Stories published in May, 2016

Captain America: Is the clash of the Avengers inevitable?

Captain America: Civil War is the continuation of the Winter Soldier (2014) storyline and phase three of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Bucky Barnes is now on the run from the law while the civilian casualties in the previous battles have led the government to intervene and regulate the superheroes under the UN supervision. Steve Rogers aka Captain America foresees the manipulation of a restricted control of freewill while Tony Stark sees it as an opportunity for the Avengers to legally become part of the United States government and avoid civilian casualties in the near future. Could the two superheroes settle their differences ...

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The Muse: Mah-e-Mir

Mah-e-Mir, a film directed by Anjum Shehzad and produced by Syed Noor in collaboration with Momina Duraid was released on May 6, 2017. I believe it has outdone all other Lollywood films in terms of language and cinematography. The star studded cast includes Fahad Mustafa (Jamil), Sanam Saeed (Naina) Iman Ali (Mehtab Begum), Manzar Sehbai (Dr Kaleem) and Alyy Khan (Nawab Sahab). Sanam SaeedPhoto: Facebook Alyy Khan.Photo: Twitter The thematic concern of the film is to decipher between feeling and mood, voice and gesture, imagination and reality. The opening scene and dialogue are truly mesmerising. “I sat in solitude, but then ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I am to blame for the death of Khurram Zaki

I lost my friend on Saturday night. He was sipping tea at a Chaikhana (tea shop) with two colleagues when four men on bikes showed up and showered them with bullets. He received five bullets in his upper body and was shifted to a hospital in critical condition before he was finally moved to the Agha Khan hospital for treatment. Khurram Zaki – the activist, the blogger, the progressive ideologue, the wall of perseverance against the rising tide of sectarian violence, a devoted father and a good friend – was martyred before the clock struck 12 am. One never really ...

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Spare us the crocodile tears. Please stop. Khurram Zaki is dead. Do something.

Khurram Zaki is dead. The ‘unbearable lightness’ of intimidation and murder in Pakistan has manifested once again. The eulogies are pouring in; speculations are rife about who is behind the assassination of yet another liberal social activist and on social media a familiar war of words has commenced. Despite the fact that one bright light after another is being summarily extinguished, it appears that self-righteousness is still the prime mover of the national discourse. For the legion of Google scholars and keyboard Jedis, it’s all or nothing; either faith in its entirety must be indicted or the blame must lie elsewhere. ...

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Which of these giant teams will not make it to the Premier League top four?

Imagine hiring, arguably, the best football coach on the planet and instead of handing him a Champions League berth as a welcome gift, you saddle him with an unwanted distraction of a tournament that is the Europa League. Well, that’s precisely what Manchester City is close to doing to Pep Guardiola, following their failure to beat Arsenal in Manuel Pellegrini’s final home game in charge. But the worst part, this isn’t even the worst case scenario. This nightmarish situation of finishing outside the top four and failing to qualify for the Champions League could reach gargantuan proportions because it is ...

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From every coffin raised, to a mother’s wail

The music isn’t loud enough to drown The grief, the whimpering sounds. I know not what their names are, Just that they got caught up in this bloody war, And I hope all the blood spilled, Every penny the poor souls had paid, Will be justified at the end of time.   Bodies to be seen for this unthinkable crime, They will pay the price for this heinous deed, Not fear, but of strength they planted a seed. From each bullet hole will come out a rose, And each scream will be wind that blows.   High above the empty town that didn’t lose, Just rumpled from a little misuse, They give the light to diminish any trouble, To ...

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To the mothers of the lost unborn

As her eyes flickered and she finally regained consciousness, we both were relieved and afraid. Relieved, that she pulled through and afraid that now someone we would have to break the news to her. Her mother caressed her hair lovingly looking upon her pale face. “Zara! Open your eyes dear.” She finally awoke, registering her surroundings while trying to recognise our faces. And then she asked the one question we were all dreading, “Where is the baby?” She asked twice. Nobody had the courage to answer her. She tried sitting up, wincing with pain, but her mother stopped her. She was puzzled before but then ...

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Will I ever find an incentive to keep paying my taxes every year?

As an employee who lives his life from one pay cheque to the next, I rejoice with the fresh set of energy that generates in the last few days of every month. Fortunately, I work for a private firm which follows a strict set salary cycle every month, compensating employees on a timely basis. The bank credit text message received every month, confirming my salary’s transferred into my bank account, contains a figure that translates into an immeasurable emotional elation every time I see it in my inbox. However, a significant portion of my salary gets chopped away in lieu ...

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Firni: A Pakistani rice-pudding that is a must have this Eid!

Rice puddings are part of quite a few cuisines around the world. Be it Thailand, UK, Iran, Bangladesh, Norway, Egypt, Puerto Rico or Pakistan, everyone has their own versions of rice puddings prepared with local ingredients. In Thailand, they make theirs with coconut milk and serve it with mango. In Iran, it is made with saffron infused milk. The Danish add butter and cinnamon to their rice pudding and serve it on Christmas Eve and the Egyptians make it with nutmeg and rosewater. It seems joyous occasions in Pakistan, as well as all around the world, are celebrated with some version of rice ...

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What happens when you have no freedom of speech?

Censorship is nothing new. Journalists constantly face threats that come from many different sources – government, extremists and control of the media itself. Over the years, many have been hacked to death, brutally attacked and robbed of their right to free speech. Unfortunately, Pakistan is the 4th most dangerous country for journalists. Is this ranking fair though? For the longest time, Pakistanis have been clamouring for the abolition of their country’s biggest threats to free speech – the blasphemy law. This law has been misused on various occasions, starting from Aasia bibi to Shama and Shahzad, the Christian couple and Governor Salman ...

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