Stories published in January, 2017

I met a Jew who didn’t judge me for being a Muslim or a Pakistani

We believe we live in a connected world today, but is that really true? A few days ago, I asked my friend what she thought of it and she said, “We can connect to any part of the world with one click. We can access any information in the spur of a moment. What else is connectivity?” I partially agreed with what my friend had to say but I still wondered if we really are living in a connected world. We live in a world where we are limited within our own small worlds, which are usually only as big as our mind-sets. And the ...

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Is PML-N trying to fool everyone under its centrist garb?

Away from the racket of the Panama proceedings at the Supreme Court, the past couple of months have seen Nawaz Sharif take emboldened steps to reconcile with some of the most marginalised segments of society. Firstly, in the beginning of December, the prime minster gave directions to rename the National Physics Centre in Quaid-e-Azam University as The Professor Abdus Salam Centre for Physics, honouring the late Nobel Prize winner from the Ahmadi community. Followed by that was the premier’s inauguration of the restoration of the ancient Katas Raj Hindu temple complex in Punjab. Speaking at the event, he claimed that Pakistan will soon be recognised as a minority-friendly ...

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Can the Quetta Gladiators take home the PSL 2017 trophy?

“So close yet so far.” This phrase accurately portrays the Quetta Gladiators’ campaign in the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Even though they were not able to cross the final hurdle last year, this time, however, it’s possible for them to lift the title. With the second season just around the corner, the Quetta-based franchise is probably hoping that the team can replicate it’s heroics from the first edition but for that to happen, some of their key players would really have to raise their game. Ahmed Shehzad The talented right-handed opening batsman has fallen out of favour with the selectors on ...

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Rings: The demonic Samara returns!

Apart from anime, if there is one thing that Japanese filmmakers are really good at, it is their treatment of the horror genre. These low-budget shockers tend to focus more on subtle dread – enough to keep you up at night in a cold sweat – as opposed to gratuitous gore and have a cult-following around the globe with hard-core disciples. But one film from this particular lot turned out to be more notorious than the rest, Ringu. For years, you had to have a black-market connection to get a copy of the video in lots of places, but then Hollywood decided to ...

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Do you think you have done enough to end child labour, Murad Ali Shah?

Around 20 years ago, a relative of mine got into serious trouble when a European customer of his visiting Pakistan saw some children working in his factory. The foreigner immediately cancelled all orders and my relative had to wind up his business to avoid bankruptcy. In Pakistan, child labour is something that is considered normal and the laws dealing with it are very lax. In developed countries, forcing a child to work can result in severe penalties and imprisonment. But in Pakistan, even today, a child can be “sold” to work as domestic help and the punishment for this is a mere fine of Rs250, if ...

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What is India trying to prove with its Cold Start?

Recently, despite countless refutes, the curtain over the Indian Cold Start doctrine has finally been raised. In an interview on January 4th, soon after his appointment, the Indian Army Commander-in-Chief General Bipin Rawat raised a new conflagration in the strategic community of India and around the world by officially acknowledging India’s conventional military operations targeted towards Pakistan. For those of you who are unaware, the Cold Start is a military doctrine developed by the Indian Army for use in a possible war with Pakistan. It is intended to allow India’s conventional forces to perform holding attacks in order to prevent a nuclear ...

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Just how predictable is Raees?

Raees is manna for Shah Rukh Khan fans. We watched the film at the posh Metro Cinema but it felt like we were sitting at the erstwhile Novelty in Grant Road. Like Novelty, where movie goers were as unabashedly boisterous as patrons in upper-class cinemas are restrained, the audience at Metro hooted, shrieked and even danced when Khan appeared on the screen for the first time and each time he delivered a punch-line. In Raees, the camera is glued either to Khan’s face or his ripped body. For instance, a Muharram procession in the early minutes of the film is ...

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Splitting the captaincy between Azhar and Sarfaraz is a bad idea!

Yet another tour of Pakistan to the continent of Australia has ended badly. After a good Test series in England, followed by achieving the number one Test ranking, they have been outplayed in the ODIs in England, New Zealand, Australia, and of course, the Test matches in New Zealand and Australia. There is a lot of blame being placed on the shoulders of Misbahul Haq for the losses in these last two Test series and for good reason. At the same time, cricket is a team game, and as the abysmal performances in the ODIs prove, there is only so ...

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The spark that makes #AmanKahani worth it

In June of 2016, I gave interviews and follow-up interviews at what they called a “social corporate enterprise” for my first job, fresh out of college. I was sceptical. I wasn’t sure I wanted to work for a non-profit foundation, even if I got in. But an interview is an interview and you give it your best. That is what I did. Eight months in and I have been working, churning out words as a content developer and wordsmith, to inform people about what the Aman Foundation does in the verticals of health and education. But have I really made any difference? I’m ...

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Why is PML-N being so secretive about CPEC’s investment plan?

If the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) wasn’t already an enigma, the recent debates regarding its pros and cons have muddled this into an even bigger mess. On one hand, there are the knockers who didn’t shy away from labelling it as the future East India Company (EIC), and on the other, we have the blind patriots – the ones that hold CPEC at the highest level of sanctity, that merely questioning the transparency regarding CPEC’s projects amounts to treason for them. Undoubtedly, these directionless debates have a lot to do with the suspicion and political sensitivity created by the government around the CPEC framework. However, to me, ...

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