Stories published in June, 2016

Nawaz Sharif underwent serious surgery: Should a deputy PM have been appointed?

Amidst heated demands of resignation following his family’s deep involvement in offshore tax activity coming to light with the Panama Paper reveals Prime Minister Sharif hastily left for London last week. Jumping where they saw opportunity, his political detractors, in a game of ‘I told you so’ accused the country’s leader for having fled for good until news surfaced, from within the PM’s family camp, that he had in fact gone for a necessary, emergency open heart surgery – a risky yet routine procedure and the PM’s second such surgery in recent years. At 66 years of age, the prime minister of Pakistan ...

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Since when does my fasting or not fasting jeopardise someone else’s imaan?

My grandmother used to call it Ramazan Shareef. There was no discussion, debate or argument over its pronunciation. The month would come in its usual cycle without much fuss or ado. Television channels wouldn’t go bonkers except for some increased airtime for naats and religious discussions that were never heavily advertised. People wouldn’t wear cloaks all across. If someone in the house didn’t fast, others wouldn’t raise their eyebrows. The non-fasting family members would comfortably go on with usual daily meals without being given guilt trips. There were simpler, not-so-extravagant iftar dinners where family members would get together without any pressure on ...

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Familiar handcuffs

He could hardly hear him – his words did not even brush his shoulders as they hurried past. His eyes were feeling extremely heavy, not because of sleep or weariness, but because of its on-going conversation with another’s gaze. He was at the bus stop. As his friend sat across, speaking without realising how little was being absorbed, a stranger, who stood silently in the corner, stared directly at him, perhaps even within him. The owner of the gaze appeared to be an old woman, and she wore a long overcoat, but it wasn’t long or big enough to hide ...

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Chernobyl Prayer: A chilling walk through nuclear disaster struck lives

On April 26, 1986, at a nuclear plant in Chernobyl, a restricted district in Ukraine, a slapdash scientific experiment ignited a fire that exploded the plant and unleashed a heavy mass, almost 50 tonnes, of radioactive element into the atmosphere. The radioactive contamination swiftly spread towards much of Western USSR and Europe. The highly excited nuclear particles infested fields, landscapes, forest, villages and cities, leaving the area highly radioactive for hundreds of years to come. The Chernobyl disaster is one of the worst and most catastrophic nuclear accidents in the history of mankind; hence, it was no surprise that ...

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Women only watch football to check men out, yup, the secret is out!

Another fatwa about women has emerged from the glorious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a fatwa that declares the innocent enjoyment of a football match to be haram for women. After all, with the infamous wife-beating bill courtesy of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan, KSA could hardly stand to be left behind. Of course they’ve graduated from wife-beating to wife-eating so now it’s on to figuratively invading the privacy of people’s homes and telling them what to watch on TV. Of course, it’s not okay for the civil society or legal bodies to figuratively invade homes, or work-places, or ...

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Why are arms and ammunitions so easily available in Pakistan?

As per a recent news report, over 170,000 of the total 352,000 licenses in Pakistan could not be verified by NADRA. Acquisition of arms and ammunition in Pakistan has never been a problem for applicants who know the various back door options available in the market. Unless there is a blanket ban on issuance of new arms licenses, a common citizen bearing a computerised national identity card, can get more than one arm license issued under his/her name of various non-prohibited or prohibited calibers  if he/she has a direct connection in the federal interior ministry. Background interviews with some prominent arms dealers in ...

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The question was never about whether Harambe should have been shot or not

The killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on Friday has resulted in a total and complete social media meltdown. The incident has garnered rage, an outpouring of online-hate, as well as the sympathies of many. The severity of the incident depends on who you ask. Harambe, an endangered western lowland gorilla had just turned 17. The zoo even celebrated his birthday. But who would have thought that the primate would be shot to death the very next day? The reason this ape was killed was because a four-year-old fell into his enclosure. In the video it ...

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Mor Mahal is great creative effort but not Sarmad Khoosat’s best work

You know when Jon Snow (although he knows nothing!), stands at the edge of the great wall looking down at the steely snow filled north, he is actually glaring at the camera. Duh! But he is not standing inside a studio. It is Iceland. It is a brutal -35˚C out there. Why go to such extreme lengths, you ask? It is all about authenticity. The Pakistani fictional production of the ‘Mor Mahal’ is a great creative effort by the brilliant Sarmad Sultan Khoosat as a director, but several things stand out to question its authenticity. The set designs are exquisite with ...

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I taught my daughter to lie

Raising a young mind can be a challenge every day. I don’t mean the physical kind of challenge of running around trying to get them to study or do their chores, all the while keeping an imaginary scorecard of their meals! By “challenge” I mean the mental kind that comes with raising a vibrant and inquisitive mind. I am lucky to be the mother of a nine-year-old girl. A curious mind keeps throwing curveballs at me and I have to walk a tightrope knowing full well that the answers will mould and shape her. Lying in certain situations can be ...

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Why was Karachi’s Commissioner Asif Hyder Shah dismissed, Mr CM?

Whenever there is honey, there will be bees and wherever there are bees, there should be a beehive nearby. In other words, be careful of honey or the bees will sting you, not to mention the odd bear or two lurking about. Karachi is akin to the honey, which welcomes millions of people looking for work within its high rises but these people must survive amongst the bears (land mafia, political power mafias, death squads, extortionists and an endless list of the like). The number of bears Karachi attracts is roughly the same number which goes to the rivers to ...

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