Stories published in January, 2017

Back to Obama

Friday night, America and the world said goodbye to an era that we have known for eight years, the presidency of Barack Obama. Giving way to a radically different and unorthodox presidency, which makes the change all the heavier. As we ponder over the inauguration of Donald Trump, let us look back and see how the eight years of the Obama administration have been, what he has done and what he has accomplished, and figure out what his legacy will be. Obama presided over America during one of the tougher periods in its history. The previous eight years, namely George ...

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Trial by force(s)

Last week a special military court approved the execution of MBA graduate, small business owner turned killer Saad Aziz who pled guilty last April after gunning down prominent rights activist Sabeen Mahmud. In the aftermath of the horrific Peshawar school attack in December 2014, military intervention into Pakistan’s ineffective civilian criminal justice system was deemed necessary. Since then, terrorism cases, like the case of Saad Aziz, fall under the purview of special military courts, which were instituted in January 2015 as a temporary fix with a two-year expiry period. As of this month, the two-year trial period of special military courts ...

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A trial

If I were god, I would have put myself on trial first, and questioned my lack of a beating heart or the pain in my soul of the loss that humans suffer. Or the justice, I call my revenge – I caused on them which I could not script before the verdict against them for crimes against me. Yet I usher them as being grateful at trials of misery. And then to the hell-fires I would command them to go to instead as my decree of divinity to mute others as and when I will despite all knowing. For I am god, listening to none, commanding you to make a supplicant except for bringing the dead back to life. I seek forgiveness from myself, but I can’t, because conscience was not created in me, when I was made to be born ...

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Enchanting magical realism exists in La La Land

The winner of seven Golden Globes and receiver of 11 Bafta nominations, La La Land is an aesthetically created, romantic yet sentimental melodrama with catchy music and orchestrated dances – all expressed through the indelible characters of Mia and Sebastian.   Director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle’s musical drama shines with affection, emotion, and ambition. Set in present-day Los Angeles, its fast-paced romantic plot revolves around friendship, love, dreams, and veracity. It reconnoitres the ecstasy and sorrow of pursuing one’s dreams and tests the vigour of the duo’s rapport. One thing that’s striking about the story is the way it deals ...

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Sang e Mar Mar: Truly a masterpiece

As most of you already must know, Sang e Mar Mar is now inching towards its finale with its plotline coming to a heartbreaking and poignant end. (Warning: spoilers ahead.) In a shattering episode, three deaths simultaneously occur: Safiullah kills Saifurrehman to take revenge of his brother Gauhar’s death, Torah Khan kills Safiullah at the same time to avenge the cruelty Safiullah’s father inflicted upon Torah Khan’s mother – and he does this to make it look as it was Saifurrehman who killed Safiullah. In another place, Gulalai is hit by a bus as she is coming back to the ...

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Can Bilawal Bhutto Zardari ever become Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?

Since Bilawal jumped on the political bandwagon, many had breathed a sigh of relief as they believed that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ship finally had a captain that might steer it away from the humongous maelstrom formed by the party’s inept governance in Sindh. However, witnessing the eroding internal structure of the party, there is a proposition that he might not have the authority to steer that ship after all. On December 27th, at Garhi Khuda Baksh, the once flamboyant Bilawal was seen standing humbly and silently behind his father, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, who recently returned from ...

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Will this year’s Australian Open bring a new champion to light?

After a good little off-season followed by a couple of preparatory tournaments, top tennis players from around the world boarded their flights to Melbourne, Australia for the first grand slam of the year. The 105th edition of the Australian Open is currently underway. As far as the men’s competition is concerned, we are standing in a very interesting time. There’s hardly much separating the top two, while Federer and Nadal have had their battles with injuries, they are out for another one. And then there are the likes of Nishikori, Raonic, Wawrinka and Dimitrov, who are capable of going ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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Films like Thora Jee Le should be banned in Pakistan

It was just yesterday that I was thinking it was time for Pakistan’s film industry to use new faces – we’ve been seeing the same old actors in dramas, as well as on the silver screen and honestly, it’s time for a change. Thora Jee Le marks the debut of six fresh actors in pivotal roles. Rafay Rashidi handpicked the new faces, the music director, and the singers for his debut film. Thora Jee Le revolves around six friends who reunite in tragedy – when a common friend, Kaizad,  suffers from an overdose of drugs. They plan a road ...

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What is Afghanistan’s problem?

On Monday, the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, once again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in his country. The blame stemmed from a presidential statement following the Kabul terrorist attacks when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, called President Ghani. Despite the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff’s offer to share intelligence and cooperation with Afghanistan, in order to curb terrorism in the region, the president blamed Pakistan for the terrorism in his country claiming that the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. Afghanistan has been going through a period of transition since the United States’ (US) invasion post 9/11, when the US and its allies ousted the ...

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