Stories published in July, 2016

Soaked in scarlet for Eid: Today’s bystander could be tomorrow’s victim

The last one week has seen attacks in six different cities of the world, all of which have been claimed by the so called Islamic State, and all of which have made headlines across the globe. People of various religious and denominational persuasions lost lives. They were targeted by the so-called Islamic State loyalists, inflicting carnage that knew no religion or nationality. These attacks should reinforce that IS can represent anything but an Islamic State. If there are any IS apologists even in Pakistan, then they have a lot to ponder upon in finding justifications in defence of the indefensible. The attack ...

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In India, Eid celebrations are not restricted to Muslims alone

Festivals are a wonderful time of year. They give people an opportunity to bond, share joy, make memories, and most importantly they fill the atmosphere with positivity and good cheer. Festivals also provide a break from the normal rhythm of life and the holidays from work, school, or college don’t hurt either. Living in a vibrant, multicultural society like India gives one the benefit of being able to celebrate multiple festivals with ample enthusiasm. While Diwali and Holi are by far the most celebrated festivals in India, one can also experience the magic of Christmas and the exuberance of Eid in equal ...

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The Council of Islamic Ideology was never meant to be a permanent body, so why does it still exist?

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is a constitutional body established under Article 228 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. Given its increasingly obnoxious prescriptions, many in Pakistan are beginning to wonder if it is a good idea to have it in the first place. To this end the Senate Committee on Human Rights has recommended its disbanding recently. There is merit in this recommendation because the CII was never supposed to be a permanent body. It was supposed to give its final report within seven years of its appointment. That final report was presented in December 1996 and ...

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Is Star Trek Beyond worth the anticipation?

The third instalment in the Star Trek franchise ‘Beyond’ finds Fast & Furious director Justin Lin taking over the director’s chair, with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and Karl Urban all returning, while Kingsman: The Secret Service star Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba join the cast. The latest film finds the enterprise facing a new alien threat played by none other than Elba himself, which causes the ship to crash in an unknown planet. While, the Star Trek films have garnered both critical and commercial acclaim in recent years, many fans have complained that they have failed to maintain the ...

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Eid lunch – For the love of family and food

Eid will always remind me of my childhood and growing up in Pakistan. I have a clear sensory memory of awakening to aromas of cloves and cardamom wafting from the kitchen into my bedroom. This is a day that revolves around family togetherness and a celebration of food, after a month of abstinence and contemplation. Though a global Muslim festival, Eid is celebrated differently in each country, highlighting the fact that this is not just a religious day, but a time to celebrate our culture and identity. But, the one unifying similarity is that Eid is a celebration of food, authentic flavours ...

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Will other countries follow UK’s lead in abandoning the EU?

David Cameron, a steady hand at the top of British government for over six years, has resigned after the membership terms he negotiated with the European Union (EU) were rejected by 51.9% of the voting population on June 23rd. With the competency of his statesmanship called in to question, the search is now on within the Conservative party to appoint a suitable successor to manage the nation’s transition out of the EU. This will be a difficult task with significant and potentially long-term ramifications for education, industry, property and the legal sector. Boris Johnson, the popular former mayor of London, ...

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Will Andrew Luck be able to deliver the Lombardi Trophy to the city of Indianapolis?

One of the biggest, if not the biggest deal, in NFL history has been put to paper. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has signed a gargantuan deal worth $123 million over the course of the next five years, which will help him stay put in Indianapolis until at least 2021. The bigger and more perplexing question which arises is: Is Luck capable enough to lead the Colts to the chosen land? New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) scores a touchdown against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) at Lucas Oil Stadium. New England defeated ...

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There is nothing exciting about Me Before You

 “I know this isn’t a conventional love story. I know there are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t even be saying what I am. But I love you. I do. I knew it. And I think you might even love me a little bit.” – Jojo Moyes, Me Before You A gleaming adaptation of the romance novelist and British journalist Jojo Moyes’s best-selling novel of the same name, Me Before You, is an anecdote of an unanticipated relationship. It is about a friendship that unexpectedly unfolds into an unending affection, spreading its wings and altering the existence of two diverse people. ...

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Is the Chabahar Port agreement failing India?

Indo-Iran relations have been abuzz these days. Modi’s take away from Tehran, baskets of agreements and the trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan, has caused panic in Islamabad. There are ample reasons for this panic: these agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) are an index of India’s increasing influence in West Asia and Central Asia and a means to outflank Pakistan. However, these agreements do not make the ground for any facile assumption that Modi’s take away from Tehran has better positioned India vis-à-vis Pakistan or Afghanistan. All these agreements appear good on paper but, in practice, they face a lot of resistance. The real challenge ...

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Will the people of Punjab stand up for education? Because the government just cut the budget – again

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” (Thomas Payne) In the midst of so much uncertainty there is one thing in Pakistan that can be predicted with absolute confidence: administrative policy. We can rest assured that the average reprobate and hanger-on populating the federal and provincial assemblies will do everything possible to prevent the nation from progressing. Case in point: the Punjab Assembly has cut the budget allocation for the education sector from 21% in the last fiscal year to 18.6% for 2016-17. Furthermore, the allocation of 21% in the last fiscal year was 3% down from the previous year, which in turn was down ...

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