Stories published in June, 2016

Today, one of the greatest voices in the Subcontinent was silenced

When ‘unidentified gunmen’ riddled Amjad Sabri’s car with bullets, the brutal killers probably didn’t even stop for a second to think that they are about to silence one of the greatest voices in the subcontinent.  To lose him, and that too at the young age of 39, is difficult to digest; especially if you are one of the fortunate souls who had been a part of the mesmerised audience that hung onto every note during one of his powerhouse performances. He may have come from a legacy of great Qawwals, but Amjad was the Sabri that my generation most identified with. ...

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Why should Abbasi apologise for standing up for minorities?

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) latest directive – asking Aaj News to apologise for airing ‘controversial’ and ‘sectarian’ views during a Ramazan transmission reeks of nothing but double standards. Many have argued that Hamza Ali Abbasi’s bold step towards stirring, much needed, dialogue regarding the plight of Ahmadis and the demagogic blasphemy laws was bound to have serious repercussions. And they weren’t wrong. Mere hours later, Shabbir Abu Talib and Kokab Noorani openly declared Abbasi’s discussion an act of ‘treason’. On national television. Consequently, PEMRA, believing itself to be the sacrosanct upholder of morals banned both shows for indulging in provocative, non-serious and irresponsible conversations on television during the ...

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Dreams of my Muslim son

Long before I came to the United States, I was fascinated by the American electoral process. I grew up in Pakistan in the 80s, during the brutally repressive military dictatorship of President Mohammad Ziaul Haq, when fear crushed hope. Finding old copies of Time magazine in my school library, I learned about primaries and presidential debates — something almost unimaginable in Pakistan at the time. I had a favourite board game where the players’ mission was to become the American president. I watched snippets of news, of the Bush-Dukakis race in 1988 and the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates four years later that ...

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We are all witnesses!

How do you come back from a 3-1 National Basketball Association (NBA) finals deficit? How do you beat a Golden State team that is arguably one of the best ever, three times on the trot? How do you win a tied Game seven, on the road, with just two minutes left to play? Simple! I, like million others, haven’t been able to stop thinking about that block ever since I saw it. But it’s not just the memory of this particular defensive play that I am finding hard to shake-off, the player that miraculously pulled it off is mainly the one that refuses to ...

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Ever heard of Peshawari Chapli Kebab burgers?

Chapli Kebabs, also known as Peshawari kebabs, belong to the local cuisine of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). ‘Chapli’ is a Pashto word, which means flat – at least according to the six sources I got from Google – so the word “flat” gives you a hint of how these kebabs are made. The circular shape changes slightly when the outer crust forms upon frying, locking the juices inside, resulting in succulent beef patties. Chapli kebabs are fried on high flame at first, flipped after a minute to cook the other side, locking the juice in. Then they are fried until fully cooked ...

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Are “leaked” video confessions becoming the new trend in politics?

First it was Saulat Mirza and then the rest of the videos started making their way towards electronic media. Confession after confession came, mainstream politicians were named, with Dr Asim Hussain’s being the latest one in the series. Each video provides enough fodder to sustain our TV talk shows for an entire week. This trend of declassifying confessional videos has taken electronic media by storm. Back in the day, we were confined to print media reports, putting our faith in anything the newspaper had to say. Now we have actual statements made by suspects in front of a camera only to be aired on all mainstream ...

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Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of Ahmadis in Pakistan

Chaudhry Abdul Khaliq, a 50-year-old Ahmadi homeopath was killed with a single gunshot to the head this Monday in the Abul Hasan Ispahani locality of Karachi. This is the second fatal shooting of an Ahmadi in this locality in a three week period and a continuation of the increase in violence against the community since the attack on Darul Zikr by the Punjab Taliban in 2012. Unfortunately, many of us continue to remain in denial about the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan and refuse to accept that the level of discrimination and the slow trickle of violence against them is untenable and unacceptable. In an attempt to put things ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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The Afghans are to Pakistan what the Muslims are to Trump

They have been wreaking havoc in our country since the early 80s. The spread of drugs and the Kalashnikov culture is blamed on these poor souls and rightly so. Their help in the conduct of terror plots throughout the country is widely known; the Army Public School (APS) attack in December 2014 is a case in point. With Zarb-e-Azb in its final stage, fighting internal and external threats in FATA and dealing with border skirmishes, it is safe to say Pakistan already has enough on its plate. Yet, it has been the only country gracious enough to grant three million Afghan refugees an unlimited stay. Rather than acknowledge the good will, ...

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Why has Pakistan been a vocal supporter of day-night Tests?

Tightening his grip on the new ball, Mitchell Starc came running in with the breeze to deliver the ball. Martin Guptill came forward with great intent, only to bar the ball from kissing the off stump. A simple act of cricket – ordinary as it appeared – marked the beginning of a new era. Australia’s Mitchell Starc (R) celebrates dismissing New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.Photo: Reuters An extension, with a shade of vivid cerise, to the previously rigid gentlemen’s game. On November 27th last year, cricket welcomed the introduction of day-night Test matches with enthusiasm and mild scepticism. Peter Siddle pushed ...

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