Stories published in February, 2017

The conundrum that is Hafiz Saeed

Is Pakistan trying to assert itself against non-state actors by putting Hafiz Saeed under house arrest? Is this what the government in Islamabad wants the world to believe? Whatever the case may be, the timing of Saeed’s house arrest questions the government’s assertion. Media reports both in Pakistan and outside feel that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regime in Islamabad acted either under the influence and fear of the new ruler in Washington or it buckled under Beijing’s pressure. #BREAKING: Terrorist Hafiz Saeed releases video after he was put in house arrest, claims Modi-Trump friendship led to action against him. pic.twitter.com/V5qYI4FTWC — ...

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La La Land: Is a love story enough to make a movie a winner?

La La Land is the critically acclaimed musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film is directed by Damien Chazelle who also directed one of my favourite films of 2014, Whiplash. Now as you can see the connection, Chazelle loves to work with the thematic element of music. And I guess it was inevitable for him to finally make a musical. La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life ...

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Is observing Kashmir Day enough to show your support for Kashmir, Pakistan?

In Pakistan, February 5th is observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day. It is a national holiday in the country. A number of solidarity rallies, seminars and awareness programmes are organised across Pakistan in support of the political struggle of the people of Indian-controlled Kashmir. By observing Kashmir Day annually, Pakistan expresses solidarity with the people of Kashmir. What relevance does Kashmir Day hold for Kashmiris as on date? Has the pro-Pakistan sentiment in Kashmir enhanced or diminished over the last 28 years? Does Pakistan need to move beyond symbolism vis-à-vis Kashmir? Is it time for Pakistan to accept that the new, assertive, young and educated ...

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Is Sammi the new Udaari?

In Pakistan, there has always been a social stigma attached to discussing taboo social issues such as sexual abuse, child marriage, and marital rape. These are topics that we do not discuss, but are well-aware of its prevalence in the society. People just sweep these topics under the rug and refuse to come out of their bubble and face the reality. The media has now taken the initiative to highlight these issues openly despite the opposition from some segments of the audience. Sammi, the new offering by Hum TV, addresses another social issue called ‘vani’ which many of us are not aware ...

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The evening train

The evening train, breathless, reaches its destination, The station, bleak and empty, resembles the soul of a dead poet, He drinks the unimaginative cup of tea until all that’s left is the glass, humiliating him with his own reflection, The road ahead is fearful, yet hopeful. The passengers, sound asleep, still glow under the fluorescent lights above them, The towns outside, pass by his eyes in a brief second, reminiscent of his entire existence succumbing to a single moment of clarity, His thoughts still clinging to the ultimate battle of life and death, and during all this torture, all he can think about is, The aisle that still illuminates. The sun ...

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Trump’s #MuslimBan: A realist’s take

Recently, the UAE foreign minister defended Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, claiming that it’s not Islamophobic. The unconvincing statement, perhaps given in relief or gratitude for the UAE having avoided the ban itself, only goes to highlight the unscrupulous foundations of the ban. Rich, influential Muslim countries that are financial or strategic allies like the Gulf States and Pakistan have been spared, whereas those with little utility to the US have conveniently been scapegoated to appease Trump’s right-wing populism. Perhaps Abdullah Bin Zayed’s words have some truth to them after all. Perhaps the ban isn’t merely a coup against Muslim countries, but ...

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We care about Muslims in the US but not minorities in Pakistan?

In what was arguably the upset of the century, Hillary Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump in the US presidential elections last year. Almost everyone was convinced that the greatest democracy in the world would, for the first time in its history, elect a woman as head of state. Pakistan – a long-term US ally in the ‘war against terrorism’ – was monitoring the situation closely. The country’s most revered commentators started off by joining in the chorus of making fun of the fact that Trump, a business tycoon, was even in the race, conveniently ignoring that most, if not all, of our politicians are ...

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Rings: The utterly lifeless sequel no one asked for

Rings, the latest franchise horror sequel, has very little reason to actually exist. It arrives 15 years after 2002’s The Ring, and feels both forced and unnecessary in every facet. It also has very little connection to the first two films, made evident by the fact that none of the major stars of the first two films turned up for this one. Rings also conveniently ignores the events of 2005’s much maligned, The Ring Two.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFB4eZSVgBE Now, one of the best and most original things about The Ring was how it used VHS tapes to create a genuinely scary premise. With ...

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Why are husbands generally so unromantic?

He comes from the office, and has not brought flowers or any small gift for her. She smiles quite genuinely and gets a half-hearted and fake smile in return. Once he is settled, instead of spending time with his wife, he sits in front of the TV and starts switching channels. He seems so engrossed in the TV that his wife has to call him several times to even evoke a mundane response like “hmmm”. After managing to evoke a response, she tries to stir up a conversation and fails. She asks a question she has asked a million times ...

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After signing Gabriel Jesus, can Manchester City win the 2017 Premier League?

There comes a time, twice every year, when football fanatics ignore the on-field war games and are glued to the off-the-pitch reports of the ins and outs of their beloved clubs – yes, the most anticipated time of the year for us diehard fans, the transfer window time. I myself am very guiltily proud of spending (read: wasting) hours every day during these months, scanning through news and gossip columns on the transfer updates, scouring through all the stats and info of the rumored players who may be heading towards my team. Oh, the sheer thrill and excitement when the ...

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