Stories published in May, 2016

Putting rapists behind bars isn’t enough, castrate them!

There’s a very powerful, but controversial video about rape, doing the rounds on social media. This video accurately portrays a rapist’s mind-set and highlights the sense of entitlement and legitimacy with which many perpetrators view and justify their heinous actions. Rape is a horrific crime, not just against the victim, but also against all of humanity. A man uses his physical power to subjugate a woman and use her to fulfil his sexual desires. Many experts argue that rape is not about sex, instead, it is about exerting power and domination. However, it is undeniable that unbridled sexual desire also ...

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Why is Junaid Hafeez still languishing in jail?

Located in the south of Punjab, Rajanpur is the poorest district of Pakistan’s largest province. Over half the population lives below the poverty threshold and two-thirds lack a primary school education. It was into this bleak rural landscape that Junaid Hafeez was born and where his edifying story begins. At the age of 16, he had completed a Secondary School Degree with an ‘A1’ score – the top percentile among all students. In 2003, he was at the top of his class for his Intermediate (two year College) Degree in Premedical Studies. In 2009, while pursuing a joint degree in English Language and ...

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Electing Sadiq Khan as mayor of London would be the terrorists’ worst nightmare

“The whole universe may be found in a grain of London life,” wrote Peter Ackroyd. Sadiq Khan knows the grainy, multifarious life of the capital intimately. He is a real Londoner, and that is why he is the best choice for mayor. It matters more than his race, religion or class. Khan’s Pakistan-born father was a bus driver, his mother a seamstress. They had eight children, seven of them boys. The parents saved up to buy a home, and sent all their children to university. Khan has lived in public housing, used public transport, known deprivation, and epitomises urban aspiration. Zac Goldsmith was born ...

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Captain America: A civil war… an ordeal

Slam bam thank you mam. One 3D IMAX crash after another. Enough already. I felt pulverised and longed for Casablanca. How many superheroes can you throw together and not get a stew? Or bouillabaisse. A mess. Chaos. Drama. Noise. I wanted an exit. Captain America: Civil War begins fair enough with Scarlett Johannsen hauling a** with some of the big boys and she is very adept at this. A true giggle. I thought at last we are going to have an interesting action film. Then Robert Downey, Jr appears and his subtle delivery is the very best of the entire cast. It is ...

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Will we ever be able to fill in the gaps in Pakistan’s social fabric?

A recent poll done by BBC World Service, found that people are more likely than ever to identify as ‘global citizens’. According to Globescan, which conducted the poll and interviewed more than 20,000 people, over 56 per cent of Pakistanis identify as global citizens. While 27 per cent identify as Pakistanis first, and 43 per cent say their religion comes before their nationality. Is the nation failing its citizens or has globalisation made borders so meaningless that people need new political orders to anchor them? Or is it just stating the obvious; Muslims are always Muslims first, nationals second? The caliphates ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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10 very plausible predictions about Game of Thrones Season 6

Jon Snow came back to life, Brandon Stark got back in action, Brienne of Tarth saved Sansa Stark (finally), Roose Bolton and Balon Greyjoy (two of the most hated characters in the show) were killed, Tyrion Lannister got cozy with one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons and Melisandre turned out to be a 100-years-old. Wow – what a thrill the past two weeks have been for GOT fans! Photo: Game of Thrones Memes Facebook Page The global sensation aired its first episode of Season 6 on April 24, 2016, and the producers made sure that its return was greeted ...

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‘Gurus’ like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev are a bad influence on society

Spirituality is no guarantee of salvation; it does not make you immune to the ordinariness of life. The yellow garb or white robe does not lift you from your prejudices and pettiness. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ramdev, the popular spiritual gurus of India with a large following have proved this point. Their conduct establishes how they have made spirituality a business, a resource that is exploited to get closer to political power. They use their support base as a constituency to strike a bargain with the ruling class and indulge in political brinkmanship. A spiritual guru is normally silent and maintains ...

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Stop saying ‘I feel like’

In American politics, few forces are more powerful than a voter’s vague intuition.  “I support Donald Trump because I feel like he is a doer,” a senior at the University of South Carolina told Cosmopolitan. “Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic,” a Yale student explained to a reporter in Florida. At a Ted Cruz rally in Wisconsin in April, a Cruz fan declared, “I feel like I can trust that he will keep his promises.” These people don’t think, believe or reckon. They “feel like.” Listen for this phrase and you’ll hear it everywhere, inside and outside politics. This reflex to hedge every statement as a feeling or a hunch ...

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Just another open letter to male rights activists

I regret commencing my response to Ms Umnia Shahid’s article in a manner that sounds as bitter and sardonic as the original, but I beg your pardon and hope that you bear with me. I want to acknowledge your efforts on behalf of my brethren. Really, I do. Your concern for the welfare of men like me is appreciated, but your version of male rights activism has validated my stance regarding the immense importance of ‘modern’ feminism. Ideally, I shouldn’t be writing this letter at all. I claim no authority over the subject of women’s issues, and this response may almost certainly have been better ...

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