Stories published in May, 2016

I was on a bus in Karachi when a “helpful” lady tried to steal my belongings

Standing alone in a bus makes you feel like a lone ranger. A lone ranger surrounded by Hannibal’s brutal army. It frightens you to the core and you want the crowd to disperse as soon as possible. As a daily commuter, I’m used to travelling in packed buses in Karachi. On one of these days, I was waiting for a passenger to get off so I could take their seat. But unfortunately, I missed the opportunity of grabbing the seat as two other female passengers, tall and broad in built, were standing on either side of the seats, ready to sit down. It seemed ...

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As a student of the Matric system, I can vouch that Pakistani textbooks are horrendous!

According to the World Bank data, in the years falling between 2011-2015, only 2.5 per cent of Pakistan’s total revenue was spent on education. This miserliness and misappropriation of the country’s priorities towards education is apparent in the sad state of its textbooks. The education sector is barely using its funds to invest in publishing new versions of textbooks, and spares it only to republish the out-dated versions every year. Having been a tuition teacher, I have noticed that the Pakistan Studies textbook by Professor Abdul Qadir Khan has been republishing its very first edition of the book since 2005. ...

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Iran and the clash of modern civilisation

The Iranian Revolution of 1979 ended 2,500 years of uninterrupted monarchical rule and ever since then, the country has been hit with a series of sanctions that have had a huge impact on it economically and politically, leading to relative isolation. With changing political winds and shifting strategic alignments, the sanctions have been eased considerably, thereby allowing Iran to once again participate more actively in global matters. This gradual reintegration of Iran into the world community has been one of the big geopolitical stories over the last few months. Iran is undoubtedly a significant nation. It is strategically located, has huge energy reserves, a rich cultural ...

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A delicious post-workout protein shake that brings out the glow in you!

After a workout this blueberry, lemon and vanilla protein shake is total bliss for glow getters! I started adding lemon and blueberries to my protein shake so had to share the recipe. I like certain words a lot, for example vitality and bliss. They are my quirky versions of yin and yang, so I suppose in the coming weeks there will be an emphasis on these two things. I’ve had about one green smoothie so far this year and though I should probably have one or two more, adding loads of greens to my plate albeit in the form of pesto or ...

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The GIR Bill is an attack on the democratic rights of all Indian citizens

One of Narendra Modi’s mantras before he became prime minister in May 2014 was, “Minimum government maximum governance.” Two years later, this famous quote has lost its meaning. Currently, in all walks of life, there is more government and less governance. The powerhouse in Delhi wants to decide whether people are national or anti-national, it wants to dictate the religious preferences and wants to monitor each activity through Unique Identity Card (UID). The way the government is intruding into the private and personal space of individuals, it will eventually end up making the common man a prisoner in their own nation. The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB) is another attempt to invade the ...

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was a big fat waste of time and money

Actress, screenwriter-cum-director Nia Vardalos, (famous for one of the highest-grossing romantic comedy films, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)) is back in Tinsel-town after almost 14 years with a sequel; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Nia Vardalos.Photo: Screenshot Director Krik Jones, along with Vardalos, tried a similar recipe consisting of an ethnic extended family household in order to tickle the taste buds and catch the attention of spectators. However, this time, the storyline is nothing great. It’s the same eccentric Greek family with lots of dog-tired jokes and all this is downright unappealing. The plot ends up draining ...

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Donald Trump vs Sadiq Khan: Who is the better leader?

In a momentous blow to Donald Trump’s divisive tactics and fear-mongering, London elected their first Muslim mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan, of Pakistani descent, was born and brought up in London and won the election despite being harangued as a terrorist sympathiser by Zac Goldsmith, his opponent and David Cameron. Although those allegations didn’t stick, his election shows that the people of London were able to look past his ethnicity and faith, and instead rely on his sound policies, like dealing with the on-going housing crisis that plagues London. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be gaining popularity in the American primaries by isolating different ethnicities ...

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Maria Toorpakai’s life sings like a Khaled Hosseini novel

Cut off my locks….my pretty black locks…. Throw away my frocks….my pretty bright frocks…. I will ditch my bangles and my dainty shoes…. I will run as a boy and let myself loose…. They will spare my life if I turn into a boy… And if I remain a girl, they will kill my joy… Birds of a feather flock together. But if you aim to fly high, you have to leave the flock first. Such a bird is Maria Toorpakai. Her life is nothing short of a Khaled Hosseini’s novel; the war struck her home town, the high profile political family and the strangest dream ...

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If I look like a boy and walk like a boy, why can’t I be a girl?

While I found private buses very easy on my pocket, I hadn’t travelled in one for over a year, even though I would travel in it all the time while I was in university. I had started noticing something strange. We all know what goes on in buses; but this was different. I realised that people were talking about my gender; they weren’t sure if I was a woman or a man. For instance, once when I was going back home from work and had to take a bus, the female compartment was almost empty so I availed the opportunity and hopped on the ...

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‘Honour’ killings must be exposed for the inhuman, senseless horror that they are!

Three incidents in the past month have brought honour killings to the forefront of national discourse in Pakistan. On April 19th in Jhelum, a man shot his daughter and her husband along with two members of the husband’s family. By going against his wishes and marrying the man of her choice, she had ‘dishonoured’ him. On April 28th, a 20-year-old man stabbed his sister to death after he overheard her talking to a boy on the phone. On the same day, a 16-year-old girl was drugged, strangulated to death and placed in the back seat of a van which was then set on fire. According to ...

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