Stories published in June, 2016

Life in Pathar Colony: When will our government start providing housing facilities to the poor?

In my visit to Pathar Colony (situated in the recesses of H-12 Islamabad), I witnessed how challenging life was for its inhabitants living under feeble mud houses. A rainy season meant that they had to re-build their homes. With approximately 150 households thriving on no electricity provision, stingy water supply and utter poverty – the nomads dwelling the place have accustomed themselves to such an ascetic lifestyle. It is beyond the control of these people living in the slums that are deprived of such basic necessities, such as electricity and clean running water. Most survive on one meal a day, while working as hard manual labourers. The dominion of the powerful ...

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Ramazan shows are like a slice of Pakistan: A bit of religion followed by a lot of gossip

For those of us who grew up watching PTV, religious shows were an integral and beneficial part of the daily routine. Anything that came on PTV, we watched. As a member of the PTV generation, I grew up watching the daily afternoon show where the recitation of the Holy Quran was taught, and I don’t recall missing Majlis-e-Shaam-e-Gharibaan on any tenth of Muharram, even as a Sunni. Religion, as presented on TV back then, was something to be respected and honoured on the media. I recall care being taken even about the kind of advertisements that were run between religious ...

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Afreen Rehman case: Equality for Indian Muslim women is impossible without a Uniform Civil Code

The bizarre and unfortunate situation of Afreen Rehman, a modern, Indian Muslim woman, once again demonstrates that one of the most pressing reforms required in Indian society, namely the de jure and de facto equality of the Indian Muslim female vis-à-vis the Muslim male, can only happen via a Uniform Civil Code. The Indian State has always lacked the gumption to challenge Muslim patriarchy within the country. The subordination of the Muslim female is further reinforced by secularists, Marxists and their politics. Along with the Congress Party, they are equally complicit in this with their own double standards and vote bank politics. Occasionally, such subaltern women ...

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As long as there are dreamers like Chenu, I am hopeful about Pakistan’s future

Go home, turn on your television, switch to the news channel and keep watching it for at least one hour. Next, pick up the newspaper, skim through the headlines and read the main stories on current affairs. If the feeling that the world is falling apart and we are all doomed does not hit you, then you are in need of serious help. We live in a world where every day we are bombarded by negative news through all the major mass media outlets. In light of this, we crave for a story that might make us believe in good ...

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Euro 2016 finally got going, and not just ‘on’ the pitch!

International football’s second biggest tournament after FIFA World Cup is a battleground and not just figuratively. Euro 2016 is playing host to continent’s finest teams and players involved in hard fought contests on the turf , but football hooligans converging in France from all across Europe, have made the competition witness bloody clashes taking place in the streets as well. The build-up to the summer tournament has been shrouded in controversy, with various terror threats from religious extremists putting a damper on the proceedings. But it’s horror of a completely different nature that is engulfing the event currently. #England fans in ...

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Is Hamza Ali Abbasi the only one brave enough to broach the ‘Ahmadi question’ on TV?

Pakistan has a complicated relationship with one of its most bankable stars, Hamza Ali Abbasi. For we might love putting him in the line of fire for his over-emphatic, often ill-informed, posts on Facebook; the TV serials he stars in climb up the TRP charts like a pro. Courting controversy is then Hamza’s forte, after all, they say no publicity is bad publicity and Hamza’s getting his share aplenty. Often pointed out for his extreme ideas, borderline hypocrisy and “liberal bashing” on his very active Facebook page, Hamza has circled himself with a group of like-minded people online; most dwelling upon ...

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There is no place in Pakistan for men who do not consider women their equals

The acrimonious display of chauvinism by Hafiz Hamdullah in a talk show is rightfully being condemned in all quarters of the media. However, we need to go a little further in examining this overt manifestation of a rot that is deeply entrenched in our midst. To start off, Hafiz Hamdullah’s failed attempts at intimidating and shouting down Marvi Sermid are a continuation of his past behaviour during televised debates. It also seems the pious senator reserves the worst of his bullying for the fairer sex. And this is the crux of the issue – I believe the honourable Hafiz was apoplectic ...

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Women, the stuff maulvi nightmares are made of

Pakistanis are extremely resourceful people. We work with what we get. When life gave us the proverbial lemons in the guise of terrorism and religious extremism, we rose to the occasion by coining the term ‘liberal extremists’ to protect our social fabric from the menace of tolerance, human rights, and other Jewish conspiracies. The ‘liberal extremist’ is the right-wing’s brilliant attempt at tapping into the powerful global constituency against violence and extremism in a post 9/11 world. Someone recently said that ‘when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’. In the case of Pakistan, when you have political ...

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Two’s company, Te3n’s a crowd-pleaser!

Staring down the barrel of a gun, with my life solely dependent on producing a visually breath-taking piece of cinematic art and the only option given is of one sub-continental city as a filming location, I would be in Kolkata with my frikking filming gear, before anyone could even count to teen. Home to parallel cinema, a film movement that originated in the 1950s, with the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sena and Ritwik Ghatak at its helm, Kolkata has an extremely proud celluloid history. It’s also not hard to see how these pioneers, along with the city, still hold sway with serious ...

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Now You See Me 2: Not logical but definitely magical

Now You See Me: The Second Act is a 2016 American heist movie directed by Jon M Chu of the Step Up series. In this movie, the quartet known fittingly by their stage name, Four Horsemen, are on the run after pulling off a robbery in a casino in Paris.  These gifted Las Vegas illusionists played by actors Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Lizzy Caplan (substituting Isla Fisher from the prequel) must now expose the immoral and corrupt practices of a tech tycoon Walter Mabry played by Daniel Radcliffe. Walter is pressurising them to steal a device so powerful that it is capable of manipulating and controlling all the computers in the ...

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