Stories published in June, 2016

The transgender community doesn’t need Rs200 million, it needs a change in mind-set

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government allocated Rs200 million for the transgender community while announcing their provincial budget. Thank you, your effort is much appreciated. But the main question is; will Rs200 million be the solution to the on-going problems they face? Is it going to remove the social stigma attached to them? How about passing a law against those individuals who treat transgender people with utmost scorn and brutality? Most importantly, how long will it take you to give them their due rights as equal citizens of Pakistan? Back in 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a judgment stating transgender individuals ...

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Bring on Wimbledon!

Just as the dust settles on Court Philippe Chatrier from an exhilarating French Open, all eyes now shift their focus to Centre Court, home of the Wimbledon Championships. Starting from Monday, June 27, 128 of the world’s most talented players will descend upon the championships with aspirations to hoist the glittering silver gilt cup on July 10. The bookies’ favourite by a long shot at the beginning of this tournament has been Novak Djokovic. Djokovic has steamrolled all his opponents this year having captured not just the first two grand slams of the year (a feat accomplished for the first time ...

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“Daddy, I’ll eat pork tomorrow. I don’t want to be a Muslim.”

Some time ago, I came across an interview with Tahar Ben Jelloun – a Moroccan writer living in Paris. He talked a lot about things that any artist would talk about in an interview: his works and his inspirations, but what struck me most about his story was a short anecdote from his family life. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, his seven-year-old daughter had come to him and said, “Daddy, I’ll eat pork tomorrow. I don’t want to be a Muslim.” The little girl was overwhelmed by the voices around her, that equated Islam with violence and hatred, so much that ...

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Brexit’s stunning coup

The decision of British voters in Thursday’s referendum to leave the European Union will have vast consequences for Britain, for Europe and for the world. For a day, the British people were the government, and by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, they took the decision to go. I was a British prime minister who believed completely that Britain’s future lay in Europe. I was the prime minister responsible for legislating substantial self-rule in Scotland so that it would remain part of the United Kingdom. I negotiated the Good Friday Agreement so that Northern Ireland could be at peace within ...

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Raman Raghav 2.0 – Kill, coke, sex, lather, rinse, repeat!

‘Some men just want to watch the world burn.’ There is a scene during The Dark Knight (2008), when Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler Alfred, alluding to his nemesis cites a little tale about how a bandit in a forest north of Rangoon wasn’t in the crime business for anything logical, rather he was simply doing it because he thought it was good sport. “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just …‘do’ things!” – ...

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Is India making the same mistake Pakistan made by allying with the US?

The post-colonial history tells us that Uncle Sam has been more of a destabiliser than a divine presence in the region. Pakistan has been a close ally of the US since the 50s. But has the Islamic country been a real beneficiary by playing the western world’s game in South Asia? In its blind desire to get military parity with India and neutralise the existential threat from its eastern neighbour, Islamabad became a front for Washington in the NATO’s war against communist Soviet Russia. As a result, Pakistan, a newly born country, lost its strategic autonomy quite early in its life and became a pawn in the larger game ...

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The newspaper boy

He threw it inside the house and as he cycled forward and heard it land softly on the doormat. Great shot, he thought. There were three streets to go. And the light around him was slowly spreading. He continued. In the street before the last, he slowed down because he was nearing the house filled with flowerpots. Previous shots had broken some pots and invited anger from the owner whose life seemed to be divided into the dozens of pots she had. This time, though, he came near the gate and slowly hooped it inside. The sound of contact with ...

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Aziz Ansari: Why Trump makes me scared for my family

“DON’T go anywhere near a mosque,” I told my mother. “Do all your prayer at home. Okay?” “We’re not going,” she replied. I am the son of Muslim immigrants. As I sent that text, in the aftermath of the horrible attack in Orlando, Fla., I realised how awful it was to tell an American citizen to be careful about how she worshiped. Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think “Muslim,” the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or the kid who left ...

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To the teen moms of rural Punjab

 A teenager’s angst at not being able to conceive is not something many of us are familiar with. “Why should it surprise me, though?” I thought to myself, as I overheard the conversation between my mother and this teenager. We were in our village home where she had come to pay my mother a visit. Her pale skin, devoid of any youthful glow, was sticking tightly to her small bone structure, making her look malnourished. She must be around 16 or 17-years-old, but she’s been married for a couple of years. “I have been to the gynaecologist, and I’m not sure what kind of problem ...

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Why is FATA still administered by a typical British Raj law?

After the British took over Punjab from the Sikhs, they inherited what they called the frontier problem. The Pakhtun tribes on the periphery of Punjab had a long history of resisting authority emanating elsewhere dating back to the days of Akbar the Great. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had successfully driven back the Pakhtun tribes, but even that hard fought peace was tenuous at best, exacerbated by the fact that Ranjit Singh was a non-Muslim sovereign and the tribes were entirely Muslim.  As the power in Punjab changed hands from Sikhs to the British, the tribes once again rose in open revolt. ...

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