Stories published in June, 2016

Why I will never travel by Shaheen International Airline ever again

I’m a very patriotic Pakistani; I love my country. I was born and raised here. Its fruits have satiated my hunger. Its water has quenched my thirst. I love its people, its cities and its weather. There’s nothing I hate about my country. But sadly, I say with a contrite heart, it’s not perfect. I experienced one of these imperfections in a very recent journey of mine to Kenya, which left an indelible scar on my heart and mind. On my trips to Africa, I usually travel by Emirates or other airlines that are affiliated with the gulf countries. Since there ...

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Dancing to the tunes of the Song of Lahore is pure joy

Prepare to be mesmerised by the Song of Lahore, a lovely documentary directed by twice Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Andy Shocken. Be ready to be hypnotised, to clap along, hum along and to fall madly in love with the Sachal-Jazz ensemble and their mission to make, according to founder Izzat Majeed “global music that is rooted in Lahore.” In order to preserve Pakistan’s fading musical roots, Majeed established the Sachal recording studio in Lahore and gathered the best of Pakistan’s classically trained instrumentalists, mostly aging men from extremely humble backgrounds, to revive the music he had grown up on. ...

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With the Euro and Copa America, this will be a football summer like no other!

This summer is like Eid, Diwali and Christmas rolled into one for all us football fanatics. It’s not just the Euro taking place in France that will the set our pulse racing, but us fans have got a one-off tournament in shape of Copa America Centenario taking place in the American continent to look forward too. Slotted in between the usual four year cycle, the Centennial Copa America is scheduled to celebrate the 100 years of South American football competition that started off in 1916. Chile won the Copa America for the first time on Saturday when ...

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Should the UK leave the European Union? I think not

On June 23, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) will determine their destiny, and the whole world is watching. The decision on membership of the European Union (EU) is the most significant choice to be made by the country this century so far, with far reaching consequences not just for the UK, but for Europe and beyond. I write as a British citizen, born and raised in the UK with a Pakistani heritage and I practice as a human rights barrister. However, my decision for the referendum will not be based on what is best for me, but ...

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Is it okay to mourn the death of a family member on Facebook?

A few days ago, I received the news of the tragic demise of an acquaintance’s father – he had endured a sudden cardiac arrest. I couldn’t possibly imagine how torn and devastated the family must have been upon the untimely departure of the very strength of their household.  A little while later, I was idly scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed only to come across a shocking post. Minutes after her father’s demise, this acquaintance had updated her status with a generic poem about sorrow captioned ‘I miss you already’ and had used the Facebook emotive tool to express that she is ‘feeling ...

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The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?

Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed.    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...

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Bringing happiness to Peshawar, one box at a time

Peshawar. If just the name of this city conjures images of bomb blasts, terrorism and political myopia in your head, know that you are not alone. For Peshawar, this ‘city of flowers’, a gem of a place with a historical past that only a few other cities can match up to – has been caught in the whirlwind of misfortune for quite some time now. But I’ve duly noticed on my trips throughout the country that the people of Lahore and Peshawar have an endearing, almost fierce, sense of belonging and ownership for their cities. Accordingly, for every “Lahore, Lahore hai”, there’s a ...

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No China, this ad IS racist and we are not being ‘sensitive’ about it!

The pursuit and appreciation of fair skin has always been considered to be a desi obsession but this week, an advert shown on Chinese TV showed that this unhealthy preoccupation with fair skin transcends boundaries.  In this seemingly innocuous advert, a Chinese woman beckons a black man, who is wolf whistling at her, dishevelled and wearing dirty clothes. She then proceeds to stuff his body into a washing machine and adds the particular detergent that is being advertised. After the spin cycle is complete, the man emerges as ‘fair’, clean and Chinese. It has, understandably, sparked outrage across social media and ...

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Will Chabahar Port reap greater benefits than Gwadar Port?

A whiff of competition is in the air. It is swirling through every nook and cranny and drawing battle lines in its wake. The buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Chabahar Port, the distant and impoverished cousin of Gwadar Port. The frightening mix of antagonism and optimism has paved the way for increased polarisation. At this stage, our vision of both projects and their intentions have been blinkered. Sceptics believe the long-awaited trilateral agreement among Iran, Afghanistan and India to develop Chabahar Port poses a threat to efforts to boost the untapped potential of Gwadar Port. On the other ...

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A conversation with the Falcon and his coach, Jeff Mayweather

On July 17, 2016, Pakistan’s very own Muhammad Waseem will be taking on Philippine’s Jether Oliva for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Flyweight title. The belt is an interim world title of sorts and winning it will bring Waseem inches closer to a shot at the full WBC Flyweight World title. The genius behind securing this massive opportunity for Waseem is the Korean promoter, Andy Kim of AK Promotions, who has worked tirelessly and invested a fortune in developing Waseem into a proper title contender. I managed to contact Mr Kim via email to set up a telephone interview with Waseem. He was ...

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