Stories published in August, 2016

A farewell to MQM

Life is a system of cycles. The sun comes up, shines bright, and goes down bringing the night only to be outshone by the sun again. This phenomenon is so natural that normally people do not pay attention to it after they have studied it in the fifth grade. What’s more important is perhaps the knowledge that human life and events are also similar to these cycles. People, movements and ideas rise and become prevalent only to live out their lifespan and ebb away in history while another takes their place. The most popular theory that explained this phenomenon was ...

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Ben-Hur: A disaster of biblical proportions

Oh my god! What have they done? Why would anyone in their right mind go about screwing with a universal classic? But you can’t really talk sense with Hollywood, now can you? You can instantly tell how bad a remake is if one of the action sequences replicated from its 50s version is not even half as good as its predecessor. Heck! Even the one gracing the 20s variant was light years ahead of the current monstrosity. Toby Kebbell and Pilou AsbækPhoto: IMDb Jack HustonPhoto: IMDb Grandeur, miracles, spirituality, poetic revenge, homoeroticism, and horses that are trying ...

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The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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Mr Nawaz Sharif, you should not be the foreign minister of Pakistan

Since a foreign minister represents his or her country at all international conferences, he or she has to be highly educated. Sometimes a very experienced diplomat is appointed as foreign minister, at other times a popular politician is selected. Pakistan, being a nuclear armed state with plenty of problems of its own, is in urgent need of a foreign minister. But at present, it is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (NS) who is doubling as the foreign minister of the country. We have had some very good foreign ministers, one of them being Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, the longest serving foreign minister of the country. Besides being a retired general, ...

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Pakistan: The most deserving Test team

Pakistan finally bagged the number one spot in the International Cricket Council Test ranking table. This is a great achievement for a team that has faced various difficulties and issues, such as playing home games away from Pakistan and the 2010 spot fixing fiasco. ICC Test tablePhoto: ICC After the Lord’s spot fixing fiasco in 2010, Misbahul Haq was handed the reins of the Pakistan Test side. Initially, Misbah’s selection as a Test captain was perceived as a stopgap. But little did we know that after a seven year continuous stint, Misbah would raise his team from the ruins and lead them towards becoming the ...

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Burkini blues in France

The burkini is struggling for acceptance within the well-defined framework of French secularism and gender equality. Banning the hybrid garment on several French beaches has rekindled a 27-year-old simmering debate in which the concerned parties have been broadcasting perceived victimisation on different wavelengths. Since 2015, France has suffered 237 deaths in indiscriminate Islamist terrorist attacks, culminating in an 84-year-old priest’s throat being slit during a church service and recorded on video. The resulting shock and horror shook French Muslims out of their moral complacence and had their Imams forcefully dissociating their faith community from terrorists and terrorism. French Muslims were significantly present at Catholic memorial masses held for ...

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Hello, I am a man and I cheat… on my diet

Hello! I am a man and I cheat on my diet. I cheat on my diet with cheese burgers, kebabs, lamb legs, mutton chops, cheese omelettes, macaroni, pastas, lasagne and deep fries. Sometimes I cheat in the day, sometimes I cheat at night. Sometimes it has been days that I have not cheated, while others I cheat many times a day. There have been incidents where I promised my wife that I am going to an office party involving nothing but salads but have ended up in a posh restaurant eating promiscuously the whole night. Do I feel guilty? Yes, I do! Every time! But there is an animal inside ...

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The MQM is dying because Muhajirs don’t need it anymore

The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) is dying. And no, Raheel Sharif and the Pakistan Army have absolutely nothing to do with its death, though they certainly seem gleeful at the prospect and appear to be doing everything within their power to hasten the demise of the party that claims to represent the interests of Muhajirs in Pakistan. To put it simply, the MQM is dying because it has no reason to live anymore. And while some of its supporters still cling on to its slogans as comfortable relics of the past, and its machinery of death and destruction can still ...

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Why isn’t anything being done about the 10,000 ghost madrassas in Sindh?

Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, has always been an epicentre of progressive political parties which keep a close check over the spread of religious militancy and violent extremism in their constituencies. Even though Sindh has been a secular and progressive region, where Sufi traditions have never let the militant mind-set prevail, the province still supports tens of thousands of madrassas (Islamic religious schools). There’s just one problem: many of these supposed madrassas don’t actually exist. A meeting, between the officials of Sindh, held in May at the chief minister’s house in the provincial capital of Karachi, was told by the inspector general ...

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Four reasons why Coke Studio’s Afreen Afreen is my new favourite

Coke Studio’s second episode went on air on August 19, 2016, and Afreen Afreen, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan, stole the limelight – rightfully so. While some loved it and others hated it – for me, Afreen Afreen encompassed exactly what Coke Studio is all about. Coke Studio started nine years ago, and succeeded in bringing famous Pakistani singers together on a platform in order to recreate some of the most legendary songs of the past. When I say recreate, it should be made clear that recreation does not mean singing it again, as it is, rather it means creating something new, with the essence of ...

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