Stories published in August, 2016

Why aren’t the citizens of Pakistan helping to fix our public schools?

Education in Pakistan refers to two types of schooling, for two different income groups: children from wealthy families go to private institutions while children from relatively poorer backgrounds study in public schools. The latter group accounts for majority of the population of our country. Public schools are better off in terms of financial considerations i.e. they have affordable fee structures for the majority, which is why they are often seen as institutes of the masses. They take into account the expenses (other than education) that most families in Pakistan incur, such as utility bills, fuel, grocery and other supplies. In contrast ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 2 ‘The bloody bride’

Read part one of the Finding Salvation series here. He could hear footsteps. It sounded as if someone was approaching but at a snail’s pace. This gave time for his heart to slow down. He stood hidden partly behind an old pillar. The silhouette came to light, whatever dim light was on at that time, and an old man came into view. Dragging his slight self by a cane, he slowly thudded his way towards a bench. Saleem saw him sit down on the bench, completely oblivious to his presence. The man took something out of his pocket. Trying to focus ...

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Karachi, are you aware of how your food is prepared at restaurants?

After the onslaught of raids in Lahore by Punjab Food Authority (PFA)’s Ayesha Mumtaz that led to the shutdown of numerous restaurants – there is an apparent fear of eating out. Unfortunately, the same discoveries have been made in Karachi as well, with the media persons ‘chaapey’ (raids) on notable Karachi restaurants. It came as a surprise to many as these places have been quite popular amongst Karachi’s citizens for a very long time. The emerging situation is worrisome for the concerned citizens of Karachi who already have a limited number of good quality restaurants to look forward to. Various bakeries and restaurants have been ...

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Rama: A paradise (almost) lost

“They were looking for Shias”, Aisars voice grew sullen “and my cousin happened to be on that bus” he said with a look of sadness in his eyes. Dipping his biscuit in his chai he continued, “but bhai, the situation has improved a lot since Nanga Parbat,” Referring to the tragedy back in 2013 when the ‘Killer Mountain,’ famous for its notoriously high fatality rate, gave its nom de guerre another dimension for altogether different reasons. A group of foreign climbers were butchered by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists (Janud e Hafsa faction) dressed as paramilitary forces in a late night raid at the base ...

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Does the National Action Plan not apply to Pakistani Ahmadis?

A recent report by the Hudson Institute paints a damning portrait of Pakistan as a country where its Ahmadi community is arrested for propagating their faith, has its places of worship destroyed over allegations of blasphemy, has its businesses and products boycotted, and its deceased’s’ graves desecrated with impunity. This is a Pakistan where police officers are frequently complicit to violence against Ahmadis, the school curriculum panders to prejudice, and it feels like every few weeks new names are added to the list of Ahmadis murdered at the hands of misguided psychopaths who are brainwashed and influenced by Pakistan’s irresponsible, vast ...

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When life gives you lemons, you make this lemon crunch cake

I am a little obsessed with this idea of a crunchy/contrasting topping on cakes. I am also a little obsessed with all things lemon – desserts like this lemon mousse-y creation or a generous squeeze at the end of Pakistani dishes like fish biryani. When I saw a recipe for a lemon drizzle tray bake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, a thoughtful gift from one of my three favourite brothers and his wife, I knew it had to be. The lemon crunch cake is easy to put together – you literally just dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix till ...

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If Hindi is a threat to our national and regional languages, what about English?

Doraemon (a Japanese manga anime dubbed in Hindi) is blamed for the corruption of our children’s own language as we continue to speak a mish-mash of Urdu, English and our respective regional languages. Doraemon has risen as the latest target of criticism. This is the time to honour our culture and language and the well-being of our children. It is heart-warming to see that big-shots in the parliament are concerned about the impact of our TV screens on the youngest of their constituents. However, one of their reasons, along with the ensuing public debates, has revealed the entrenched hypocrisy in ...

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India’s sick interest in rape porn is dehumanising

It’s a big porn bazaar out there in the rural Hindi heartland. A porn bazaar that offers virtual and voyeuristic sex experience to uninitiated, testosterone-driven youth. College and school dropouts, after an education that makes them unemployable in a formal and structured job market have a new tool in their hands; cheap and affordable smartphones. It’s a weapon that equips them to consume pornography cheap, easy and at will. Voyeurism has a new definition and dimension. The demographic dividend has a downside. In that big porn bazaar, everything is consumable. From child and teen porn to extreme gangbang to sadistic, violent sex- ...

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Coke Studio proved that music doesn’t need to be heard, it needs to be felt

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife,” – Kahlil Gibran Recently, Coke Studio (famous for bringing artists from remote areas of the country to the forefront) began a praiseworthy project facilitating Pakistan’s nine million population of deaf individuals to experience music. Titled, Coke Studio for the Deaf, the program will help people with hearing impairments to infiltrate and understand the significant effect, as well as the psychological, convictional and behavioural power of music. Any art of resonance that articulates thoughts, dreams and sentiments through the components of rhythm, tune and harmony, is in fact an ...

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Is Wasim Akhtar getting a fair trial?

First things first, as a member of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), someone who has seen Mr Wasim Akhtar’s work closely and is aware of his political inclinations, I would like to state clearly, boldly, and without a doubt that his arrest is unlawful. The arrest in question was made whilst he was at court, attending a hearing for his bail extension in relation to charges attributed to him in Dr Asim Hussain’s alleged confessional statement. My reasons stem, first and foremost, from the fact that the so-called confessional statement made by Dr Asim was made before the infamous Joint Investigation Team ...

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