Stories published in December, 2016

An open letter to Benazir Bhutto

Bibi, It has been almost a decade since you met your untimely demise on December 27, 2007. It has been almost a decade since the day the country lost one of its greatest leaders. The state that Pakistan finds itself in today may not surprise you. Unlike the others, you had the foresight to see the storm we were heading towards when you spoke of secular values. The state your party finds itself in today, however, will crush you. Your party has always represented the best of Pakistan. From your iconic father, to people of unparalleled substance, brilliance and integrity like Meraj Muhammad Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Malik ...

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This is how women made Pakistan proud in 2016

Many of 2016’s most notable moments were mostly unfortunate, unchecked events of toxic masculinity. From the horrifying tragedy that was Qandeel Baloch’s senseless murder, to Donald Trump’s self-described ‘locker room talk’, and the Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) absurd suggestion that ‘lightly beating’ one’s wife ‘as needed’ is permissible, most of us are happy to be saying goodbye to a year riddled with examples of the negative impact rigid gender roles can have on culture. But 2016 also happens to have been quite the year for some Pakistani women. Below is just a handful of a large number of Pakistani women ...

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Who has what it takes to become Pakistan Super League’s sixth franchise?

Exceeding all expectations and silencing its critics, the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) turned out to be overwhelmingly successful. PSL officially announced Pakistan’s acceptance to commercialise the game that was pioneered by India. While PSL presents tremendous untapped potential in terms of the domestic structural revamp, player development, and economic perks eventually, it presents the general public with a platform to look up to and creates a distinct identity in which they can fully invest their emotions. People from Pakistan have been following foreign leagues for a long time, where Pakistani players were contracted, but with the introduction of PSL, Pakistanis finally have a ...

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Why 2016 was not a good year for gadgets and technology

“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.” – (Einstein) But is this famous quote fit for tech giants like Apple, Samsung, SpaceX, etc? 2016 is ending with many new gadgets, smartphones and other tech innovations. But this year, we saw some major technology flaws and failures from different companies. So let’s take a look at some of them. The SpaceX Falcon 9 explosion Facebook’s dream was broken into pieces when on September 1,2016, the Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test launch at Cape Canaveral. This video is nuts: Moment of #SpaceX explosion at Cape Canaveral. pic.twitter.com/Vu6aLF3YYs — Dan ...

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These 10 novels prove that the literati stepped up their game in 2016

A year that saw Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature was sure to go down in the memory as an extremely unusual literary year. However, the singer-songwriter’s big win was hardly the only surprise of the literary calendar. While many writers took upon themselves the responsibility of responding to the precariously changing political climate (Brexit and Trumpet), others found solace in exploring the perennial themes of race, class, gender, love, and destruction. With such a diverse assortment of books to choose from, here is a highly personal and strongly opinionated list of my favourite novels of 2016. The ...

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A servant’s dream; to be like Chris Mukhtar

“Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression themselves.” – Imam Hussain (AS) “Let’s go from a shorter way today. Take the second left, next to the barber shop.” “Yes sir.” As they turned, a group of mud houses came in sight, where children seem to be playing the same games they were years ago. She smiled. She glued herself to the right window and tried to take in each expression as a car passed with two inquiring eyes. The car slowed down as the road suddenly thinned and her sight got stuck with an oddity. A house unlike any ...

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Why can’t Muslims celebrate Christmas?

Moderating BBC Asian Network phone-ins, the DJ’s energetic voice brusquely interrupted my overlapping memories of Christmas and Eid. Coarse cotton straight from the forty-yard tha’an bolt. Shimmering saris, suits, and achkans. Coriander, jasmine and mustard seed hair oil. Old spice, khas attar, and shalimar. Narcissus and roses surrounding individually wrapped fruits in da’ali gift baskets. Desi ghee from mithais scintillating with gold and silver leaves. Gota, glitter, and glitz. Teeth shining from a walnut bark rub, lips red, eyes sparkling. Cakes decorated with ‘Happy Christmas’, ‘Happy Eid’, ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Eid Mubarak’. And then British Asians hyper-ventilating on BBC with their glottal stops and vowel shifts in top gear, breathing hard over ...

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Tarek Fatah’s recent tantrum: What two celebrities name their child

Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan. His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand ...

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Dear Imran Khan, you’re no better than Nawaz Sharif or Asif Ali Zardari

Those who consider Imran Khan to be a paragon of virtue say that he has never been known to misuse public funds. If you mention the discrepancy in his statements that the Bani Gala house was gifted by his first wife, then his about-turn on the issue, they say, “Oh, that was his own money, not filched from his hospital or from the government, like other well-known politicians are supposed to have done”. Even when you tell them that he ignored the findings of his own commission on the 2013 internal party elections, they say, no, no, nothing’s wrong, such things happen in other parties as well. But ...

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10 Hollywood movies of 2016 that should have never been made

Films fail in different ways. There are financial failures – good movies that earn critical praise but just don’t excite audiences, thereby disappointing at the box office. Then there are critical failures – bad movies (like Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and the downright shambolic Suicide Squad) which earn the ire of critics but still interest viewers and make bucket loads of cash. And then there are films that hit the double whammy of failure – critics hate them and so do moviegoers, making them derided box office bombs. Here are 10 such movies that simply couldn’t please anyone and ended ...

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