnoticed in the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in an attempt to renovate and reorganise the much criticised domestic set-up, held a player draft for the upcoming Haier Pakistan Cup scheduled to begin on April 19, 2016, in Faisalabad. The tournament will consist of five regional teams: Federal, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan. During the draft system, captains of all five teams were given complete autonomy to build a team from scratch consisting of 15 players to be chosen from a list of over 170 domestic performers. Similar to the draft conducted previously, before the beginning of Pakistan Super League (PSL), this draft caused ...

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Is it okay if someone doesn’t want to say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ in India?

Humans have been organising themselves in some sort of collective national structure since time immemorial. As much as many intellectuals, including Rabindranath Tagore, may argue that nationalism is a Western construct which doesn’t apply to India, or advocate the concept of a wider community of humanity, the value of the nation in the lives of its people cannot be trivialised. While these intellectual ideals are definitely worth pursuing, it is critical to factor in the harsh reality of human nature that has determined the history of humanity and shaped political boundaries. Weak states and kingdoms have been wiped out and untold sufferings have ...

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Why are we as Pakistanis okay with Ahmadis getting killed?

A few days ago, BBC reported that ‘Kill Ahmadis’ leaflets were found at Stockwell Green Mosque, in London. They were authored by a former head of Khatme Nabuwat, and the mosque, expectedly, denied any connection with the leaflets. This follows the murder of an Ahmadi shopkeeper named Asad Shah in Glasgow last month, because he had allegedly ‘disrespected’ Islam and falsely claimed to be a prophet. All this took place in England, but things in Pakistan, home to the most powerful anti-Ahmadi sentiment in the world, are even worse. While hate speech against all religious minorities in Pakistan is common, the ...

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Is Tum Kon Piya on its way to becoming a house-hold favourite?

Tum Kon Piya is a befitting title for a story that revolves around the deep affection between a father and his beloved daughter. From the first episode, you can tell that Maha Malik penned down these characters with bewitching fondness, and that has been brought to life by a string of talented actors and actresses.

Yasir Nawaz and Abdullah Kadwani came together to launch this drama adapted from the novel by the same name written by Maha Malik. Imran Abbas and Ayeza Khan pair up in a picture perfect couple for this serial creating beautiful chemistry on screen. The ...

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WhatsApp end-to-end encryption: Should our information really be hidden from the authorities?

Amidst the battle between Apple and FBI over accessing one’s private phone, WhatsApp decided to take a bold step and began encrypting all of its user messages. This encryption has recently been the topic of heated debates, especially after Apple’s refusal to comply with FBI’s demand of letting it access the phone of a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015. Tim Cook, after succumbing to the Bureau’s demands, issued a statement pointing out that hacking an individuals iPhone would require a software to that could potentially become, “A master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks.” [caption ...

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Mustang drives us through the two dimensional facade of patriarchy in Turkish culture

Mustang is the internationally co-produced film directed by Turkish/ French filmmaker Deniz Gamze Ergüven. The film takes place in a Turkish village and depicts the lives of five free-spirited young girls who are confined into a house for illicit behaviour by their elders. But with their fierce love for one another, they feel empowered and end up creating a bond that can’t be broken by any force created by the conservative antagonists. The film was screened at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. But could this film live ...

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Do you qualify? The imperialistic exclusivity of the Karachi Grammar School

Like many Karachiites who get very good results in their ‘O’ levels, I decided that my grades were my ticket to the prestigious Karachi Grammar School (KGS). KGS, you see, practises a vague semblance of meritocracy (and maintains its college admission rate records) by allowing a handful of high-achievers into their hallowed gates at the A-level stage. People nod impressively if you tell them you went to KGS, and in a city obsessed with class and nepotism, the doors of KGS mean opportunity and exclusivity. In short, the school represented to me an elusive and exclusive glamour that I ...

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‘Go set yourself on fire’: Abdul Basit is but one of many students under crippling pressure

His name was Abdul Basit and he just wanted to pass his exams. A student of Hamdard University (HU), Basit had been struggling for years according to the principal, Dr Furqan. As his mother tells it, he arrived late for his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) exams, because his vehicle had broken down – a frustrating situation any one of us can identify with. When he finally arrived, the exam, scheduled for 11 am to 1 pm had already ended. Here, Basit begged every official to allow him to take his test, as it was his final year. Dr Furqan told him ...

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